An overview of what foster care means to Sevita, how to apply, who is eligible and what the foster care process looks like.
How Does Foster Care Work? - Sevita
Foster care is an often misunderstood — but crucial — service. Learn more about how foster care supports children in care in our latest blog post.
Unfortunately, some children have a tough start in life.
- Some children have had traumatic experiences in their lives that affect their emotional and mental health.
- Other children have complex medical needs that require extra support.
At Sevita, we believe that every child deserves all the care and love needed to give them a bright future.
That’s where foster care comes in.
Foster care is often misunderstood and can seem complex. Below, we’ll help make the foster care process clearer and show how children can benefit from foster care.
But first, let’s define what foster care really is.
What Is Foster Care?
Foster care is a temporary arrangement to care for someone when they can't live with or be cared for by their birth parents.
When possible, kids in care are placed first with a family member. This is often called kinship foster care. Other individuals may be placed in group homes or with a foster parent who is not a relative.
- There are about 424,000 children in foster care every year.
- Foster care supports young people from infants up to 21 years of age.
- Foster care is meant to be temporary, with some kids staying for a weekend while others end up being adopted. Foster care can also be longer term. Some kids will stay in foster care for an average of a year and a half.
Why Are Children in Foster Care?
Every child in foster care has a different story for why they may be living with a foster parent or caregiver. Some of the most common include:
- The need for a safe and clean environment. Providing a clean, safe home and enough healthy food is crucial for growing bright futures.
- The passing of a loved one. The passing of a child’s parents is another reason why family members and foster parents may step in to provide care.
- The need for behavioral nurturing. Sometimes challenges in a child's home can mean the child is now living with trauma and needs support to heal.
- Voluntary placement. In some cases, a parent might decide that they can't provide the level of care for their child that they'd like to give.
How Does Foster Care Work?
Foster care in the United States is a network of many organizations at the local, state, and federal levels that work together to help ensure that children get the care they need. Foster care services are overseen by state or county government child welfare agencies, with whom organizations like Sevita partner to provide services. The federal government also often plays a large role in funding and other legislative aspects.
Many people who want to become foster parents will work with organizations like Sevita.
Requirements for becoming a foster parent can vary from state to state. But the basic qualifications are the same in most states, which include the following:
- Having a minimum age of 21-25 years, depending on the state
- Having a form of income separate from care stipends
- Not living with any illnesses that could potentially endanger individuals in care
- Having a valid driver's license and reliable transportation
Also, organizations like Sevita will look for certain qualities that help make an ideal match between a foster parent and a young person in care. For example, being patient, understanding, and flexible are great qualities in a foster parent.
The official process for becoming a foster parent is also slightly different depending on your state. We can give you examples of what the process might be like for you.
- Becoming a foster parent begins with educating yourself on what it means to be a caregiver. Sevita can help guide you through this process — get in touch with us!
- If you decide to become a foster parent, you’ll need to fill out an application. This application helps organizations like Sevita see if you meet the necessary criteria.
- From there, you might participate in a home study. Care coordinators will visit your home and determine whether it's the right environment for kids in care.
- You'll be screened with various background checks.
- You’ll also be learning from skill-building sessions covering topics like good parenting tips and how to work with organizations like Sevita.
- Certification of the foster home occurs after all of the requirements in the approval process have been met, such as completing skill sessions and positive home study results. Once a home has been certified, the organization will help match the foster parent and child to help ensure a good fit in the home.
Can You Adopt Kids in Care?
Adoption is possible and wonderful!
- The process of adopting kids in foster care requires another approval process.
- This process varies by state and helps determine your eligibility to adopt.
- Many of the state requirements are like the requirements for foster care.
It’s also important to remember that every child or young person in care has their own story. When you adopt, just like when you foster, you agree to a long-term bond with that person, and to love and care for them through all their ups and downs.
Adoption from foster care is incredibly rewarding. Family, stability, and structure are vital for building bright futures. Existing relationships with foster parents are considered during the adoption process for this reason.
How Does Sevita Help Foster Parents?
At Sevita, foster parents do so much more than just give a child a home. They help children grow, heal, and learn. They help shape the child’s world and give them a bright future.
Our foster care programs are flexible and adapt to the needs of the child in care. We offer support through:
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, we will ask you to fill out forms to determine your eligibility. We take your location into account to provide support in understanding state laws and regulations.
Once a foster parent has a certified home, our team helps ensure a good match between you and a child in need. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Sevita also provides additional support for individuals receiving our services, including a monthly stipend depending on the needs of the person in foster care and state regulations.
Would you like to know more about becoming a foster parent? We have a helpful FAQ page, and you can also reach out to us at any time for support from our care coordinators.
Sevita Helps Children and Families Thrive
We believe that every child deserves a bright future — and that future can start with you!
Sevita is committed to helping kids in foster care find loving homes where they feel valued, safe, and loved. Would you like to be part of that journey? You can learn more about how we support each person we serve at the link below.
Foster parents are independent contractors and not employees of Sevita.