Foster children

Foster children do not live with their mother or father, but with foster carers. The Youth Care Office assesses whether a child should be taken into care and which form of foster care is the most suitable.

Foster care: when?

There can be various reasons why a child cannot live at home, such as:

  • the child is neglected or abused at home;
  • the mother or father is ill and cannot look after the child;
  • there is a constant state of conflict between the parents or between the parents and the child;
  • the child is disabled and the parents cannot cope;
  • the child has behavioural problems and the parents cannot cope.

These children are taken into foster care.

Taking a child into care

A child is only taken into foster care after a referral from the Youth Care Office. The Youth Care Office assesses the situation at home and, in consultation with everyone involved, decides whether foster care is the appropriate solution. If so, the Youth Care Office decides which type of foster care is best.

Foster care provided by family or friends is preferable. This is referred to as kinship care. If this is not possible, a foster family will be sought in the foster carers register. The register lists people who have volunteered to care for a foster child.

Age limits

Children may live in foster care until they are 18. Some foster children continue to need support and guidance after they reach that age, in which case the foster agency or the foster carers will continue to provide guidance. This will stop when the child reaches the age of 23 or no longer wants any help.

Voluntary and imposed care orders

Some parents decide themselves that it would be better if their child lived elsewhere, either temporarily or permanently. The child is then taken into care under a voluntary care order, without intervention by the courts.

Sometimes a solution cannot be found in consultation with the parents. If it is not safe for the child at home, the Child Protection Board can intervene. The Board will investigate and may advise the court to limit parental responsibility, in which case a care order may be imposed.

Foster children’s rights

Foster children have a number of special rights. They have the right to know what decisions are being made about them, to consult their file and to have contact with their family.