How Children Enter the Foster Care System

As a foster parent, I have never been privy to the removal of a child placed in foster care. The process after a child enters foster care is quite complicated and can have a number of outcomes.


Before a child enter the foster care system, an investigation is conducted by the state investigators. If the investigator finds no reason to believe that a child is abused or neglected, the case is closed.

However, if CPS finds an issue, the case is either referred to Family Based Safety Services or the child enters the Foster Care system.

Family Based Safety Services is used when there is a safety issue that puts a child at risk. FBSS is meant to help families stay together. A caseworker is assigned and a Family Service Plan is developed to address each of the safety issues discovered to keep the child safe. Family Service Plans may include parenting classes, drug treatment plans, drug testing, psychological evaluations, individual and family counseling, and other services to get the family back on track. The caseworker continues to visit and evaluate the safety of children in the home.

If the family completes the family services plan, then the case is closed. However, if the parents do not complete their family services plan, then a child enters the foster care system.

The priority is to place a child with a relative in kinship care; however, if no suitable relative is found, then the child is placed in a licensed foster home.

While the child is in foster care, the parents still have the opportunity to complete family services and the child can be reunified with the parents. However, if the parents do not complete services, the child can be either adopted or age out of the foster care system.