If your social worker thinks you are not caring for your child well enough, s/he may ask you to sign a parenting agreement. It may be a Voluntary Family Reunification (VFR) agreement, or a Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) agreement.
Teen Parent in Foster Care
Most VFRs last about six months. If you follow the agreement, you will most likely get your child back.
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.
WFFHs are homes especially for foster children with children of their own.
A Whole Family Foster Home can be a good experience.
You have a right to visit and be in contact and maintain relationships with your immediate family. This includes your child, unless a court has ended your parental rights.
The state will increase the amount of money your foster parent or group home receives if your child stays there with you. The amount depends on whether you have custody of your child and the kind of foster home you are in.
If you are not a good parent, Child Protective Services (CPS) may take the child from you.
It depends on your foster-care situation. For example, your foster parents may not want or be able to care for a child. Your group home may not be able to care for babies safely.
You and your child have the right to stay together if CPS can find a placement for the two of you. CPS must try to do this.
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.