Foster Care

Resources: Foster Care (General)

  • Recent Demographic Trends in Foster Care
    The ACYF Office of Data, Analysis, Research and Evaluation (ODARE) developed a data brief series that highlights findings from administrative and survey data focusing on children, youth and families served by ACYF and addresses topics of current interest to the field.  This first brief documents trends over the last decade in the size and racial and ethnic composition of the foster care population, including select state and county patterns. (September 2013)

  • Family Foster Care Reimbursement Rates in the U.S.:  A report from a 2012 National Survey on Family Foster Care Provider Classifications and Rates
    This report from Child Trends presents the findings from a national survey of states’ family foster care provider classifications and rates.  The survey, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs, sought to produce a more comprehensive picture of both the commonalities and variations between states in family foster care payments.  A brief profile is also provided summarizing each state’s family foster care rates and policies.  (April 2013)

  • Education is the Lifeline for Youth in Foster Care
    Success in school can be a positive counterweight to the abuse, neglect, separation, and impermanence experienced by the more than 400,000 U.S. children and youth in foster care at the end of FY 2009. Education has the potential to markedly improve their life chances and their ability to contribute to society as productive adults. However, research suggests that far too many of the children and youth in foster care are not succeeding in school and that a concerted effort will be required if significant progress is to be made in their educational outcomes. This brief report by the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education highlights national foster care data, shares research findings, and highlights promising policies and programs. (October 2011)
  • What Works in Child Welfare Reform: Reducing Reliance on Congregate Care in Tennessee
    Over the last several years, Tennessee’s focused effort to increase the number of children in foster care living with families rather than inappropriately in institutions – such as shelters, group homes, and residential treatment centers – has not only had a positive impact on children and families across the state, but could serve as a model of child welfare case practice nationwide, according to this report by Children’s Rights. This publication reports that the state’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) has greatly improved its ability to reserve institutional care only for youth with severe mental and behavioral health needs, and now the vast majority of children in foster care live with relatives or foster families. The report also outlines specific ways other jurisdictions can emulate this success.  (July 2011)
  • Foster Care Maintenance Payments
    NRCPFC gathered the latest information available to us on foster care maintenance payments. Download this document to find out how much each state provides for children in foster care. (Updated: June 2008)
  • Hitting the M.A.R.C.
    This study from Children’s Rights, the National Foster Parent Association and the University of Maryland School of Social Work presents a nationwide, state-by-state calculation of the real cost of supporting children in foster care. The report proposes a new standard rate for each state to use in fulfilling the federal requirement to provide foster parents with payments to cover the basic needs of children in foster care, including food, shelter, clothing and school supplies. (October 2007)
  • Foster Care Dynamics in Urban and Non-Urban Counties
    This paper describes foster care utilization in the urban and non-urban counties that are part of the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive. The aim is to understand the extent to which placement experiences differ depending on whether children reside in primary urban areas, secondary urban counties, or non-urban (rural) counties. (February 2002)
  • Research Briefs from NSCAW
    Research briefs from Caliber Associates provide information gathered from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW). The first, Who are the Children in Foster Care?, describes the characteristics, experiences of abuse/neglect, living situations, and status of 727 children who have been in foster care for one year. The second, Foster Children's Caregivers and Caregiving Environments, provides some information about the families who care for children in foster care, children's perceptions of their caregivers and living arrangements, and reunification plans for this group of children.
  • Adoption and Foster Care Guidelines
    This webpage from AdoptUsKids provides step-by-step guidance to those interested in learning more about becoming an adoptive or foster parent. The website includes specific information about foster parenting and adoption for each State and territory. There is also basic adoption and foster parenting information on the site. (2010)

  • Working with African American Adoptive, Foster and Kinship Families
    This guide was developed by AdoptUsKids to assist public and private child welfare staff in their work with prospective and current African American foster, adoptive and kinship families. It is important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” description of African American families. Rather, African American families, like all families, are diverse with various beliefs, values, and socioeconomic experiences. The guide includes the following sections: A historical perspective; strengths of African Americans; Tips to Remember; Additional Information (with resources).

