• Navigating the Foster Care System

Credit Hours: 


Course Summary:

Sometimes it can be helpful to step back and gain a big-picture perspective on foster care. This overview provides basic information about the child welfare system, including how a child enters care in the first place, statistics, and a look at the foster care experience from a young person’s viewpoint. You’ll also receive insight from a national journalist, young people, and the federal government.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • The ways a child can enter foster care.
  • The basic path a child welfare case follows.
  • What entering care might feel like to a child.
  • General statistics for child welfare.


Take the Course:

Estimated time to complete: 2.0 hours

A: Watch ReMoved Film. This fictional short film provides a moving depiction of what entering foster care looks like from a child’s perspective.

B: Watch the video below. Reporter Lisa Ling, producer of Our America, provides some insights she gained as she reported on Los Angeles’ child welfare system.

C: Read the guide, How the Child Welfare System Works. This guide from the Child Welfare Information Gateway (a service of the Children’s Bureau) provides a high-level overview of how the child welfare system is designed to work. CLICK HERE
D: Review A Child’s Journey Through Foster Care, a simplified diagram that illustrates how a child moves through the child welfare system. CLICK HERE
E: Read the following foster care statistics. Child welfare statistics usually run several years behind the current year. While the statistics shown in this training module are from 2014, they are useful in looking at general child welfare statistics and current trends. CLICK HERE
F: Watch the short film, The Well-Being Journey for Youth in Foster Care from the Youth Transition Funders Group, where young people share their foster care experiences.

G: Continue the conversation on the supportive adult forum by adding a comment to the discussion topic question. CLICK HERE

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Course Discussion Question

Provide one idea, either that you’ve tried, plan to try, or believe a foster parent could try, that would ease a child’s entry into the foster care system. (Please leave out the child's name.)

  • let them know that no matter what they have done wrong in the past once they come through your door it no longer matters this helped out a lot with the 15 year old that we had...

    By 1 day 22 hours ago
  • I've only had one foster kiddo and he's still with me 14 months later. I know the best thing I did was just talk to him and show him around the house. I'm a single foster mom and I have a big dog. I asked my kiddo if he wanted to help me feed the dog and take her for a walk. I immediately wanted him to know that he was a part of my life. We walked around the neighborhood and talked about what we saw. I know when I'm anxious, having conversation about idle things tends to bring my stress down.

    By 1 week 1 day ago
  • I think that its important to keep things as normal as possible for the child. To provide them with the same opportunities that other kids have in life. Sleepovers, dances, birthday parties. Without that I don't think a child can grow.

    By 2 weeks 2 days ago



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