What is Foster Care?
Foster care is defined as temporary living arrangements for minors who are placed in state custody. Foster Care is part of a state system called Child Welfare.
Why is Foster Care needed?
Foster care is needed when children are living in circumstances that are abusive or neglectful. Foster care is not intended to be permanent. The first goal of foster care is always to reunify families once the environment is safe for children to return. During the time children are in foster care, parents work to meet the state requirements for reunification. Since the goal of child welfare is to keep the family together, children continue to have contact and supervised visits with their parents during their time in foster care. The logistics of visitation differ with each case.
What happens if reunification is not possible?
There are times when the home environment will never be healthy or safe enough for the children to return. This decision is sometimes determined by the state and can even be determined by the parents themselves. If this happens, a judge terminates the parents’ rights, and the child then remains in the custody of the state and is available for adoption.
Is it possible to just adopt without first fostering?
The state is not an adoption agency. However, there are children whose parental rights have been terminated with no other families pursuing adoption. These children will remain in foster care until they age out or until someone adopts them. The Louisiana Heart Gallery advocates for these children to be adopted by a family. In order to pursue the adoption of one of these children, you must first complete the foster parent training and foster them for a period of time.
How do I get involved?
If you are interested in learning more about foster care, we would love to walk you through the next steps. We have resources available to offer you information, veteran foster families who would love to share their knowledge and experience, and a network of support available to you. Also, you do not have to be a foster family to get involved! Everyone can not take a child into their home, but everyone has gifts to be used. We would love to walk alongside you as you navigate how to get involved.