Long-term Foster Care

What does Long-term Foster Care mean?

Foster care is care of a child outside of the child's home which substitutes for care provided by their parents. Foster care allows a child to be placed in the care of another family member (a child's extended family), with a family friend, in a residential group home or a therapeutic or treatment foster care home (child resides in family setting and receives extra services).

Long-term foster care involves a child living in a foster family for an extended period of time. Although foster care is sometimes necessary to protect a child's physical or emotional well-being, it is understood that it can be a difficult living arrangement for the child as they are required to adjust to a different family, location, school and peers.

Due to the disruption of foster care placements there are state and federal mandates which determine how a child should be placed. For instance, the federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 has determined a child's placement should consider the physical and emotional strengths and needs of the child, the proximity of placement to the child's family to aid reunification, the possibility of placement with relatives or extended family, the racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious background of the child, the least-restrictive, most family-like placement reasonably available and the capability of the placement to meet the child's needs. The parent's preference for placement of their child is also considered.

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