What is Foster Care?
Foster Care is a process that is undertaken within the realm of family law, which involves the placement of a an individual – who is typically classified as a child or minor – under the supervision of an individual or individuals not classified or identified as that individual’s legal guardian or birth parent; in many cases, foster care implements the placement of applicable individuals on a temporary basis.
Foster Care vs. Adoption
While adoption is the legal transfer of guardianship from one entity to another, Foster Care constitutes legally-mandated supervision and conditional-responsibility allowed to an individual or entity. Due to the fact that Foster Care is typically undergone as a temporary measure, it differs from adoption not only in its presupposed timelines, but also within the notion of the attribution of guardianship:
Adoption is the legal process within the realm of family law in which approved individuals who are not recognized as the birthparents of a child are permitted to assume guardianship of a child. Subsequent to the approval and authentication of legal adoption, parents undergoing the adoption process will be able to participate in the authenticity, substantiation, and validation concerning issues under the jurisdiction of paternity.
In contrast to adoption, Foster Care is typically not considered to be a primary option with regard to individuals who have been displaced from their respective guardians, be it through forced removal or abandonment. The notion of Foster Care is primarily imposed on a temporary basis in order to allow the jurisdictional legislative bodies assuming responsibility for fostered individuals to ascertain a long-term plan with regard to the future of that individual – this can range from an eventual return to that individual’s birth parents or guardians to the placement of that individual as a ward of the state.
Foster Care Facts
Within the United States, statistics show that upwards of 500,000 children are currently engaged within the Foster Care System; in addition, the primary catalysts for placement in Foster Care results from abusive and neglectful households:
The median age of an individual within the Foster Care system employed within the United States of America is 10 years of age
Within an individual breakdown of applicable demographics with regard to children in foster care, the following statistics have been made available: 6% of children in foster care are recorded as being below 1 year of age, 26% of children in Foster Care are between 1 and 5 years of age, 20% of children in Foster Care are between 6 and 10 years of age, 28% of children in Foster Care are between 11 and 15 years of age, 18% of children inFoster Care are between 16 and 18 years of age, and 2% of individuals in Foster Care are above the age of 19
The genders recorded with regard to individuals in Foster Care illustrate females undertaking 48% of fostered individuals, while males account for 52% of the total amount of individuals fostered
With regard to the breakdown of Foster Care demographics with regard to race and ethnicity, the following statistics have been made available as per the entirety of the population of individuals in Foster Care: African Americans account for 15%, Caucasians account for 61%, and Hispanics account for 17%
The median duration of stays undertaken by individuals in Foster Care has been recorded as almost 29 months on an individual, case-by-case basis