Foster Care: Understanding the Legal Process and Your Rights

Foster care is a system in which children who are unable to live with their biological parents are placed in the care of a foster family or group home. If you are considering becoming a foster parent, or if you are a parent whose child has been placed in foster care, it is important to understand the legal process and your rights. This article will provide an overview of foster care and what you need to know.

Foster care is typically initiated by a child welfare agency, which may be a state or county agency. If the agency determines that a child is at risk of harm in their current living situation, they may remove the child from the home and place them in foster care. The agency will then work with the child’s biological parents to address the issues that led to the removal and determine the best plan for the child’s future.

Becoming a Foster Parent

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, there are several steps you will need to take. These may include attending orientation and training sessions, completing a home study, and undergoing a background check. Once you are approved as a foster parent, you will be matched with a child who is in need of a home.

Your Rights as a Foster Parent

As a foster parent, you have certain rights, including the right to be involved in the decision-making process regarding the child’s care and the right to receive support from the child welfare agency. You also have the right to provide input on the child’s case plan and attend court hearings related to the child’s placement.

Your Child’s Rights in Foster Care

Children in foster care also have rights, including the right to be placed in a safe and stable home, the right to receive medical care and education, and the right to have regular contact with their biological parents, unless it is determined that contact would be harmful to the child.


Foster care is a complex system that involves many legal processes and considerations. If you are considering becoming a foster parent or if your child has been placed in foster care, it is important to understand your rights and the legal process. By being informed and involved, you can help ensure that your child receives the best possible care and support. If you need legal assistance with foster care, be sure to consult with an experienced family law attorney.

Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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