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Foster Care Lawyers

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What Is Foster Care?

Foster care is a type of arrangement in which a child or minor is placed under the care of group home or a caregiver. This is often done in cases where the child’s parents are unavailable, incapacitated, or cannot be located.

The person, or persons, in charge of caring for the child are called foster parents. These people share legal decision making rights and custody with the state, through welfare agencies or child protective services. Foster parents are responsible for the day-to-day responsibilities of the child, while major legal decisions must generally be approved by the family court.

Are There Different Types of Foster Care?

There are a few major types of foster care arrangements. These consist of:

  • Group homes: These are care facilities that consist of six or more children. They are subject to many stringent federal and state regulations. In these cases, the foster parent is often a state welfare worker or a certified caretaker.
  • Kinship care: This is the full-time care of a minor by a close relative, stepparent, guardian, or other adult who already has a close relationship with the child.

In most instances, group home arrangements are being phased out in favor of kinship care arrangements. This is because many states see the advantage of having a foster parent who already has a relationship with the child. Kinship care must also be approved by a family court and is generally monitored by state child protective services. There are many requirements that must be met in order to become a foster parent.

What Are Some Legal Issues Associated with Foster Care?

Foster care is a complex subject that often involves various legal issues. Important legal issues commonly associated with foster care include:

  • Custody rights: As mentioned above, custody rights generally lie with the state, while the foster parent acts to secure basic provisions and performs daily duties.
  • Adoption: Many foster care situations lead to adoption by either the foster parent(s) or another person seeking to adopt a child. “Foster care adoption” occurs when the child is placed in foster care with the intention that they will be adopted soon thereafter by the foster parents.
  • Abuse: Many children are placed in a foster home due to previous abuse by a parent. On the other hand, group homes have sometimes been linked to abusive situations, especially in cases where the certified foster parent has not been closely monitored.

On the whole, foster care has traditionally been a way to secure safety and provisions for children who may have experienced neglect or abandonment. The existence of foster care helps to prevent truancy and delinquency among youth and children.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Foster Care Arrangement?

As you can see, foster care involves many different laws and regulations, and is subject to close monitoring by the state. You may need to hire a family law attorney in your area if you have any legal issues, inquiries, or conflicts involving foster care. Foster care requires a lot of interaction with the state, and hiring a lawyer can ensure that you are complying with state requirements. Also, if you need to file a document with the court, or if you need to appear in court, your lawyer can assist you at those times and can provide representation for you as well.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 11-11-2015 01:11 PM PST

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