Resources: Treatment Foster Care

  • Treatment Foster Care: Its History and Current Role in the Foster Care Continuum
    This article reviews the historical development in the United States of treatment family foster care as an alternative to the psychiatric hospitalization or long-term residential treatment of children and youth with serious emotional and behavioral disorders. Treatment family foster care has developed in three discrete systems of care: juvenile justice, child welfare, and mental health. The authors examine the relative contribution of each of these systems to its development, its current role in the provision of services to children with emotional and behavioral challenges, and the evidence-base for this form of care. (2006)
  • Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Treatment Foster Care: A Resource Guide
    The guide by The Foster Family-based Treatment Association (FFTA) highlights valuable information, references, resources, and tools for implementing Evidence-based Practices (EBPs) in Treatment Foster Care (TFC) service settings. The Resource Guide identifies specific models, interventions, and tools that TFC providers can use to deliver effective services to the children, youth, and families in their care. It also provides “how-to” information to help TFC providers successfully implement desired EBPs in their programs. (2008)
  • Children in Treatment Foster Care: Using Agency Data to Study Cross-System Child Outcomes
    Treatment foster care (TFC), also known as intensive, therapeutic, or specialized foster care, began in the 1970s as a way of caring for children who need to be removed from their biological homes and who have intensive mental, emotional, behavioral, or medical needs. Using statewide data from the Minn-LInK Project and administrative data from one TFC agency in Minnesota, a number of cross-system child outcomes were explored. This study was intended to begin to form a broader picture of the status of TFC children and to help fill gaps in the TFC literature by linking TFC program records across other systems. PATH Minnesota provided agency program data for calendar year 2006 (n=673) which was linked with statewide public education and child welfare records for 2006 and surrounding years. The intent was to examine the degree to which agency records could be successfully matched to these other systems and the extent to which children could be described in relation to a variety of TFC attributes. Some highlights of those findings are provided in this Minn-LInK Issue Brief from the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. (2009)

Resources: Foster Parents

  • Foster Care Contacts 
    NRCPFC compiled this complete listing of contacts for foster care inquiries (by State) as part of the National Foster Care Month campaign. Each listing provides an agency/organization, phone number, and website so that people interested in becoming foster parents can learn more about the process in their State. (Updated January 2014)

  • Foster Parents: Who are They?: Reality v. Perception
    Youth Law News published a two-part series that looks at foster parents -- who they are, who the public thinks they are, and how the public's perceptions of them is shaped by newspapers, magazines, and books, as well as movies and television. Part I (July-September 2005 issue) looks at the latest research and information about foster parents -- their age, education, employment, length of service, and motivations. Part II (October-December 2005 issue) explores how foster parents are portrayed in the media, and how that shapes the public's perceptions of foster parents.
  • Foster Parent Handbooks
    When foster parents take children into their homes, the children don't come with instruction manuals, but a foster care handbook from the agency is the next best thing. Most handbooks include explanations of the foster care system and the legal system as it relates to foster care, agency rules, what to expect from the children, whom to contact in various situations, what to do in case of emergency, and how to deal with birth family issues. This page provides links to several online agency handbooks.

  • Foster Parent College
    Foster Parent College offers a variety of fee-based interactive multimedia training courses for adoptive, kinship, and foster parents.  These self-paced courses are available in the areas of behavior management, parenting strategies, and pre-service training.  Foster Parent College has been rated by the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC); endorsed by the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA), the Foster Family-based Treatment Association (FFTA), and the Canadian Foster Family Association; and approved by the National Adoption Center and national Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA).

Resources: Foster Children/Youth
Please go to the Hot Topics homepage to locate additional resources for youth and about working with youth.

  • Handbooks for Youth in Foster Care
    Youth in foster care are becoming increasingly aware of their own potential to effect change for themselves personally and within the system. One avenue that allows them to learn more about their own rights and responsibilities, and that can lead to empowerment for them, is the use of handbooks written for and about young people in care.
  • Personal Finance Guides for Foster Youth
    The Casey Foundation and the National Endowment for Financial Education jointly published this series of guidebooks expressly for use by foster children and teens to educate them about personal finance and empower them to make sound decisions about reaching their future goals. They were developed after speaking with foster parents, youth counselors, social workers, and other foster care professionals. The guidebooks include: I Know Where I'm Going (But Will My Cash Keep Up?): Part One and Two; Money Pals: Being Cool with Cash, Part One and Two; and, Caregiver's Handbook for Money Pals: "Being Cool with Cash" and "I Know Where I'm Going (But Will My Cash Keep Up?)”.
  • Resources to Help Youth Build Relationships with Parents and Foster Parents
    Below are some resources from Youth Communication to help youth build good relationships with parents and foster parents. Each of these web pages includes the following sections: Stories by Teens, Resources for Teens and Staff, Tips for Staff, and Helpful Links.
    Birth Parents:
    Foster Parents:

