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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why are children in foster care?

A. Children come into foster care, also known as Out of Home Placement, due to child abuse or neglect. Children are placed into the custody of the local department of social services by the Juvenile Court, or placed voluntarily by parents to meet a special need for treatment or long-term residential care for a disabled child.

Q. What are resource parents?

A. Traditional foster (resource) parents provide temporary care for children while meeting emotional, physical, as well as educational, medical and recreational needs. Resource parents are members of the Out of Home Placement team who work closely with the child’s foster care worker and the child’s biological family to achieve permanence for the child.

Q. What is foster to adopt?

A. Foster to adopt parents are resource parents who provide temporary care for children in care, but are open to adopting the child after every effort has been made to reunify or place with relatives.

Q. What is Transitional Living (Independent Living)?

A. Transitional Living is when resource families parenting youth 14 to 21 years of age become role models and teachers assisting the youth in their care to achieve successful adulthood. They provide guidance and training in life skills and social skills, and support achievement of academic, vocational and personal goals. Many of the parents who foster our youth become life long family and supports to our young people.

Q. What is adoption?

A. Adoption is the means of transferring all the legal rights of a child to the resource parents as if that child had been born to those parents.

The value of adoption is that it provides children with the basic needs of every child: the legal status, social status and commitment that come from having a family of your own in which to grow up. 

The goal of adoption is to provide a child with a family that offers a lifetime relationship and commitment.

Q. What are the qualifications to be a resource (foster or adoptive) parent?

A. Resource parents can be married or single, with or without children already in their families. Baltimore County is in need of individuals, couples or families who can protect children and nurture them. Resource parents have to understand how children grow and develop, and how abuse and neglect affects that development.

Q. How long does it take to become a foster or adoptive parent?

A. The length of time it takes depends on many factors, to include: how quickly the interested person provides the necessary documentation, secures a medical evaluation, completes Federal Bureau of Investigation and police clearances and completes the mandatory 30 hours of pre-service training.

Q. Who are the children most likely to needing placement with resource families?

A. The children who are most likely to need resource families are:

  • Young children, including babies, needing temporary care
  • Children zero to 21 years old
  • Sibling groups of two or more
  • Children with special medical, behavioral or mental health needs
  • Children who have been exposed in utero to drugs or alcohol or born drug-addicted

Q. Can resource parents adopt the children placed in their home?

A. This may occur in cases where the child cannot return home or go to a relative and the parents' rights are terminated. The resource parents and the child must wish to make their relationship permanent. Resource parents will be considered for adoption if the Department believes this is in the best interest of the child. Almost half of Baltimore County adoptions are by resource parents.

Revised July 9, 2014

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