• Navigating the Foster Care System

Credit Hours: 


introduction to foster care

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 been a foster parent for now 8 months, and I have 5 littles now and I have found esp the oldest ones really want their voices to be heard , they don't believe adults really listen

    By 3 hours 21 min ago
  • My wife and I were recently blessed with the ability to foster a 7 month old child who's previous primary caregiver was that of an 8 year old sibling. Not that this child wasn't performing admirably, there were understandable and unnecessary issues thrust upon the 8 year old that should not have been. When we received the 7 month old we decided, due to the child's lack of stability and structure it would be pertinent to create a basic routine. The routine consisted of feeding times, play times, nap times, and bed time. Appears simple enough to most, but when one doesn't have that in their lives it is a task to get them on that train. Structure in a young child's life is important so that they know there is stability and consistency. As you saw from the videos, they go through enough already. They want to know and they NEED to know there is stability in their lives and one simple way to do that is to set a routine for them.

    By 5 days 2 hours ago
  • I am just starting out in these classes and I have not yet fostered any children, but I do have thoughts on how I'd like to try and help them if I do get the opportunity to have children in my home. I would like to make them feel as comfortable as possible by making them feel safe and wanted. Let them be free to express themselves and not get discouraged if they don't always react in a positive manner to anything that I might try. I know that it will take time and effort and I know that these kids often times are coming from a horrible situation. I just hope to be the best kind of parent that I can be for them.

    By 1 week 2 days ago



I got an error or nothing happened when I clicked CLICK HERE! Disable your web browser's pop-up blocker: Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, or Mozilla Firefox.

How do I take the quiz? Click the green "Take the Quiz" button at bottom of page. If the button reads "Subscribe Now" you must purchase the annual subscription in order to take the quizzes and get credit hours for the courses.

I paid for a subscription, but I don't see the green "Take the Quiz" button. Make sure you are logged in to your account.