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Foster Care

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Adult Foster Homes programs are agency-supervised private family homes that provide alternative family living arrangement for older adults or adults with disabilities who need supervision and personal care (but generally not nursing care) and who do not live with their families. The arrangement provides an opportunity for the individual to become a participating member of the family and the community in which the family resides, and to share in the interaction and responsibilities of being a part of a family. Foster care for older adults and/or people with disabilities may not be available in all states; and some jurisdictions may permit the provision of rehabilitation services, nursing care and other medical services. Some adult foster homes may specialize in providing care for adults with developmental disabilities, Alzheimer's disease, mental health issues or other specific conditions. Licensing requirements vary considerably from area to area.

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Foster Home Placement programs that link individuals who are in need of alternative living arrangements with appropriate private family homes that are licensed to provide foster care. Licensing requirements vary from state to state and, in some situations, licensing is not required at all. Programs that provide placement services for children and adults with disabilities are generally also responsible for recruiting, training, certifying and monitoring placements in family homes and for providing support for the family and the individual(s) with disabilities who live with them.

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Adoption and Foster/Kinship Care Support groups whose members are individuals who have adopted a child or are considering or in the process of adoption, birth parents who relinquished a child for adoption, people who were, themselves adopted, foster care providers, children in foster care, kinship caregivers (paternal or maternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members, members of a child's tribe or clan, godparents, stepparents, neighbors, friends of the family or other adults who can serve as "family"), children cared for by relatives under a formal or informal kinship care arrangement and/or adults who, as children, were raised in foster or kinship care. Groups may also be structured for adoptees, siblings and/or birth parents who have been reunited; older kinship caregivers who have taken on an unexpected parenting role later in life; and people who have other kinship issues, e.g., grandparents and other relatives who have been denied access to a grandchild or other youngster due to a death or divorce in the child's family. Meeting formats may include in-person, telephone or Internet options.

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Supervised Living for Older Youth programs that help older children in foster care, emancipated youth who are no longer eligible for foster care and/or other youth, usually to age 21, establish residence in private homes, apartments, boarding homes, college dormitories or other residential settings and provide supervision and support while they develop independent living skills.

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Foster Homes for Dependent Children programs provide alternative family living arrangements in agency-supervised private family homes for children and youth who have been neglected, abused or abandoned in situations where a children's protective services worker or a court has decided that they cannot live safely at home.

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Foster Parent/Family Recruitment programs identify and enlist people who are willing to provide foster care for dependent children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect or abandonment and need an alternative family living arrangement, or for children or adults with developmental disabilities, sensory impairments, physical disabilities, emotional problems or multiple disabilities who are unable to live with their birth families or in an independent setting. Programs that recruit families to provide foster care for children and adults with disabilities are generally also responsible for training, certifying and monitoring placements in family homes and for providing support for the family and the individual(s) with disabilities who live with them.

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