• 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

Want to take the quiz and receive credit for this course? Please subscribe below.

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.)

  • I have found that 75 % of the children that we have welcomed into our home had to do some kind of chore.It is an act of normalcy.Have them help someone or give them there own chore to work on everyday.Gently guide them on how you want it done and praise them when it is done.

    By 1 day 13 hours ago
  • Helping the child feel comfortable and letting them know it's ok to be themselves. To let them express themselves however they need to. Be there for them. Tell them you don't have all the answers but you will figure it out together.

    By 5 days 18 hours ago
  • I think it's so important to let the child adjust to their new surroundings. As care givers we never know what a child has gone through, but the most important aspect it to let them know, that no matter how they behave, they are loved. It's important to not take their behavior personal, as care givers we are secure, they have been abused and traumatized, so patience and long term commitment to earn their trust is the key.

    By 6 days 10 hours ago



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