|Foster care is defined as the temporary placement of a child outside of her family. The child is removed from the family due to abuse or neglect issues. The child may be removed due to physical or sexual abuse by a parent or someone residing in the household. The goal of foster care is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child. Additionally, foster care is intended to be a temporary situation for the child. The end goal is to reunite the child with her family provided that her parent or guardian will be able to care for her.
Placement with a Foster Family
If no one in the family is willing or able to take custody of the child for a temporary period of time, the child is placed in the foster care system. Potential foster parents generally must apply for a license in order to become a participant in the foster care program. States have different requirements for foster parenting. Once foster parents are selected, the foster child is placed in the foster home. The foster parents are required to provide basic care to the foster child. This basic care includes providing food, shelter and emotional stability for the foster child.
The foster child may stay with the foster parents for weeks, months, or in extreme cases years. Sometimes foster parents agree to provide care for a set period of time. If at the end of that period of time the biological parent or guardian of the foster child is not capable of caring for the child, the child may be placed in another foster home setting.
Basic and Medical Expenses
With respect to the basic expenses of food, clothing, and shelter, the foster family will receive some reimbursement from the biological parents, if they can afford to pay, or a stipend from the state and/or federal government. The reimbursement or stipend, whichever is provided, should be used for the care of the foster child. Additionally, the foster parents are not responsible for medical, dental or psychological expenses incurred by the foster child. The biological parents or Medicaid must provide insurance for medical, dental, and psychological service expenses.
Reuniting with Family
Once the caseworker has determined that the foster child's parent or guardian is now able to care for the child, she will be reunited with her family. Hopefully, the duration that the foster child had to spend in foster care was short and will not be repeated, but it often is repeated.
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