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When children cannot stay with their families, they may be placed in a foster home. Foster care is temporary care for a child who needs a safe, loving and nurturing home when their birth family cannot take care of them.

Several reasons make young people and children enter foster care. Some of these include:

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Parental drug or alcohol abuse
  • Death of the parent(s) or primary caregiver(s)
  • Incarceration of the parent(s) or primary caregiver(s)

How Long Can a Child Stay in Foster Care?

Types of Foster Care

Children who cannot remain safely at home need different types of placements, depending on their age and needs. These include:

Short-term foster care – provides a safe place to live while other living arrangements are put in place for the child or young person.

Long-term foster care – provides a permanent arrangement where children stay with their foster parents as long as they need it until they move into independence or reunite with their families.

Emergency foster care – provides short-term placement for children who have been removed from unsafe situations in an emergency with little notice.

Bear in mind that there are children who enter foster care voluntarily because their parents or guardians know they need help to deal with problems at home or school. These children often return home when there is a resolution of the pending issues.

Foster care is meant to be a temporary situation until the child can return home or be put up for adoption. The duration of a child staying in a foster home depends on how quickly the birth family can resolve problems and whether they are working with social workers on a safety plan that will allow the child to return home safely.

If a child cannot return home, efforts are made to find an adoptive home as quickly as possible so that they can begin building permanent relationships with another family.

The goal is always the same when it comes to removing a child from their home – family reunification — every effort is made to help parents address the problems that led to their child’s removal and return the child home safely. If this is not possible, permanent adoption becomes an option. Feel free to contact us for more information.