Foster Care FAQs

Fostering can the most rewarding and challenging work that you’ll ever do. We know there are many questions about the foster care system, the process to become a foster parent and what to expect once you have become a foster parent. These frequently asked questions and answers are a good place to start.

Foster Care FAQs

Foster care is the temporary placement of children and youth outside of their own homes. It happens due to abuse, neglect or other family problems. Foster care gives parents time to learn new skills to become the parents their children need them to be.

No. Kids in foster care are regular children who, through no fault of their own, need to live temporarily outside of their own homes while their parents learn new skills and address safety concerns. 

Colorado is committed to inclusion. There are no restrictions on who can foster based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or marital status. Adoptive and foster parents must be at least 21 years old, pass a background check, complete training and receive a home study. Foster parents must be able to use sound judgment like a prudent parent and demonstrate a responsible, stable and emotionally mature lifestyle.

  • You can be single, married or have a domestic partner.
  • You can own or rent a home, condo or apartment of any size, but you must have room for a child.
  • You can work inside or outside the home. Couples with both partners working outside the home are also eligible to be foster parents.
  • You must be at least 21 years of age.
  • You must have sufficient income to support your family.
  • You must be able to physically care for a child or youth.
  • You must pass child abuse and criminal background checks required by state and federal laws.
  • You must be able to work with a treatment team and be willing to go to ongoing training.

Foster parents provide a temporary safe, stable home for children who have experienced abuse and neglect and whose parents need time to learn new skills to become the parents their children need them to be. Foster parents care for and meet the meet the physical, emotional and social needs of children in foster care. 

The intent is to safely reunify children with their families. Foster parents are expected to work closely with parent, when possible, the county department of human/social services with legal custody, the Guardian Ad Litem and service providers.

Majority of children enter foster care due to abuse, neglect or other family problems. Children and youth in foster care come from diverse ethnic and cultural populations and are generally birth to 18 years of age (sometimes teens stay in foster care after their 18th birthday). They may have special medical, physical, developmental, psychological and emotional needs, low self-esteem, poor hygiene or poor academic performance.  The child or youth may belong to a sibling group or be an only child. 

Foster parents receive a monthly reimbursement to offset the costs of providing food, shelter, clothing and other related expenses. The rate varies and may depend upon the age of the chlid and their level of care they need. The foster parent is not expected to pay for medical or dental care. These expenses are generally covered by Medicaid.

Colorado rules allow up to four children or youth in foster care to live in a foster home at one time. There can be no more than eight children, including the foster parents biological children, living in the home. Space requirements, the foster family’s preference and the home study are all considered when determining how many children can live in the home.

A child or youth may be in foster care for one night, several months or, in come cases, several years. Every effort is made to reunify children with their parent. The time spent in foster care is dependent upon each parent’s situation and their ability to engage in services to keep the children or youth safe so that they can be reunited.

Children may leave foster care to live with a relative or another adult with whom they have a significant relationship. This is called kinship care.

Ideally, placements are made with foster families based upon the compatibility of the child’s needs and the skills, resources and location of the foster parent. Human services agencies strive to find a foster home near the child’s parent’s home to encourage frequent visitation and involvement. Human services agencies also look for a foster family who lives near the child’s school or in the same school district. 

We encourage contact between foster parents and parents based upon the treatment team’s recommendation. Sometimes “Icebreaker Meetings” are scheduled at the beginning of placement to allow the foster parents and parents to meet and focus on the needs of the child. Topics may include foods they like or dislike, interests, routines and other important information that will reduce the trauma and help with the transition into the foster home.

Contact with the birth family can reduce anxiety and reduce loyalty issues for children in foster care. There are many levels of contact, which may include:

  • Sending written information about the child or youth.
  • Telephone calls.
  • Face-to-face contact.
  • Inviting and transporting parents to appointments.
  • Coaching on parenting techniques that work for the child.

The Colorado Department of Human Services contracts with The Adoption Exchange to answer all questions and help Coloradans get started fostering or adopting in Colorado. If you aren’t sure about how to get started or just want to ask more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Contact us.

Still have questions?