Foster Care

Placement Options
While the child is placed in foster care, Placement Services provides the services needed to ensure safety and enhanced development for the entire family working toward the goal of overcoming the issues that lead to placement. This work is done in collaboration with other agencies involved in the family’s life, to include but not limited to:
  • Counselors
  • Foster parents
  • Medical personnel
  • Schools
Achieving permanency is the ultimate goal.

Entering Foster Care
Children enter foster care in a number of ways, all of which require Family Court intervention. The Family Court Judge may order the placement of a child (to include sibling groups) due to suspected child abuse or neglect, as well as ordering placement based on the Juvenile Delinquent (JD) or Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS) behaviors of a youth. A child who is placed in foster care is technically in the custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services.

Types of Restrictive Foster Care Settings

The continuum of foster care starts at the least restrictive setting of placement. The levels of foster care gradually increase in restrictions. The levels of restrictions are as follows from least to highest:
  1. Family-type foster home setting
  2. Therapeutic foster homes
  3. Group homes
  4. Residential Treatment Centers
  5. Residential Treatment Facilities (licensed by OMH)
The department is charged with the objective of maintaining children in the least restrictive level of placement, and in doing so, may move the child from level to level based on their need for more or less structure.

Safety Concerns for Children
When situations arise where children are unable to be maintained in the custody of their caregiver (mainly a birth parent) due to safety concerns, there are other options. As a preferable alternative to placement in a foster home where a child is placed in an unfamiliar environment, “The Permanency Bill” initiated the use of 1017 Relative Placements in a Family Court Proceeding. Through this option, a child can be removed from the main custodial caregiver and placed with another family member through an Order of Family Court. The department is then responsible for oversight, in order to ensure that the placement remains stable.