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Resources for Communities

Communities play a vital role in supporting the more than 400,000 children and youth involved in foster care. There's an overwhelming need for individuals, families, and communities to become involved as foster parents, respite providers, volunteers, or mentors of children who need an adult role model. These relationships provide the framework for developing a continuum of care that effectively supports families, especially those involved in foster care, to be the best they can be even under stress. Resources in this section outline who the children involved in foster care are, provide information on how to become a foster parent, and highlight other ways to contribute to the positive development of children and youth involved with foster care.

Who are the children in foster care?

About the Children in Foster Care
AdoptUSKids (2017)
Provides information to help the community understand the experiences of children in foster care and provides answers to frequently asked questions.

Aging Out of Foster Care in America: The Projected Costs of Doing Nothing [Infographic]
Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative (2013)
Provides information on the outcomes of youth who have aged out of foster care. This resource also highlights the absorbed community costs of these youth, such as wages lost as a result of dropping out of high school.

Foster Care Statistics 2015
Series Title Numbers and Trends
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 940KB)
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Year Published 2017
Provides the most recent national statistical estimates for children in foster care from fiscal year (FY) 2015 and also provides earlier data from FY 2006 to allow for some estimate of trends over time. Data were obtained from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). The factsheet provides statistics on number of children in foster care and entering and exiting care and includes information on child characteristics, placement goals and settings, length of stay, and outcomes.

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About foster parenting

Raises awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families and supports States, Tribes, and territories in their efforts to connect families and children in foster care. On this website, families can find information about how to become a foster parent and support for foster parents and read inspiring stories of families who have fostered and adopted. On the AdoptUSKids Facebook page, a community of families share information about fostering and adopting.

6 Foster Care Skills You Need to Know Before Being a Foster Parent
Craft (2017)
Highlights basic foster care skills, including assessing your family's fitness for fostering, maintaining open communication, managing challenging behaviors, and coping with a sense of loss after a child's reunification with his or her birth family.

Becoming a Foster Parent
National Foster Parent Association (2016)
Illustrates the steps involved in becoming a foster parent along with its challenges and rewards. The site emphasizes key qualifications, the approval process, training, and licensure.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents
Series Title State Statutes
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 1,619KB)
Year Published 2014
Presents State laws and policies for licensing or approving family foster homes, including laws about standards, the approval process, kinship foster care, and interjurisdictional approval. A licensed family is one that is approved by the State to provide care for children and that meets basic standards of safety set by law and regulation. These standards reduce predictable risks to the health, safety, and well-being of children in out-of-home care. The laws presented are current through October 2014.

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Other ways to stay informed, involved, and engaged

What Does It Mean to Be a CASA Volunteer?
Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (2017)
Explains the ways in which court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) work within the court system to ensure abused and neglected children are not exploited within the legal and social services systems. CASA volunteers also ensure children and youth are placed in safe group and foster homes. 

32 Ways to Help Children in Foster Care (and Counting!)
The Foster Coalition (2017)
Shares a broad range of ideas on how to show support for children in foster care, including fostering; becoming a respite care provider, volunteer, or foster care sponsor; launching a fundraiser; and more.  

How You Can Help
Casey Family Programs (2017)
Suggests ways, at various levels of commitment, individuals can help create permanent, lifelong connections for children and youth.

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