Will you stand up for a child? Foster care is the act of taking in and providing safe and loving care for a child or a youth who is unable to stay safely in their family home. When children in our community are in danger, foster families stand up and offer a place of safety until parents are ready to care for their children again. Foster families also stand up to provide care for teenagers who have been abused or find themselves having troubles in their daily lives or with the Juvenile Justice system.
Get more information by emailing us at StandUpForMe@DenverGov.org or by calling at 720-944-4000. Join us for our free informational sessions:
Foster Care is the act of taking in and providing safe and loving care for a child or a youth. When children in our community are in danger and unable to stay safely with their family, foster families stand up and offer a place of safety until parents are ready to care for their children again. Foster families also stand up to provide care for teenagers who have been abused or find themselves having troubles in their daily lives or with the Juvenile Justice System.
There is always a need for families who will provide foster care. General Foster Care is when a member of the community chooses to provide care for a child but usually does not know the child.
Why Become A Denver Foster Parent?
Provide Care for a Teen
There is a need for foster parents willing to work with teenagers. Many of these youth are also involved with the Juvenile Justice System. Many of our youth are very intuitive and in need of creative outlets, structure and consistent rewards and consequences.
Sibling Groups Studies have shown that the bonds between siblings often surpasses that between the parent and children. It is very important to keep siblings together if it becomes necessary to place them in foster care. If you are interested in providing care for teenagers or sibling groups please call us at our information line.
Learn more about becoming a foster parent in Denver County by calling 720-944-4000 or join us on the second Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. in room 1018 of the Richard T. Castro Building, 1200 Federal Boulevard, for an informational meeting on becoming a Foster or Adoptive parent.
State and federal Law requires DHS to complete rigorous background and fingerprint checks on the local, state and federal level for all foster or kinship care applicants.
The law requires DHS to deny certification if the applicant has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to and received a deferred prosecution, deferred sentence, deferred judgment or deferred adjudication for any of the following:
Kinship providers are family members or people with established kin-like relationships who stand up to care for a child or children that are unable to stay in their home due to safety concerns.
The only times DHS is given the authority to place a child out of the home is when:
Studies have shown that children in Kinship Care do better at moving through the trauma of being removed from their parents' home and can be successfully reunited with their parents sooner that in other types of placement. DHS always looks to first place a child into Kinship Care.
If you would like more information about becoming a Kinship Care Provider, please call our Kinship Care Information line at 720-944-4546. For information about Kinship-specific training contact Ann Pierce (720)944-6197 or Helen Onyeali (720)944-6187.
Voluntary Placement & Kinship Care
When there is a finding that child abuse or neglect has occurred in a family, DHS must act to ensure the safety of the child(ren). The worker will offer services through a Voluntary Case or a Juvenile Court Case called a Dependency and Neglect Petition.
DHS prefers to open a Voluntary Case so that the agency can engage families in services and work to resolve safety issues in the home. A Voluntary Placement Agreement occurs when it is determined that the child needs to be removed from the home in order to improve safety and DHS has opened a Voluntary Case with the family. Through this process, the department can offer the parents the opportunity to voluntarily place their children out of the home while they resolve the safety concerns. DHS prefers to place children and youth into Voluntary Kinship Care with family members or friends of the family who have strong connections to the children.
The caseworker will develop a Family Treatment Plan and the Department will provide therapeutic or other necessary services for the parents and children. Placement into Voluntary Kinship Care is short term. The parents, in partnership with the Department, have 90 days to complete the conditions of their Treatment Plan. Successful completion of the Treatment Plan in 90 days will result in the return of all children to the home and a closure of the Voluntary Case.
Benefits of Voluntary Kinship Care
Certified Kinship Care
If the family's issues cannot be resolved through a Voluntary Case or if the family does not complete their Treatment Plan in the 90 days allowed on a Voluntary Case, the case worker will file a Dependency and Neglect Petition (D&N) alleging child abuse or neglect against the parent(s) in Denver Juvenile Court.
The Courts also acknowledge that children placed out of the home do better with family members or family friends. The Judge presiding over the case may still allow Voluntary Kinship placement if an appropriate Kinship Provider is available or can be found. Again, the primary factors considered are the severity of abuse/neglect, the safety needs of the child and the willingness of the parents to comply with a Court Ordered Treatment Plan.
The legal requirement for family members to become Licensed Foster Care Providers for the child is the difference between Voluntary and Certified Kinship Care.
In many cases, the Judge may order the legal and physical custody of the children to DHS and order the Department to place the children out of the home. This order means DHS is legally obligated to keep the children safe.
