In New York State, there are over 17,000 children in foster care, many of which are placed in the State’s care due to neglect, parents’ drug abuse, parents’ inability to cope, and physical abuse. Foster parents provide a save, loving, and nurturing home for children in foster care while working toward the goal of reuniting the children with their biological families. Essentially, foster care is families helping families.
There are many different types of foster care that are common in today’s care system, designed to address the many and varied needs of families and children. As a New York State-wide organization connecting foster families and children in foster care with the resources and support they require, Berkshire Farm Center has the capacity and expertise to meet the unique needs of most families and children engaged in the foster care system.
Typical Types of Foster Care
Respite care is when one foster family temporarily cares for another family’s foster children. Respite care provides full-time foster parents some much-needed time off. It can be ongoing, regularly-scheduled care — like on evenings or weekends — with a consistent foster family or unplanned for emergencies and crisis.
Children can enter foster care on any day at any time. Emergency care fills the gap between when a child is placed in foster care and when they are introduced to their foster family. Foster parents who provide this short-term care are typically on-call to accept placements as they arrive.
Family members, like grandparents, aunts, and uncles, or people with a significant connection to a youth such as teachers and coaches can provide kinship care to a child in foster care. As with traditional foster care, the child is in the State’s custody but living with a familiar family with the goal of reunification with their biological families.
Specialized Foster Care
Sometimes children in foster care require more support because of past trauma or medical needs. Foster parents who provide specialized or therapeutic foster care for these children complete more training and have a higher level of certification than traditional foster parents and work as a member of the child’s care team to ensure their needs are being met.
The goal of foster care is always reunification with a child’s biological family, but sometimes this is not possible. Foster-to-adopt care is provided by foster families that are looking to welcome a child to their homes and families permanently. This type of foster care allows a child in care to bond with their foster family before an adoption is finalized.
Becoming a Foster Parent
After completing the orientation, application, and certification processes and selecting the type(s) of foster care you are willing and able to provide, you will be ready for your first placement!