As you may remember from my post, “Welcome to the Club!,” some family friends have recently started doing foster care as well. Being new to the system, my mom’s friend checks in with her once in a while about the way things are supposed to go with a new foster child. This can be anything from how to comfort them in their first week, to how the involvement of DSS works.
Rules about foster care have changed over the years as well, even years ago when we were just starting out. My very first brother and sister lived with us for two years before returning home to their biological father. Shortly after they went home, the rules changed to protect all parties involved in foster care, the children, foster families, and biological parents. Now, foster children can stay in the foster home for a year. By the end of the year, the parents will either get their children back, or the children will be put up for adoption. The only exceptions are when the bio parents are really close to being finished with their parenting classes, but need a month or two in order to completely get their lives back on track. An extension will be granted, and then the children can go home a little after a year.
Like all parts of life, some changes to DSS and the foster care system have been good over the years, and others have been not quite as welcome. But if foster parents stay informed, learn from others with more experience, and continue to look out for the best interests of their family and foster children, then everyone will turn out alright.
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