While foster care arrangements are generally designed to be temporary, these types of cases do not always remain this way. In fact, oftentimes, foster care families develop a bond with the child they care for, driving them to seek permanent custody. If you are a foster parent, or are considering becoming one, and would like to learn more about what rights you might have, read on to learn more.
What is Required of Foster Parents?
A foster parent is an adult with no blood or legal ties to the child they care for and raise while under the direction or supervision of a welfare agency. Typically, foster parents look after children for monetary compensation and may also run a group home.
The legal qualification for becoming a foster parent can vary slightly from state to state though usually, the following requirements apply to those seeking to become a foster parent:
- He or she must be at least 21 years of age
- He or she must have a steady, regular source of income
- He or she has not been convicted of any felonies
- He or she must submit to an assessment of all close family members
- He or she must participate in mandatory parent training courses
Additionally, a foster parent is often allowed to work outside of home, though it must not interfere with their ability to raise the child. While foster parents are expected to have a regular source of income, there is no set requirement for how much this should be. If extra expenses, such as daycare, are necessary, the foster parent should also be able to cover these as well.
Foster Parent Rights
The relationship foster parents have with the children they care for is legally unique. They appear and act very much like any other parent, but they actually share their parenting responsibilities with a welfare agency. In fact, the welfare agency holds legal custody of the child. That said, foster parents have rights similar to that of a natural parent, in addition to many of the following:
- Protect and preserve the integrity of their own family unit
- Contract rights that stem from the agreement made with the welfare agency
- Receive payment for services
- Punish a child as a parent would and to the same extent
- Possibly be able to terminate natural parent rights
The rights of a foster parent can usually be terminated by the welfare agency at any given time. In some circumstances, a foster parent will also find that their rights fall below that of a natural parent.
Terminating a Natural Parent’s Rights
Foster parents can seek to terminate the rights of a natural parent. For them to do so, foster parents must:
- Institute adoption proceedings
- Institute custody proceedings
- Receive a judicial court order
If you are ready to be a foster family and want to take the first steps toward adding a new child to your household, seek the assistance of a skilled family law attorney to help you throughout this process.
Foster Family Rights in Henderson
Regardless if you are looking to seek permanent custody or are simply interested in becoming a foster parent, the Henderson legal team at Ford & Friedman is ready to assist you. Our trusted family attorneys have experience in a wide range of legal issues involving foster family rights and are ready to assert your role in a foster child’s life both in and outside of the courtroom.
We understand what it takes to protect your rights and the rights of the child in question and how to ensure every avenue towards reaching your goal is pursued on your behalf.
Contact our office today at (702) 904-9898 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team.