Foster Parent Rights
Serving as a foster family to a child in need is both fulfilling and intimidating. Foster Parents open their homes and their hearts to children in State custody by allowing them to feel safe and grow and learn in a family setting. Foster Parents also have to deal with the bureaucracy of a State agency and often need legal assistance navigating this system while protecting the best interests of the child.
Foster Parents have the right to be a member of the treatment team and to provide input on their foster child’s service plan. Foster Parents are able to provide unique input as to the child’s needs and the effectiveness of the services the child is receiving. They are also in a unique position to provide critical information to the Court and should be important to a Judge’s decision making process. The importance of the role of a Foster Parent is recognized by law. Foster Parents are required to be given notice of proceedings involving a child in their care and they have a right to be heard.
However, the reality is that the bureaucracy of a State agency has a long way to go in including Foster Parents as an integral part of the treatment team. Frequently, Foster Parents become frustrated and resentful of a system that does not include them and is unresponsive to their needs. It is not unusual for Foster Parents to experience retaliation if they complain to the court-appointed lawyers who represent foster children. At Atencio Law Office P.C., we have extensive experience helping foster parents navigate the bureaucracy and fighting for foster parent rights.
Foster Parents are responsible for the safety and emotional well being of the children in their care. While the ultimate goal for these children is often reunification with their biological parents, the Courts are increasingly recognizing that at some point this may not be in the child’s best interest. Foster Parents and their foster children come to form emotional bonds and attachments that can be psychologically devastating to the child if broken. Courts are also increasingly recognizing that the rights of the child are equally as important as the rights of the biological parents.
Atencio Law Office believes in the importance of Foster Parents in the lives of their foster children and would be honored to assist in any way to promote and defend the rights of Foster Parents and their foster children.