Foster Care

Fostering a child has all of the challenges and rewards that come with parenting your own child… and more! We invite you to become a foster parent through KVC. We care for more than 3,700 children in foster care across 30 counties in eastern Kansas. We are always looking for compassionate families to join our mission to enrich and enhance the lives of children in need. Make a difference in a child’s life!

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Although there are many reasons why children or youth are placed in foster care in Kansas, the most common reasons are physical neglect, abuse, and substance use. Once a child is placed in foster care, KVC assigns a case manager who works with the family to identify family members and other interested parties who form a group to strategize, create a plan and coordinate care for the child, with the ultimate goal of achieving a safe and permanent home.  Our foster parents play an important role in helping children maintain relationships with their families so they can eventually reunite.

You can make a positive difference by fostering a child or teen through KVC.  By becoming a foster parent, you are opening your home to a child in need and providing a dependable, nurturing environment.  This can be a challenging task, so KVC goes to great lengths to provide families with resources and training necessary to successfully integrate a child into your home.

What is foster care?

Foster care in Kansas provides a temporary arrangement for a child when they are not able to live with their biological parents or other natural caregivers. During this time, child welfare professionals work to find the best possible relative, foster family or other placement option for that child until they can safely return home or a permanency plan is identified.

Different types of foster care exist to meet the unique needs of each child and family including relative/kinship care, non-related kin, traditional foster care, specialized therapeutic or medical foster care and respite care. Learn more about the types of foster care here.

Who are in Kansas foster care?

On any given day, 7,687 youth are in Kansas foster care. They range from infants to 18 years old, and even up to 21 years old in the states that have extended foster care. The average age of a child in foster care is 9 years old, and there are slightly more boys than girls. The median amount of time that a child is in foster care is just over a year. More than half of these children will be safely reunified with their parents or primary caregivers, and nearly one-quarter will be adopted, many by their foster parents. In the U.S. over 20,000 youth leave the foster care system each year because they have not yet been safely reunited with their families or adopted, and are too old to remain in state custody.

Why are children in foster care?

Most of the children and teens in foster care have experienced child abuse or neglect in some capacity. Each state determines how physical, sexual and emotional abuse are defined, and youth enter foster care if it meets these criteria. Neglect can include physical neglect, medical neglect or lack of supervision. Physical neglect includes but is not limited to failure to provide the child with food, clothing or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child. Other reasons can include the parents are incarcerated or abandonment.

How many children are in Kansas foster care?

As of June 2018, there are 7,687 youth in foster care in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Children and Families updates the data of current youth being served here. According to a 2017 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report, the number of children in the foster care system nationally has increased for the fourth year in a row. Most government agencies and journalists attribute the rise, in part, to increased parental substance abuse. Of the 15 categories, states can report for the circumstances associated with a child’s removal from home and placement into care, drug abuse by a parent had the largest percentage point increase. Neglect as a circumstance around removal has also been increasing.

What is the main goal of foster care?

When youth cannot remain safely in their homes and must enter foster care, the first goal of foster care is to safely reunite them with their families as soon as possible. The most common outcome for children in Kansas foster care is a safe reunification with their families. Nationwide, more than half of youth who enter foster care are safely reunified. The average length of time a child is in foster care is about a year, but much of this is dependent on how long it takes for the family to resolve their conflicts or disruptions and demonstrate that their home is safe for their child to return home.

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Helpful links for families:

Free Resources to Help Become a Foster Parent

Kansas Department for Children and Families

Kansas Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (KFAPA)

Family Handbook for Families with Children in Care

Case Planning Conferences

Glossary of Terms

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Fact Sheet for Caregivers