  • Tip Sheets for Youth in Foster Care from FCARC in Wisconsin
    The Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center (FCARC) in Wisconsin has made available a series of Tip Sheets for youth in foster care. The topics include Seeing a Mental Health Therapist; Bullying Hurts Everyone; Coping with Anger; You Are Not Alone: The Sad Truth About Having a Parent in Prison; Keys to Independence: Finding Your First Apartment; Your Voice Matters: Speaking Out by Speaking Up (Youth Advocacy); Sharing Your Story; Is This Love? Teen Dating Violence; How to Ace Your Job Interview; Tips for Filling Out a Job Application Form; Financial Aid Awareness Assistance and Resources; Who Am I? Exploring Your Sexuality; Life Books: A Creative and Fun Way to Express Yourself; How Career Assessments Can Help You Make School and Career Choices; and, Earning a GED or HSED. Each tip sheet is 3-4 pages long and in a printable PDF format.

  • Foster Cub Has Questions About Foster Care (Coloring Book)
    FosterClub has created a coloring book designed just for kids entering the foster care system. It includes coloring pages and activities like puzzles, mazes, and more. Foster Cub helps parents, case workers, courts, advocates, and other supportive adults talk to children about foster care. It provides an introduction to foster care decreases fears about entering care; empowers a child to ask questions and provides supportive adults with child-friendly answers; offers conversation-starters to help improve communication during a traumatic time.

Resources from the States

  • California: Foster Youth Help
    This site is a product of the California Foster Care Ombudsman Office, whose mandates include ensuring that the voice of foster children and youth is heard, and acting on their behalf. The main topics address the rights, responsibilities, entitlements, and resources available to youth in care and those on the verge of aging out.
  • Iowa: Foster & Adoptive Parents Association
    The Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA) empowers, supports and advocates for foster, adoptive and kinship families in Iowa. IFAPA provides training, peer support and resources to promote safety, permanency and well-being for Iowa’s children.
  • Texas: Moving Foster Care Forward
    This document from the Department of Family and Protective Services is to outline the plan DFPS is enacting to continue to bring about change in the Texas Foster Care System and better serve children and families. (March 2008)

PowerPoint Presentations

  • Responding to the Challenges of Foster Parenting
    This presentation was given by NRCPFC Executive Director Gerald P. Mallon at the Hawaii Foster Parent Association Conference in October, 2005. It looks at the official - and unofficial - roles required of foster parents.

NRCPFC Information Packet

Teleconferences, Webcasts, & Webinars

  • Extending Foster Care to Age 21: Implications for Providers, Impact on Budgets
    One important provision of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act extended federal support for keeping foster youth in care until age 21. The goal is to improve educational and health-related outcomes. This extension of care has significant implications for service providers as they plan adaptations to their programs for a group of older youth who need services that will help prepare them for independence. It has implications as well for the budgets of state agencies and program providers. This webinar, from Urban Institute and Chapin Hall, offered a discussion on extending foster care to age 21 and its implications for providers and impact on budgets. (2011)



  • National Foster Care Month 2012
    National Foster Care Month is a time to renew our commitment to ensuring a bright future for the more than 400,000 children and youth in foster care and to celebrate all those who make a meaningful difference in their lives.

    Achieving Well-Being with Children and Youth
    The Children’s Bureau, together with Child Welfare Information Gateway and the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, supports National Foster Care Month through a dedicated web section for child welfare professionals and as a partner in the national “Change a Lifetime” campaign sponsored by the National Foster Care Month Initiative. This year’s web section focuses on Achieving Well-Being with Children and Youth in Care and provides resources to support child welfare professionals as they seek to build well-being postpermanency; with transitioning youth; through support in sibling connections; through support in school & community; and through trauma-informed child welfare systems.

    Change a Lifetime
    The National Foster Care Month Change a Lifetime campaign calls on all Americans to help change a lifetime of a child or youth in foster care. No matter who you are or how much time you have to give, you can help create permanent, lifelong connections for these children and youth.
  • Child Welfare League of America
    CWLA's website contains information about the League's Family Foster Care Services initiatives as well as general information and links on the subject of foster care. Its website contains reports, statistics, and other resources.
  • Fostering Results
    The Children and Family Research Center at the School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, has launched this public education and outreach campaign.

Last updated 1/17/14