Foster Parents change lives... Both the children's and their own.

There are currently over 17,000 children in foster care in New York State with more than 6,000 coming into care every year. 

Foster Care: When children are provided with a safe, nurturing, loving family for a temporary period of time while working towards reunification.

Doing Homework

Types of foster care

The primary goal of foster care at Berkshire is reunification. Initially, the foster parent’s role is seen as a temporary one. Over half of children who enter foster care are reunified with their birth parents. We ask our foster parents to support these efforts—including facilitating visitations with birth parents and attending court appearances. Although this may not be a permanent situation, as a foster parent, you are making a permanent, positive impact on the life of a child even once they return to their birth parents or are placed with another relative when that is found to be in his or her best interest.

  • Respite care: Every parent needs a break. Respite care providers step in to give foster parents needed time off—from a few hours to a weekend or more—usually on a regularly scheduled basis.

  • Emergency or urgent care: Foster parents agree to be on-call and to accept short term placements as the need arises, including at night and on the weekends.

  • Kinship care: Grandparents, aunts and uncles, family members, or a community member who has a significant relationship with the child, who agree to care for children are called “kinship” caregivers. 

  • Therapeutic foster care: People who provide a safe, temporary home for children in need whether on a part time or a fill time basis. The primary goal of therapeutic care is reunification with the birth parents. These caregivers receive additional special training and support to be part of the care team responding to the needs of children in their home.

  • Foster-to-adopt care: Although reunification is the primary goal, that is not always possible. Many families foster with the intention of possibly adopting. Fostering to adopt has many benefits, including reducing the number of placements a child experiences and allowing a family to bond. 

Steps to becoming a foster parent: An overview

Speak to a Homefinder in your area

Meet us for an orientation

Complete a foster parent application

Attend our MAPP training class

Complete the certification process

Get ready for your first placement

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Partners in Parenting:

Beth & Steve

"We met Steve and his children during a time of family crisis. Knowing the struggles and challenges Steve had to overcome, it was wonderful to see him and foster mom, Beth, work as a team to achieve the best outcome for Maya, Krystal, and Leo.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Most adults over the age of 21 qualify to foster. Which means you probably will too! View our book of the top 10 most commonly asked questions- the answers may surprise you. 

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Meet Magan

Children who are placed in foster care are just ordinary kids who have been through some extraordinary challenges. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, it's best to hear directly from young people who have been there.

Click on the video to the left to hear Magan's story

Here are the top 4 reasons children are placed into care:

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Check out our blog to hear what it's like to be a foster parent from Berkshire foster parents.

Babysitting

Ready to take the next step?

Click the link below to complete our Foster Parent Inquiry Form. A member of our foster care team will contact you to discuss the process of changing the life of a child by becoming a foster parent!

Are you bi-lingual, Spanish-speaking, and interested in short-term foster care? 

Listen to our iHeart Radio 'Ask the Expert" series where you will hear from Berkshire staff and Berkshire Foster Parents