Foster Care : Occurs when a child is apprehended ( removed from the birth parents care)The child or children are then placed in temporary homes with people they may not have a previous relationship with. Children may remain in a foster home for a few days or several years. While children remain in foster care, they may have multiple foster home placements. (being moved from one foster home to, another foster home)

Kinship Care: is similar to the above, however once a child is removed from the birth parents care they are placed with extended family, such as a grandparent, or someone with whom they have a significant relationship. ( I will touch on this type of placement in a later post, as we are currently a kinship placement). Generally speaking kinship placements are more involved with the case plan and birth family than a foster family would be.

When children are removed from birth families care, they are placed into a foster home or kinship home. The birth parents are given a case plan they must complete before the child can be returned to their care. If the child is in a kinship placement, the kinship family is usually involved in the case plan. A case plan may consist of things like, complete parenting classes, create a financial plan, get a job and maintain a job ( have a source of income), have a permanent residence, complete alcohol/ drug rehabilitation complete anger management or counselling, continue to have supervised / unsupervised visits with chid, the list goes on. Many parents are able to complete the plan, and are able to be reunited with the child (ren). This process can go on for months and sometimes years, as birth parents are often granted extension after extension, until it is determined they unable to complete the case plan and care for the basic needs of the child(ren).

Once the birth parents rights are terminated ( This is commonly called PGO – or permanent Guardianship Order, or a Crown Ward) a 30 day appeal period needs to occur before the child becomes available for adoption. ( It is very important to note, that does not mean a child is placed in an adoptive home immediately with child and family services there is a process for everything.) This type of adoption is generally referred to as a Public Adoption. This can be granted with or without access to biological family ( this can also mean, contact with extended family like biological grandparents) Contact can be letters, pictures or face to face. By the time a PGO has been granted, children are generally speaking at best at least a year old , more often than not older.( Keeping in mind that is based on a child that is apprehended at birth or a few months old). Public adoptions usually involve the social workers selecting an adoptive family as a match for the child based on a home assessment. ( I will go into more detail about what exactly a home assessment involves in a later post) Public adoptions can be very complicated and can take months and even years before they are completed. Children adopted through child and family services have experienced trauma by the time they are adopted so additional sensitivity and many times counselling services are a benefit to families.

Private Adoption: The birth parent(s) will generally seek out an adoption agency for their assistance in legally terminating their parental rights and selecting an adoptive family to then become the legal guardians, parents of the child/ ren. Like with public adoptions a home assessment is used, to help birth parents select a family. Prospective adoptive parents often times include a letter to birth parents to go along with the home study. Sometimes birth parents meet with prospective adoptive parents before deciding on a family. With this type of adoption there is a cost usually ranging from 10,000 to 20, 000 for domestic private adoptions. Private adoptions are most often related to newborns, or babies a few months old. Rare cases do involve older children. Once the child is 8 days old the birth parents may sign the Consent to Adoption forms in the presence of a lawyer. Once the consent forms are signed, there is a 21 day period during which the birth parents may change their mind and have the child returned to their care( Keep in mind, legislations may vary by province/ state) Often times after a private adoption is completed the birth family and adoptive family will remain in contact, and have some relationship.

My family has been involved with both public adoptions, and a kinship placement. I hope to capture how completely different these experiences have been as I continue to post. Our family commonly gets asked the same questions over and over again, so before I go into details about “our journey” I really want to share the basics of the system, and some of the terminology used in the world of adoption and child and family services.

Embrace Your Hope





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