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Legal Issues Concerning Foster Children

Posted on in Foster Care

Illinios family law attorney, Illinois adoption lawsFoster parents play an important role in nurturing children who do not have parents and those whose parents cannot care for them. The foster care system is a part of the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), which is tasked with many responsibilities related to the protection of Illinois children. There are many different reasons why a child may be placed in foster care. If a child is abused or neglected by his or her parents, foster care may be deemed to be the safest place for the child. Children can also be voluntarily placed in the foster system, often under Illinois' Safe Haven law. When a parent is incarcerated and the child does not have available relatives with whom to live or the child him- or herself has a criminal record that stems from instability in his or her home, the court may also deem foster care to be the best placement for the child. When the parents' parental rights to the child are terminated, the child may be placed for adoption. Many foster parents eventually adopt the children they foster.

Requirements for Illinois Foster Parents

An individual must meet the following set of requirements to become a licensed foster parent in Illinois:

  • Be at least 21 years old;
  • Complete a home inspection by DCFS;
  • Complete a social assessment to determine his or her goals, values, and ability to relate to a child;
  • Undergo a criminal background check;
  • Complete 27 hours of foster care training, which discusses foster children's needs and how to handle them;
  • Complete a health screening and prove that his or her immunizations are up to date; and 
  • Be deemed to be financially stable.    

If more than one individual lives in the prospective foster parent's home, they must undergo the criminal background check as well. A foster parent can be male or female and may be single, married, widowed, or in a civil union. One's sexual orientation does not bar him or her from becoming a foster parent in Illinois. The licensing process for foster parents can take a few months to complete.

It is not uncommon for DCFS to place a child in a relative's home for foster care, even if the relative is not licensed as a foster parent. Usually, this occurs when the relative is in the process of becoming licensed. Foster parents receive reimbursements from DCFS to cover the costs that come with caring for foster children, though unlicensed foster parents receive fewer reimbursements than licensed foster parents receive.

Work with a Kane County Family Attorney

Fostering a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences you have in life. But like other family law issues, becoming a foster parent requires your understanding of your legal obligations throughout the process. To discuss these obligations and prepare yourself to become a foster parent in Illinois, speak with one of the experienced Kane County family lawyers at the Goostree Law Group. Contact our firm to schedule your free legal consultation with us today.



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