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Duration of Foster Care

How long do the children stay with their foster family?

Foster care is a good deed and there are many questions that arise in the minds of the people who want to do foster care but are inexperienced in this field. So, there are not much simple answers to questions like the one in the subject. This article aims to answer this question from a traditional foster care point of view. The duration for which the children can stay with their foster families depend upon a variety of factors and some are presented in this article.

Read the complete article to learn more about the duration of foster care!


Ideally, once the kids are placed with a traditional foster family, they remain there until they move on to a permanent situation. The permanent situation would be either (a) moving home with their biological parent(s) (called “reunification”), or (b) moving to a pre-adoptive home. If a child’s case starts heading towards adoption instead of reunification, the foster parents will usually have the first chance to adopt that child if they choose to do so.

The length of time that kids are in foster care varies depending mostly on what work is required of the biological parents, and how quickly they perform those tasks or how much they drag it out. It also depends on the lawyers, judges, and caseworkers and the decisions that they make along the way. Our agency told us to expect kids to be in foster care any length of time between 18 months and 5 years.

Like I said, ideally the kids remain in one foster home the entire time that they are in state custody. However, sometimes that doesn’t work out and the kids are moved from one foster home to another temporary home. Here are some of the reasons why kids might be moved:

The foster parents can no longer provide care for the child due to a move; change in financial status (losing a job or other income); the foster parent faces a serious and/or long-term illness, injury, or disability; divorce; or any other major life change that compromises the foster parent’s ability to care for the child.

A child’s needs become too great for one family to meet requiring a move to a foster family with specialized training, or a move to a therapeutic group home.

The foster parents are found to be abusive or neglectful, requiring a move to a new foster home.

These unforeseen circumstances can occur at any point during that “18 months to 5 years” timeline. Sometimes you see it coming for quite some time and everyone has a lot of time to prepare for the transition, and sometimes it is very sudden.

Author: Jasmine

The complete article can be accessed here:

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During your lunch break, or the time you spend checking Facebook, another child will come into care. Right now, that child is thinking: 'Who cares?' More Videos
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