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Foster Care F.A.Q.

What is Foster Care?
Foster care is the temporary placement of children and youth with families outside of their own home due to child abuse or neglect. The goal is to provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment.

What is Therapeutic Foster Care? A higher level of care provided to traumatized children who have been wounded by severe abuse and neglect. Therapeutic foster parents are trained to provide a structured environment that supports their learning, social and emotional skills.

Will I get to choose the foster child for my home?
Our Director of Intake does her best to match a child with a foster family who can best meet the child’s needs. Some foster parents prefer to work with teenage children, while others do better with young children. You, however, will be able to specify the age and gender of the child you prefer.

How long will the foster children remain in my home?
The length of time that a child stays in a foster home varies according to the plans for reunification with the child's family, placement with relatives, or adoption. 

Do foster children have to have their own bedroom?
In most cases, foster children can share a bedroom with another child of the same sex within a four-year difference of age.

Can I adopt a foster child in my home?
In most cases, the goal is to reunify a child with his/her family. In the event that the child cannot return home or be placed with other relatives, foster parents have first consideration as adoptive parents.Many families are interested in both fostering and adopting. They agree with the agency that the needs of the child come first. In most cases, this means that they help prepare children for reunification with their birth family or toward a relative or kinship placement. When termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interest and adoption is the child’s plan, then foster parents who have cared for the child will be given the opportunity to apply for adoption.

How do I foster a child through Children's Aid and Family Services?
If you're interested in fostering a child, contact our recruitment specialist at 201-740-7019. The recruitment specialist is available to answer any questions you may have and will provide additional information about the children in our care, our services, and the application process. You can also register for one of our informational sessions by calling our recruitment specialist at 201-740-7109 or emailing

What is process to become a foster parent?
You will attend an orientation and then meet with the recruitment specialist, who will guide you through the application process. This process involves: Home study; criminal background and child abuse history checks; personal, employment; school and child care references; 27-hour state-mandated P.R.I.D.E. training; and home Inspection.

Do I have to be married to foster a child?
No. Singles as well as families are welcome to foster a child. All applicants go through a home study process, which involves an application in which we gather information about you, your family and others in your home. The application includes a request for personal and medical references. After the application is received, an agency staff member will be assigned to complete your home study. The home study is a written document about you, your family and your interest in providing foster/ adoptive care. It is completed through a series of interviews with an agency staff member. As part of the home study process, a state and federal background check will be done for you and all other adults living in your home. The home study process takes approximately four months.

Do I have to own my own home?
No. The apartment or home in which you live would need to have enough room to accommodate your family members as well as the number of children you wish to have. In order to be licensed, your home must meet the criteria established by the Office of Licensing. The agency will send a staff person out to your home to guide you through this process.

Can I work outside the home?
Parents must have the flexibility in their work schedules to accommodate medical appointments, visitation (where applicable) and therapy. Children's Aid and Family Services makes every effort to work with the family's schedule when placing a child but flexibility is a must.

What are the income requirements to becoming a foster parent?
All applicant households are expected to have adequate income to maintain their existing household and proof of income will be required. Foster care board payments are to be used for the foster child only.

Are there age restrictions?
Yes, you must be over the age of 21 and an adoptive/foster parent must be at least 10 years older than an adoptive/foster child.

What kinds of support can a foster parent expect?
The foster family will receive a monthly stipend, as well as quarterly clothing allowance and Medicaid and dental care coverage for the child up to the age of 18. Other supports include health and developmental assessment by a nurse, who will be one of the primary sources of support; case management that provides comprehensive individualized support to foster parents; referral to support services; and ongoing monthly foster parenting training.