How Foster Care Works in The US

For many prospective foster care parents we speak to, we notice a pattern of intimidation on how to navigate the world of foster care. We know, it can be a bit confusing and tricky to understand all the ins and outs of the process. 

That’s what we are here for!

As a Therapeutic Foster Care Agency, we have dedicated ourselves to learning and understanding the US Foster care system in order to walk foster parents through it with ease. 

With that said, in this post, we will give you a simple rundown of how it all works. For more information and to learn about working with our private therapeutic foster care agency or for more on foster parent training in Indiana, Kentucky, or Pennsylvania, contact our team at Benchmark Family Services. 

An Overview of The US Foster Care System

In the United States, foster care operates on the local level, rather than on the national level. This means that the programs are run by the state rather than the federal government. This also means that the structure varies somewhat from state to state, as do the specific names of government agencies and programs, but most states follow the same general model.

State Department of Human Services

In most states, their division of human services, which is generally part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is at the head of their foster care system. This department and its agents oversee all county social service departments as well as private foster care agencies, like Benchmark Family Services. 

This is one of the first distinctions that we would like to make. While the state government funds and regulates foster care agencies’ policies and operations, independent non-profit organizations, like Benchmark Family Services do a large amount of the actual work.

County Departments or Private Foster Care Agency

As we mentioned, it is up to the county departments and foster care agencies to then do the work of adhering to state regulations, managing casework, training foster parents, matching foster children to foster families, and generally tracking and managing the foster care process. 

Even within the foster care agency, you then work with a team of foster parents, social workers, biological parents,  the courts, and of course the children. This team is always working towards finding a way for the children to have a permanent home, however that may look in each unique case.  

Working With Our Therapeutic Foster Care Agency

When you break it all down, we hope it feels a little less overwhelming. At the end of the day, if you choose to become a foster parent, our team of compassionate and knowledgeable social workers are here to help you through the process and foster parent training in Indiana, Kentucky, or Pennsylvania. When you become a foster parent you join our team at Benchmark Family Services and get to play a role in helping us ensure the health and safety of children in our care.