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FAQ About Foster Children


Below we have listed the frequently asked questions about foster children, our organization, family finding and gift-giving. We also get questions from the public, so you will probably find answers to a question you've always had.


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What is Family Finding?

Our organization finds family members of U.S. foster children. Most people would describe this work as finding families. However, this activity of identifying, locating and notifying a foster child's relatives is called "family finding" by the Department of Human Services and social workers. State and federal laws that are passed concerning foster children also reference to this specific term.

So we tend to use the term "family finding" because our organization often has to do more than just find a relative. We often work to identify family members that no one knows about so that there is the greatest possible chance that a foster child will be reconnected with at least one blood relative.


If there so many kids in the USA, why do
people go to other countries to adopt kids?
Shouldn't we help ourselves first?

I think people go to other countries in part because people here don't know about the thousands of foster children we have in this country. They don't hear about the 100,000 foster kids that are ready for adoption. Some may feel these foster children are in foster care because they are delinquents. As I mentioned before, many people want babies and children under 5 years old.

Once a foster child reaches 12 years old, their possibility of being adopted drops to less than 1%. And don't believe that foster children don't know this reality. They know they are now locked into the foster care system unless something happens like having their relatives located. These are the cases we receive the most, cases where the agencies are desperate because they know the stats. They know that if a relative isn't found for a foster youth, then that child will stay in the system until they age out.

Here's one last thought. Years ago potential foster parents could get a child in about six months. Now depending on where people go and the cost for services, that process could take years and in some cases, especially with relatives, these people are turned down for adoption. Clearly there are issues and a pressing need to streamline the adoption policy in the U.S. to encourage more people to adopt a foster youth. There is no one solution. Both locating relatives who may want to be foster parents and robust adoptions are two good solutions to helping foster children.


Is my Donation Tax Deductible?

It depends. Not everyone can take advantage of tax deductions, only if you itemize your deductions using a Schedule A. If you don't itemize your taxes, then there is no use for a tax deduction.* However, your donation is greatly appreciated by the foster children you help.


How Does a Child Get Into Foster Care?

There are several ways in which a child comes to be in foster care.

  • The child was removed from the home because they were being physically or sexually abused.

  • The child was in an environment where there was criminal activity (a parent was making, using or selling drugs).

  • The parent(s) abandoned the child, died or were killed.


Why Aren't Counties Paying for Family Finding?

That is a great question. A study in 2008 showed that there are huge savings ($200,000 per month) if just 37 children were placed out of foster care. Perhaps the officials who decide which programs get more funding do not know about this study and the cost-savings for taxpayers.

A few social workers have shared that government bookkeeping isn't as straight forward as what you or I might imagine, making it difficult to know where money is used or moved to. We don't have a definite answer for you at this time. What we do know is that regardless of the reasons, by federal and most state laws all adult family members are to be located and notified when their child relative(s) is in U.S. foster care.


Are there any petitions we can sign to support
the age limit to be raised for foster children?

These matters are handled at the state level, and we don't know which state is currently looking at increasing the "aging out" for foster teens from 18 to 21. To date about half of the states such as California and Tennessee have raised the age when foster youth are forced out of the foster care system to 21. However, there's all this effort to provide services for three more years to foster kids when agencies aren't doing a quality search to find relatives. Do that and this issue of aging out is irrelevant except for a few kids.


I thought that foster kids had to leave the homes at 18?
Do they get state help or money when they are 18?

In half of the states, yes, foster kids do have to leave their foster home. At this time about half of the states have extended the age to 21.

As for whether foster youth get help or money from the state when they age out, it's not very good. Foster teens really don't get a steady support. They may leave with $100 in their pocket and a garbage bag of clothes. That's about it. There are community programs popping up, and some of these have been successful in helping foster children transition out of foster care. However, a real problem is that these kids don't know about these programs, or the programs are limited.


Got a Question We Didn't Answer?

former foster teen san diego Let us know if you have a question or concern that was not addressed. The more you share with us, the better we can provide the information people such as you want to know. Use the Facebook form below and write in your comments.

We'll respond and let you know when we have posted new information. And be sure to donate so you can help make a lasting impact on the life of a foster child.

 

 




* Disclaimer: Information on this site about tax deductions is not intended to replace professional tax advice. To ensure you can take a deduction, please talk with your accountant, bookkeeper or the IRS.

 

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Forever Homes For Foster Kids
9450 Mira Mesa Blvd, Suite C520  San Diego, California 92126 USA
Phone: 858.368.9700   Fax: 617.608.2381   info@ForeverHomesForFosterKids.org


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