What Is a Child Placing Agency and How Do They Help Me?
There are over 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States. Half of these children are placed in non-relative homes. This makes the need for foster parents great.
If you are thinking of becoming a foster or adoptive parent, a licensed Child Placing Agency (CPA) can help you. Read on to learn more about what a CPA is and how they support you in the Foster Care services and adoption process. This article focuses on the Commonwealth of Virginia but most states follow a very similar process.
Why Should I Foster Or Adopt?
Children who leave the custody of their biological parents have been through a hard time. A loving and stable home is so important to a child going through a traumatic time in their lives. Choosing to give your time and energy to a child in need is a special gift.
The need for a forever home arises when family reunification is no longer an option. These children have already suffered the loss of their parents. They have also experienced abuse and neglect from the situation they came from.
Opening your home to these children will make their lives more positive. It will give them a chance to have a caring family.
Aging Out Of The System
If a child in the foster care system cannot find an adoptive home, the outcome is not always a good one. About 20 percent of children who age out of the foster care system will become homeless within two years. 25% of these adults will go to jail. This is why permanency planning is so important with a child in a Foster Care program.
For these reasons, adopting from the foster care system is so important. Children do not choose the lives they live. Foster and adoptive parents can give these children a new lease on life.
What Is A Child Placing Agency?
A Child Placing Agency is a private agency that places children in foster homes. They also can put children in prospective adoptive homes. CPAs are licensed to work with the Department of Social Services in that state.
CPAs are in place to make sure a home is fit to accept a child into foster care. They also ensure families have what they need to bring a child into their home.
What Support Do They Provide?
The state you live in may require training to become a foster parent. This training might not be enough to give you the tools you need to support a child. Child Placing Agencies provide education and support beyond what the state requires.
Each child entering the foster care system with an adoption agency has a case manager. This person makes sure that the child is getting their needs met. They also give proper support to the foster or prospective adoptive parents.
Case managers also have frequent contact with the child and parents. This contact can be both in-person and via email or phone. These times are for receiving extra guidance or training while fostering. They also set up foster support groups monthly for further foster family support.
When you choose to foster a child, that family is going through a time of hardship. CSAs will provide you with the proper training to support the child and bio family. The focus should be on the goal for your foster child whether it be reunification or adoption.
You will receive a treatment team during your time as a foster parent. This team will consist of the Child Placing Agency, The Department of Social Services, and yourself. Everyone’s goal on this team is the same and is in the foster child's best interest.
This treatment team will be with you through the reunification process. Your team will also assist in the adoption process if needed. They also provide post-adoption services for the family and child.
Support Groups And Respite Care
While fostering, you will deal with the everyday challenges of becoming a parent. Fostering can add extra challenges to raising a child. CSAs are here to provide support to you as well as the child.
Support groups happen monthly to connect with other foster parents. Free respite care ensures you are taking care of yourself through this process. There is also a 24/7 crisis line should the need arise.
Levels Of Foster Care
There are five levels of foster care in Virginia. The first level is the non-treatment level of foster care. The second level is assessment level treatment care. The last three levels are under the umbrella of treatment-level foster care.
Non-Treatment Foster Care
Children who fall into the non-treatment foster category are typically on track developmentally. These children show age-appropriate behavior. They can also take part in community events with no restrictions.
Assessment Level Treatment Care
This level is for those new to a child-placing agency. They have not yet had a treatment level assessment. Others are currently in the assessment process for the needed level of treatment.
Treatment-Level Foster Care
Children in this level of foster care need ongoing treatment for social, emotional, or behavioral issues. Level one represents the lowest treatment needs and level two is moderate. Level three represents significant treatment needs.
How Do Children And Families Achieve Reunification?
The main goal of foster families and child-placing agencies is usually reunification. For this to occur, the biological family must be working toward their assigned goals.
The process begins with supervised visits with the bio parents. Visits then progress to weekend and overnight visits.
If children reunite with their biological parents, they will need continued support. The social worker assures a smooth transition for the parents and the child.
I Am Ready to Foster, Now What?
If you want to learn more about fostering or adopting a child, great! If you are ready to start your journey, fill out this simple form and apply today! Our Child Placing Agency will be in touch with you to focus on the steps you need to take to become a foster parent.
Opening your heart and home to a child in need is one of the greatest gives you will ever give.
If you would like to learn a bit more before applying to become a foster parent, check out our FAQs page.