Foster care is very different today than it was even 10 years ago. Today, foster care includes single-parent foster families; families with caregivers or children who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ); multiracial families; and includes grandparents and other extended relatives not historically considered for kinship care. Foster parents and relative/kinship caregivers are critical partners in child welfare and are increasingly seen as key players in the team working to achieve permanency for children and youth in care. As primary caretakers, foster parents and kinship caregivers play significant roles in working with parents and in carrying out the tasks in a child's permanency plan. Resources in this section offer information and materials that support caregivers' well-being and strengthen their efforts to work with families, keep children connected to the services they need, and promote a sense of normalcy for youth while in foster care.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Offers a searchable database of foster care and adoption resources by State. The National Foster Care and Adoption Directory includes a customized search for kinship and foster care support groups.
Describes the basic aspects of the fostering experience, including partnership with the child's caseworker, meeting the child's needs, preventing burn out, and learning resources.
National Foster Parent Association
Lists the States that have enacted a Foster Parent Bill of Rights.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (2013)
Provides guidance to Texas caregivers on allowing children and adolescents in foster care to engage in developmentally appropriate behavior. The memo addresses overnights with friends, employment, extracurricular activities, prom attendance, driver's education classes and licenses, riding in cars with friends, cell phones, participation in social media, activities that involve firearms, and play activities. For additional information on providing normalcy for children and youth in foster care, see http://www.jlc.org/blog/national-foster-care-month-letting-foster-kids-be-kids.
|Series Title||Factsheets for Families|
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 487KB)
Ramsey County Community Human Services, Permanent Families Recruitment Project (2012)
Shares tips and suggestions for foster and adoptive parents that were developed based on feedback from focus groups with 17 youth (ages 12–22) from Ramsey County, Minnesota to improve the licensing, training, and placement process.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (2009)
Answers common questions about adoption and guardianship, birth parent rights, responsibilities of adopting relatives, and more.
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (2009)
Presents a guide with information to help parents gain a better understanding of the importance of positive connections with birth parents and offers ways for resource parents to contribute to the success of these partnerships.
Provides free online resources on intergenerational programs and policies, including infographics, training, research articles, and activities.
Includes resources for grandparents, including information on benefits and assistance, health and safety, and State-specific information.
Generations United (2013)
Answers frequently asked questions for grandparents and other relative caregivers caring for children with disabilities, including information about evaluating a child's physical and mental health challenges and applying for support services.
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (2013)
Designed to help kinship caretakers, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others who "take-in" children they care about, work effectively with Iowa Department of Human Services and juvenile court.
AARP, Brookdale Foundation Group, Casey Family Programs, Child Welfare League of America, Children's Defense Fund, & Generations United (2011)
Provides factsheets about kinship care for each State that report information on census data, key State and local programs and resources, foster care policies and services, public benefits and financial assistance, education assistance, and more.
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2010)
Discusses issues of interest to the growing number of grandparents and other relatives serving as parents for children whose own parents are unable to care for them. Sometimes, the arrangement (referred to as "kinship care") is an informal, private arrangement between the parents and relative caregivers; in other situations, the child welfare system is involved. This factsheet is designed to help kinship caregivers—including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other relatives caring for children—work effectively with the child welfare system.
* - Denotes Federal resource