Foster care is a planned, temporary placement providing 24-hour substitute care in a family-like atmosphere. Foster care is used when a child must be temporarily separated from the biological family due to a risk of maltreatment or when the parents voluntarily request foster care service if they cannot care for the child for a some reason, such as a parent illness. The foster family works with the child's case worker on a permanency plan, which may include reunification with the immediate or extended biological family, an alternate living arrangement, such as a group home, or adoption.
Types of foster care:
- Emergency foster care is a short-term placement providing 24-hour substitute care for up to 30 days.
- Traditional foster care provides 24-hour substitute care for over 30 days while a permanency plan is in progress.
- FostAdopt care identifies a foster placement in which the child is expected to become legally free for adoption. (see IV.C. above)
- Therapeutic foster care is designed to meet the needs of emotionally disturbed children within a family environment.
- Transitional care or temporary care are two terms that may be used when an infant for whom an adoption plan has been made is placed with a foster family between the time of birth and the time of placement with the adoptive family. This most often occurs when a private agency has been unable to recruit an appropriate family prior to the birth or is waiting for legal risk issues to be resolved.
Who can be a foster parent?
- Single or married persons who are at least 21 years of age.
- Persons who have sufficient and appropriate beds or bedrooms to offer privacy for an additional child or children.
- Persons who are able to manage their income to meet their own financial needs.
- Persons who are in sufficiently good physical and mental health to provide for a child placed in the home.
- Persons who have the ability to understand, love, care for and accept a child to whom they did not give birth.
- Persons who have no prior conviction or charge of any sexual offense.
- Persons who are willing to work with a child's case worker on a permanency plan for the child in their care, and to support the child in transition.
Foster care programs in Oklahoma
The Department of Human Services has the primary responsibility for foster care in the state. The Department provides extensive training for persons interested in becoming foster parents. Some private organizations also provide training programs for emergency or therapeutic foster parents. A small subsidy is generally available to assist the foster family with the child's ongoing expenses.
To learn more about foster care opportunities, contact the Department of Human Services office in your county of residence, or at the address below. (XI. Concerns, complaints, grievances)