In our previous blog post, we looked at some of the legal rights guaranteed to children within the foster care system. As important as it is for you to understand those rights as a foster parent, it is equally as important for you to understand your own legal rights. The State of Pennsylvania follows the guidelines established by the 2010 Children in Foster Care Act when it comes to legal rights within the foster care system. You can visit this page to read the actual verbiage of this piece of legislation, or you can keep reading to learn about some of the most important legal rights you have as a foster parent.
Your Legal Rights as a Foster Parent
Agency Support Services
Whether you have chosen to foster through a state agency or through a private agency, you have the legal right to support services. In other words, no one is expecting you to do any of this by yourself. You have the legal right to be provided help by the social services professionals you work with. If you decide to work with Family Care For Children & Youth, a private and nonprofit Pennsylvania agency, we will teach you proven techniques, theories, and responses in order to promote the strongest connection possible between you and the child in your care.
Relevant Child History & Other Info
The agency you foster through has the legal obligation to provide you with all relevant information regarding the child’s history and circumstances. You’re not expected to go into the process completely ignorant of the child in your care’s situation. Instead, you have the legal right to have access to the child’s medical history, education history, and life experiences. You have the right to know what kind of relationship the child has with his or her parents as well as the factors relevant to previous and prospective placements.
Home Address Safeguards
This particular right is very specific, but it also serves to put at ease those foster parents who fear the child’s biological family is going to show up at their doors. As a foster parent, you have the right to be consulted and informed prior to your address being given to the child’s parents. As you can see, this legislation is just as concerned with protecting the foster parents as it is with protecting the children within the foster care system.
You also have the legal right to any training that is appropriate for improving your performance as a foster parent. At FCCY, this means being provided with training on our approach to foster care, which marries Choice Theory and Reality Therapy. We’ll show you a new way to understand human behavior, reactions, and personalities, which will help you with approaching each foster child with understanding and without judgement.
These are just a few of the legal rights guaranteed to foster care parents. If you have a question about foster care or want to become a foster parent in Pennsylvania, contact Family Care For Children & Youth online.