Frequently Asked Questions

This webpage will connect you to the most frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) on many child welfare topics, including child abuse and neglect, foster care and other out-of-home placements, adoption, and more.

If you do not find an answer to your question, you can submit a question by clicking on the Ask a Question box.

If you have questions about the way in which your local foster care agency handled your case, you may want to begin by discussing your concerns with your caseworker and the agency supervisor. An open discussion will often help answer your questions.

If you have made every effort to resolve your concerns with the local agency staff and the issue remains unresolved, you may consider discussing your case with your State Foster Care Program Manager, an expert in foster care policy in each State.

The goal of foster care is to provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment until a child is able to return home or until a permanent family is found for the child.

The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) reports collect case-level information on all children in foster care for whom State child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care, or supervision and on children who are adopted under the auspices of the State's public child welfare agency.

There are more than 400,000 children and youth in our nation's foster care system, and each year over 20,000 age out. As youth get ready to transition to adult life, they may face significant challenges in accessing the resources they need to become self-sufficient. Federal law requires that child welfare agencies assist youth in developing personalized transition plans that address specific topics such as education, housing, employment, finances, physical and mental health, health insurance, mentoring, and close relationships with supportive adults. A transition plan should start early and be broken into short-term, age-appropriate, and manageable goals in alignment with a youth's individual needs, hopes, and strengths.

May is National Foster Care Month, a time to recognize that we can each play a part in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care.

Group homes are residences intended to serve as an alternative to family foster homes.Homes normally house 4 to 12 children in a setting that offers the potential for the full use of community resources, including employment, health care, education, and recreational opportunities.