The primary goal of foster care is to provide a safe, temporary place for children to live. The child lives in foster care until they can be in a permanent home. A permanent home may include:
- being reunified with the biological parents
- legal placement with a relative or court approved guardian
Children enter foster care when:
- human services files a juvenile petition outlining reasons a child cannot remain home
- a judge signs a non-secure custody order
When these two things happen, children get placed in the legal custody of human services.
Court hearings occur on a regular basis as set forth by state and federal law.
Services get provided while children are in the legal custody of human services. They get provided to both the child and parents. This is to ensure the child can be reunified with the biological parents. These services get:
- provided and monitored by a foster care social worker
- overseen by the court system
If determined a child cannot be reunified with biological parents, services will continue. This ensures that the child achieves legal permanence as quickly as possible.
Cabarrus County is not an adoption agency. Children in human service's legal custody get placed in temporary living arrangements. The ultimate goal being reunification with the biological parents. The placement provider may be considered as an adoptive placement if:
- reunification cannot occur
- the child's goal changes to adoption
The LINKS program serves youth between the ages of 13 and 21. These youth are or were in the legal custody of a local child welfare agency. The LINKS program bases its platform on positive youth development principles. This platform involves social worker and youth building a network of relevant services. This network ensures the youth will have ongoing connections with resources. These connections facilitate the youth's transition to adulthood. The program works with:
- educational institutions
- financial assistance
- skills training
Human services does not treat the youth as an object who has no say in decisions. Instead, social workers interact with the youth as a resource. A person with unique experiences and abilities, who can become self-sufficient if given:
- needed information
- caring adults
- a supportive environment
These youth may have a goal of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA).
Foster Home Licensing
DHS licenses foster families to provide temporary protection and care of children who:
- are in the legal custody of the department
- must live apart from their biological family for a period of time due to abuse, neglect or dependency
Extensive training and home consultations occur over a period of 10 weeks. This prepares families for their critical role in caring for children. Licensing standards set forth by the state guide the department. This guide helps determine eligibility/suitability of those wishing to become foster parents.