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Foster Care and Adoption Programs

Adult and Child Holding HandsWhen children have experienced abuse or neglect and must be separated from their parents or other relatives, they are most often placed in the temporary and safe care of approved foster parents. Foster parents have been trained to nurture children who have experienced trauma and work with in partnership with birth families.

While children are in temporary foster care, the main goal of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is to reunify the child(ren) with their birth parents as soon as the parents have received services to provide a safe and stable home. While working toward the goal of reunification, the child's worker will complete a relative search and possibly place the child with relatives. The main focus is for children to have a permanent home, where they can be healthy in mind, body and spirit.

In some cases children may not be able to be reunified with their parents or placed with relatives. The courts may terminate the parents rights and legally free the child for adoption. This can be a lengthy process. Adoption is the legal process of making a family of parents and children not born to them. In many cases, foster parents choose to become the permanent and legal adoptive parents of children who have been in their approved foster homes. A temporary situation (foster care) then becomes a step forward to a permanent and lifelong commitment (adoption).

Questions You May Have About Foster Care

Why are children placed in foster care?

There are several reasons why a child may need to be placed in a foster home:

  • Some birth parents simply aren’t able to give appropriate physical and emotional care or appropriate supervision.
  • Some parents and some children can’t control their behaviors.
  • Some families have temporary crises, like health problems or loss of income and housing.
  • Some parents have serious parenting problems because of drug abuse, mental illness or other conditions.
  • Some birth parents voluntarily place their children for adoption.

How many Kentucky kids need foster care services?

More than 6,800 children are currently in CHFS foster care. Last year, more than 700 children in CHFS foster care were adopted and more than 80 percent were adopted by their foster families.

Other Frequently Asked Questions



Last Updated 6/26/2012