Ask NCYL: If I’m in Foster Care can I still live with my child?

You’ve sent us your questions about sex, pregnancy, and parenting rights. Each month, we’ll pick one to answer here on the blog. Check out our latest Q&A below!

First of all it’s important to know that even if you’re in foster care, that doesn’t mean your child will enter foster care as well. Children are put into foster care if their parent or guardian can no longer take care of them. If you’re able and willing to take care of your child, they can live with you. No one can take your child away from you just because you’re under 18 or live in foster care. But you must care for your child just like any other parent.

If you’re staying with a foster family or group home, they may receive extra money if your child stays there with you. But depending on your foster care situation, you may need to move to a new placement if you’re pregnant and want to have the child. If you become pregnant and decide to have the baby, make sure to speak with your social worker, lawyer, and foster parents. You can all come together to decide whether the foster home you’re in will be the right place for you, or if you need to find a new place to stay.

If you are not taking good care of your child, Child Protective Services might ask you to give up custody. If you choose to give up custody, it may be very difficult to get your child back, even after you turn 18 or leave foster care. Don’t give up your child unless you have thought about it very carefully, talked to a lawyer, and talked to a trusted adult.

Learn more about your health rights while in Foster Care by visiting the Foster Care Section in our Youth Legal Guide. 

 

Who is in charge of my child if we are together in foster care?

If you have custody of your child, you decide how to care for him or her—for example, how to feed and dress the baby, what to do when the baby cries, etc.

But if your child is also a foster child, a foster parent or caseworker will make decisions about the child’s day-to-day care.

A third option is called a Whole Family Foster Home (WFFH). That is when you have custody, but you and your foster parents together plan your child’s day-to-day care.

Would CPS ask me to give up custody of my child?

CPS may ask you to give up custody if

  • it makes it easier for them to find a foster home for your child (even if you stay together), or
  • your social worker thinks you are not caring for your child well enough, but does not want to go to court to have the child taken from you.

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