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Frequently Asked Questions About Foster Care

What is foster care?

Foster Care is a social service provided by each US state for children from birth to age 17 who are unable to live with their parents. Children who unable to live with their parents are placed with approved relatives or a non relative caregiver (such as a family friend), in a licensed foster home, or in a group home.

Why are children placed into foster care?

Children are placed into foster care for many reasons. The most common reasons are abuse and neglect by their biological family. Other common reasons are parental drug abuse or the illness, incarceration, or death of parents.

How long do children stay in foster care?

A child’s length of placement in foster care varies based on their family case plan. Children can be in foster care for as short as one week to a year or longer.

What do foster parents do?

Foster parents provide day to day care of the child placed in their home. They attend all court proceedings, educational meetings, and medical appointments. They work with birth parents and the child’s team of advocates. They provide input on what is best for the child.

Where do children go when they leave foster care?

The outcome depends on the case plan of their biological family. Children are returned to their biological parents if parents meet the requirements of their case plan. Other children are adopted into new families. Sadly, many children leave the foster care system due to “aging”out at age 18 with no adopted family or supports in place.

How do I become a foster parent?

The St. Johns County Family Integrity Program is the foster care provider for St. Johns County. For more information, visit their website http://www.sjcfl.us/FIP

I don’t want to become a foster parent. What are other ways I can help?

There are many ways to support children in foster care and foster parents without fostering.

  • Partner with Fostering Connections as a community partner or volunteer.

  • Support Fostering Connections’ outreach events for foster families such as our Holiday Gift Drive.

  • Volunteer to baby-sit for foster parents.

  • Provide meals for foster parents when a new child is placed into their home.

  • Become a mentor for foster youth. For more information, please visit http://www.sjcfl.us/FIP

  • Become a Guardian ad Litem. Guardian ad Litems are advocates for children in foster care. For more information, visit https://guardianadlitem.org/

  • Raise awareness of foster care to your family and friends through social media.

Statistics:

  • While in foster care, children will experience an average of eight home and school changes.

  • Approximately 20,000 to 25,000 children a year age out of the US foster care system at eighteen. Twenty percent of them will immediately become homeless.

  • About half of those who age out will graduate from high school with a diploma or GED, and only three percent will go on to earn a college degree.

  • Within four years of aging out, sixty percent of the boys will be convicted of a crime, and seventy percent of the girls will become pregnant.

  • Nearly fifty percent of those who age out will struggle with substance abuse and unemployment. Thirty-three percent of boys and seventy-five percent of girls will receive government benefits such as food stamps to meet basic needs.

  • Twenty-two percent of aged-out foster youth battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which exceeds the rate of PTSD in the general population by five times. This surpasses the rates of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, twelve percent of whom are diagnosed with PTSD.

  • A 2019 study of young adults aging out of foster care found that the youth participating had an average of only 7 people in their personal networks. 

  • Eighty-five percent of all jobs are filled through networking. 

  • Only forty-six percent of foster youth are employed at age 26.

How can I support the work of Fostering Connections?

  • Sponsor a care package for a child entering foster care.

  • Support an outreach event by serving as an event sponsor.

  • Volunteer on one of our committees:

  1. Events/Marketing- Assisting with promoting Fostering Connections through digital and print media.

  2. Programming- Assisting with Foster/Adoptive Meet Ups, Teen Talks, Career Readiness Academy or College Readiness Academy.

  3. Development- Assisting with planning outreach events for foster families. Connecting volunteers and donors to Fostering Connections and assisting with fundraisers.

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