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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

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.

  • Provide comfort for children entering foster care through Fostering Connections’ Backpack Brigade care package program.

  • Donate new or gently loved children's clothing, shoes, toys, and household items for our Backpack Brigade Closet.

  • Support Fostering Connections’ outreach events for foster families such as our Back to School Bash.

  • 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

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

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


Foster Care in Florida

As of April 2019, 23,761 children in Florida are in foster care. 176 of these children are in St. Johns County. Of these:

  • 48% are ages 5 and under

  • 29% are ages 6-12

  • 15% are ages 13-17


Over half of foster youth in Florida are placed into kinship care; being cared for by an approved relative (42%) or approved non-relative, such as a family friend (13%).  30%  of foster youth are placed in a licensed foster home.  Only 8% of foster youth are placed in group homes.

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. Backpack Brigade: Filling care packages for children in foster care, sorting and distributing donations for the Backpack Brigade Closet.

  2. Marketing: Assisting with promoting Fostering Connections through digital and print media.

  3. Community Service: Assisting with planning and implementing outreach events for foster families.

  4. Outreach: Connecting volunteers and donors to Fostering Connections and assisting with fundraisers.

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