Respite Care is providing care for a child for a short amount of time, sometimes in a crisis situation. Typically, the duration of respite care lasts one to seven days. At Youth for Christ, respite care is used when a current foster family is in need of a short break or when a child needs emergency placement. You will usually be asked at least one week before respite care is needed. This is a very good option for families that cannot provide constant care for a child but can be available for occasional care or crisis intervention.
Receiving care is a 30-day program set up to meet the emergent placement needs that happen every day in the lives of children in our community. Children come into foster care under Protective Custody through legal placements such as Child Protective Services or local Law Enforcement. Youth for Christ foster families serving as receiving care parents take these children whenever the need arises—whether weekends or evenings. Families able to serve in this way see that children get immediate medical care, well child care, and dental exams. Children in these situations are experiencing grief and loss and a tremendous amount of anxiety and uncertainty. They are in crisis. Youth for Christ families are able to provide them with the safety and security of loving home during this challenging time.
Short-Term Foster Care—
In many cases, when Youth for Christ receives referrals from DSHS – the request is to place one child or more (often siblings) in a foster home. With little information it is difficult to make an informed decision about which home would best meet the needs of these children. Having a family that is willing to provide short-term care until another home can be located is a great service. Short-term foster care is considered anywhere from one to three months. Although these families may not be able to take kids on a long-term basis, filling this role is crucial. It allows Youth for Christ the opportunity to place these children while finding the most appropriate home.
Long-Term Foster Care—
When children are placed into foster care there are usually many unanswered questions. Once the juvenile court determines that a child must remain in state custody their biological parents are given an array of services to assist them in correcting the deficiencies that lead to the child’s placement. State law determines that a biological parent has 12 months before the court will begin to look at the permanent plan for a child. Depending on the progress of the parents in their services children can reside in foster care for up to 18 months…and occasionally longer. Children need a loving family to support them during this very challenging time in their lives. Long-term foster care is caring for a child until a final decision is made to either return them home to their biological family or until an adoptive family can located. Helping support a foster child through these tumultuous years can be incredibly satisfying.
Families interested in adoption of children from the foster care system may choose to become a foster-adopt family. When a child initially enters foster care, the first goal is always to help a child return to the care of their biological parents, but this is not always possible. It is better for children to have fewer moves from home to home while in foster care, so those children likely to need an adoptive home are often placed with a foster-adopt family early in the legal process.
Biological families of children in foster care typically have from one to two years to remedy their parental deficiencies. In the meantime, the foster-adopt parent is able to minister to the needs of a child and support them during this period of uncertainty. Of children who are in long-term foster care in YFC, more than half are adopted by their foster parents.
Foster-adopt families become foster licensed through Youth for Christ and, at some point, also complete an adoptive homestudy to be formally approved for adoption. Sometimes the adoptive homestudy is completed before a child is placed in your home, sometimes it is completed later, after the case plan for your foster child is changed to adoption. At this time, YFC foster families receive an adoptive homestudy from the state Division of Children and Family Services or from a social worker who is a private contractor.
When adopting a child from the foster care system, the child is eligible for federal Adoption Support benefits. This makes the financial cost of adopting minimal for most families, and provides a safety net of services for the child until they reach age 18 or graduate from high school.