Foster Care Basics in the United States


When people hear about foster care, they often have many questions and misconceptions. Below you will find answers to your questions.

The average age of a child in foster care is 8 but nearly half of all foster youth are over the age of 10. Although you can’t choose exactly which child you would like to foster, you can specify the age range and gender you would prefer. Youth between the age of 11 and 16, teen mothers, and groups of siblings are in the most need of a loving foster home.

Many potential foster parents worry about the financial burden of opening their home to a child. Although foster parents may incur a few costs, the state will reimburse families for most of their food and clothing costs, while Medicaid will typically cover the cost of a child’s medical, dental, and counseling services. Additionally, foster children require their own bed but not necessarily their own bedroom, depending on age and other circumstances.

Reunification of a child with his or her biological family is always the goal of foster care. Unfortunately, and through no fault of the child, reunification isn’t always possible. If it is unsafe or unrealistic for the child to return to their biological family, then adoption and finding a permanent home for a child becomes our first priority. Last year roughly 51,000 foster care youth were adopted – 54% by their foster parents.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent and embarking on one of the most rewarding experiences of offering hope to a child in need, consider contacting LSS/NCA to learn more. We also accept donations including car seats, strollers, diapers, and other items found on our wish list.


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