What are Foster Parents?
Foster parenting is the colloquial term used to describe a system in which a child has been placed in the private home of a certified caregiver. These caregivers are referred to as foster parents; these are not the biological parents of the children they care for, but instead their legal guardians as defined by the underlying state’s family law.
The state, through the family court system and child protection agency, awards foster parents with the parenting rights and responsibilities of the child. Foster parenting therefore, is the transfer of all legal decisions and the act of satisfying all day to day care of the respective child. In turn, the foster parent is remunerated by the state for their foster parenting services.
Foster care is intended to be a short term resolution. Foster parenting is in essence, the delivery of intermediary care for the child until a permanent adoptive parent is chosen or the child’s biological parent is regarded as fit to care for the child.
Foster parenting is chosen if the state deems that the biological parent is unfit to care for the child; the state will evaluate the child’s best interest in regards to the realization of foster parenting.
Foster parenting will end if the child is adopted, preferably by a biological family member. If no biological family member is willing to adopt the child, the next preference is for the child to be legally adopted by someone else in the child’s life or for the foster parents to assume legal guardianship of the child.
If none of these options are viable, the child may enter an alternative Planned Permanent Living Agreement. This government-run program allows the child to stay in custody of the state and the child is placed in a foster home with an Independent Living Center or long term care facility.