A Foster Family Agreement is a non-legal agreement between the current foster family, the supervising agency, and the child that is intended to provide a stable, loving home for the child without the legally binding paperwork of adoption or guardianship. A Foster Family Agreement is similar to Permanent Placement with a Fit and Willing Relative - a foster care worker will still be assigned to evaluate the case every 6 months until the child is no longer a ward of the court. When deciding if a Foster Family Agreement is the best goal for a child, the foster care worker will:
- First decide that reunification, adoption, guardianship, or PPFWR cannot be achieved or are not in the youth's best interest
- Meet separately with the foster parents and the youth to:
- See if the foster family and youth are both interested in this goal
- Look at the different requirements, benefits, and the approval process, and inform the foster family of other more permanent options such as adoption or guardianship
- Discuss the expected role and responsibilities of the foster parent while in the Agreement
- Schedule a PPC (Permanency Planning Committee) meeting with all significant people in the youth's life and discuss the idea of a Foster Family Agreement. People who can attend a PPC include the biological parents (if rights have not been terminated), foster parents, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) worker, Legal Guardian Ad Litem (LGAL), any other important people in the youth's life, and most importantly - the youth!
Unfortunately, because the Foster Family Agreement is not legally-binding, if the foster family decides they no longer can care for the child in their home, they have the right to make that decision and the youth will need to be moved into another placement.