Question: I was curious if Little J was a placement that you are fostering for a while- or if he is a foster that will end up in adoption- or if that part is up in the air, etc?
Answer: Well, we were licensed for foster care, fost/adopt, and straight aoption. There are slight differences in each one. Of course we would love a long term (forever) placement, but we wanted kids in the house so we were willing to take other placements than straight adopt. In NJ, according to statistics, about 60% of foster kids DO NOT go back. So, we knew that we would have a good shot of getting a forever kid.
As for our placement - without giving too many details, he will probably be here for a while, if not forever. He was removed and placed in another home. That home was just not a good placement for him (2 kids the same age that did not get along). The mom is in a bad situation right now and has a lot of BIG things in her plan.
Here is a brief description of all options
- Goal is ALWAYS reunification with parents - unless those parents committed a crime against that child. In that case, it is would probably be fost / adopt
- A parent has 12-15 months to work their plan that is ordered by a judge (rehab, get a job, get an apartment, take parenting classes, etc) If after that time, a judge determines if the child should be returned to a parent (sometimes it is earlier than the 12-15 mths). If the child can not be returned, then the judge declares that parental rights should be terminated and the current foster parents have "first dibbs" to adopt the child. After this time, it is about another 6 months before rights are terminated and then another 6 months for the adoption to be final. This means that a child can be in our home for about 2 years before adoption is final. :(
- A parent has the right at anytime to decide to term her own rights - then the timeline is quicker
Fost / Adopt
- Basically the same as foster care - but usually someone determine that the child has lower legal risk than other placements. It may not be the first time in care, the mom may have had other kids taken away, the mom might have gone missing, the mom might be in jail for a serious crime, there may have been a crime against the child, etci
- f a child had been removed before and then returned to a parent, well - that time still counts toward the 12-15 months. So, if there is very little time left of the that time, a child might be considered fost/adopt
- Just because a worker (or a judge) THINKS that there is little risk of a child being returned to a parent, the parent still has the right to work the plan. So, even though everyone thought it would move toward adoption, there is no guarantee. Even on crimes against the child - family might step up.
- There are children that are available for straight adoption - these are the kids that have already gone through the above.
- Why aren't their foster parents adopting them then? Well, there could be so many reasons. Foster parents may be older and can not make a lifetime commitment. Foster parents may only want to foster to prepare for adoption. And sadly, some people just do it for the money. Only certain children qualify for a stipend after adoption. But will continue to receive the foster care stipend until adoption by another family.
- Since these kids have gone through the above, most of these kids are older.
So, those are the descriptions. I am a very open person and love to educate people on topics that I know a lot about. So, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. The only thing that I can not talk about are the things specific to the case (why he was removed, mom's plan, etc)
Now, while I hope he stays forever, I know that there is a possiblity that he will not. Now, while it will be devestating, it really will not change the way I treat him or love him while he is here.