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Foster care is an alternative to consider as a means of providing for your children if you become incapacitated for a lengthy period of time or if you die.

Foster care is the temporary care of a child by a person other than their own parent. Care includes appropriate food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment and education for the child.

Foster care can be in a group setting (such as a foster care home) or with an individual or family.

Foster care is NOT legal adoption.

Foster care is most usual in situations where it is required (for instance, if a person becomes an unfit parent). However, many states also have provisions for voluntary foster care.

Requirements for foster care vary from state to state.

For the advantages and disadvantages of foster care, click here.

For additional information about foster care, consider the following resources:

  • Your disease specific non-profit organization.
  • A social worker.
  • Your local welfare agency.
  • offsite link: Lists state foster care specialists, compiled by the Children's Bureau of the Administration for Children and Families. Contact your state specialist for agencies in your area.
  • offsite link Children Welfare League of America.
  • offsite link: Administration for children and families.
  • offsite link: General information on foster parenting.


What Are the Advantages And Disadvantages of Foster Care?



Temporary Arrangement: Foster care can be arranged for temporary placement of your children for periods when you are in the hospital or not well enough to care for your children.



Legal Right: You retain all legal rights to your children.


The family you choose for temporary placement might not be able to adopt your children and provide a permanent home when it becomes necessary. However, if you look for an agency that offers "Early Permanency Planning," this problem might be avoided.


Support: The foster care parents, assisted by state or privately provided income, are responsible for meeting your child's material needs.


Depending on the size of the foster care home, your child's emotional needs might not be met as well as they would in an adoptive family.

Transitional: A foster care arrangement can be used to help a friend or relative become a parent to your child. Agencies can help parents you have in mind become a parent.


Unless the foster care placement is permanent, you might not know who (if anyone) will ultimately become the adoptive parent of your children.