Voluntary Kinship Care is not an option if DHS has legal custody of the children. In our efforts to keep families together, the Department can look to utilize Certified Kinship Care as an option for placement if a family member or friend is willing to become certified.
The requirements to become a Certified Kinship Provider are similar to those necessary to become a General Foster Care Provider:
Benefits of Certified Kinship Care
The benefits of Certified Kinship Care are almost identical to those of Voluntary Kinship care:
Permanent Placement Options are those placements which result in a child or youth who has been removed from the home, having a permanent home, family and relationships.
Studies and experience have taught us that the bond between parents and children is such that most children strive to be with their families, even in cases of severe abuse. For this reason, the most important Permanent Goal option is help families identify and address safety concerns in order to return children and youth home to their parents.
When a child or youth cannot be returned to their parents, DHS pursues one of several other permanent placement goals including:
All of the listed goals lead to permanent families for children.
Permanency Planning is the process of determining which permanent goals are the best for a child or youth who has been removed from the home, and locating permanent homes and relationships for the children. Permanency planning begins as soon as a child or youth is removed from the home and continues throughout their life. Permanency Planning is overseen by Denver Juvenile Court.
The court process can be overwhelming and confusing, so please take a moment to review, "Understanding the Dependency & Neglect Court System," which defines many of the terms one would encounter in a hearing and the roles of the various players.
In addition to relatives, other appropriate adults and family friends may engage in permanent relationships with children and youth in placement. These relationships are encouraged and supported by DHS. Call us at 720-944-4000 if you are interested in engaging a child/youth in placement and want to engage in the Permanency Planning process.
Children and youth become available for adoption after a Judge has terminated the rights of the parents or the parents have relinquished their parental rights. Adoption provides the strongest legal permanent option for a child or youth.
At the adoption hearing, the adoptive parent is granted all the legal rights, privileges and responsibilities of parenthood. The foremost benefit to the child is knowing there is someone who will be there throughout their life. The primary benefit for the adoptive parent(s) is the fulfillment of a desire to raise a child or youth to adulthood and to maintain a lifetime relationship with them.
Successful Adoptive Parents Will:
Become an Adoptive Parent
The process to become an adoptive parent has several steps:
If you choose to become an adoptive parent, an Adoption Support Worker will be assigned to help you through the certification process and answer all your questions.
Legal Requirements to Become an Adoptive Parent
Before a prospective foster parent can become certified he/she must meet some minimal legal requirements:
Allocation of Parental Responsibility (APR)
Allocation of Parental Responsibility, also known as an APR, occurs when a Judge grants a responsible adult legal and physical custody of a child or youth. The Allocation of Parental Responsibility to another care giver can provide the child or youth the stability of adoption but does not require the termination of parental rights. It also allows the parent or parents the ability to maintain a legal relationship with the child, with possible visitation and decision-making authority.
The appointed caregiver is given the legal documents necessary to provide for the child and the family’s case in the Dependency and Neglect case is closed. Thereafter, the APR is assigned a case number in the District Court in the county where the children will reside with the permanent caregiver. If future litigation is needed regarding the care of the child, it can done through the assigned District Court Case.
Allocation of Parental Responsibility has numerous benefits to the child and family including:
Who Can Request Allocation of Parental Responsibility of a Child or Youth?
Most often individuals seeking APR are relatives or extended family members of the child or parent or close adult friends to the family. Individuals who have a close relationship with the child such as teachers, mentors and advocates, and parents of a child’s friend have also been able to receive Allocation of Parental Responsibility.
The primary factors considered are:
How to receive Allocation of Parental Responsibility
If you are a family member or friend and wish to support a child or family by becoming an “alternate parent” for a child or youth contact us at our Foster Care Information line at 720-944-4000. We can direct you to the appropriate person to speak to about presenting your interests in Juvenile Court, the legal rights and responsibilities of APR and the process of becoming a legal custodian of the child.
Report Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect: 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437)
Foster Care and Adoption Information Line: 720-944-4000
Kinship Care Information Line: 720-944-4546
Kinship-specific Training: 720-944-6197 or 720-944-6187
Report Elder Abuse: 720-944-2994
Customer Service and Assistance Information (SNAP, TANF, Medical): 720-944-3666
Child Support Services: 720-944-2960 or ChildSupportServices@denvergov.org
GIVE Denver: 720-944-GIVE (4483)
City Information: 311
Media Inquiries: 720-944-1422
Colorado relay/TDY: 711
Child Abuse Hotline
Statewide: 1-844-CO-4-Kids (264-5437)
or in Denver: 720-944-3000
Adult Protection Hotline
DHS Customer Service
Child Support Services
Denver City & County Information