Foster and Kinship Care

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When children experience abuse, neglect, or other hardships, they may need to be temporarily placed outside of the home to stay safe and well. Foster parents step up to be the difference for these children by providing them with temporary care while we work with their families to access tools and supports to create safer environments for their children.

How We Partner with Foster Parents

It takes a team of people to provide support for children and youth in foster care. Our goal is to work cooperatively with biological families and foster parents to keep families together. We help by:

  • Supporting biological parents in achieving their goals so they can be reunified with their children 
  • Providing a dedicated worker to help foster parents navigate the certification and placement process
  • Offering ongoing training for foster parents to build skills and abilities
  • Connecting foster parents with experienced mentors, support groups, and social events
  • Providing reimbursements to foster parents for many of the costs of caring for the children

What is foster care?

Children are temporarily removed from their homes and placed in foster care for a variety of reasons. They may be experiencing abuse or neglect, or parents may be unable to care for them due to domestic violence, medical issues, substance abuse or other unique circumstances. Foster parents provide temporary care that can have a lifelong, positive impact on youth.

Children in foster care live with their relatives, foster parents, or – if neither of these is available – in group facilities. With education and support for the birth parents, more than half of children who go into foster care return to their birth families.

There are also specialized types of foster care, which often require different skill sets like training in education, social work or trauma. Learn more about specialized foster care below.

What is kinship care?

Kin are relatives or others who have a “family-like” relationship with a child. As kinship providers, they agree to nurture and protect children who are in current or impending danger with their parent(s) or caregivers. Because they share close ties, kinship providers can care for children in a way that respects cultural values and helps maintain significant relationships in a child’s life. When a child or youth is in need of out-of-home placement, we always look first to place a child with kin. 

What about adoption?

Adoptions of children in our care typically occur only after every measure is exhausted to keep them safely with their parents. When that cannot happen, we may seek to place those children permanently with one of our foster parents.

We are the only public source for adoption in Denver. All of our adoptive parents must start with our agency as foster parents. 

What is required to become a foster parent?

To be considered as a certified foster parent in Denver, you must:

  • Be 21 or older
  • Be physically and emotionally healthy
  • Be financially stable
  • Be a US citizen or resident, and
  • Live within a one-hour drive of the Denver metro area
  • Foster parents come from all walks of life. In addition to the requirements above, foster parents are generally patient, kind, and have a passion for improving the lives of children and youth. When you attend our Foster Care 101 Webinar, you'll learn more about what it takes, including the benefits and the challenges of being a foster parent.

What are specialized types of foster care?

We are always in need of individuals and families for certain types of specialized foster care. In most instances, these foster parents have specialized training to support children with high needs. You can be the person who provides them with a stable home where they are cared for, healed from past trauma, and supported along their journey. Learn more about specialized foster care.

Do you have to own a home to be a foster parent?

No. As long as you can offer a safe and stable living environment, whether rented or owned, you can be a foster parent.

Do you have to have parenting experience to be a foster parent?

No. Foster parents should have a desire to help children or youth but do not typically need prior experience, unless the child or youth has special needs.

Do you have to be married to be a foster parent?

No. Foster parents can be single or in a relationship.

Does someone have to be a stay-at-home parent to be a foster parent?

No. Some foster children require a flexible schedule depending upon their needs, but many will attend school or daycare so foster parents can still work.

Will I have a choice in the child who is placed with me?

Yes. All families have a voice in the placement they receive. Denver Human Services works with you to find the right fit.

 

Get Started

We know you probably still have a lot of questions about becoming a foster parent. Join us for a free Foster Care 101 Webinar where we'll discuss the foster parent journey and your next steps in the process. 

Call us at 720-944-4DHS (4347) or email fostercare@denvergov.org.