Defining and Understanding Foster Care


Every year over 55,000 children in California, 250,000 in the nation, face a dire situation—their birth families can no longer provide a stable, safe home for them. Through no fault of their own, these children are forced to leave their parents, family, friends, home, school, toys and way of life to be placed in the care of a new family. At best, these children are placed with close relatives or friends whom they’ve already formed a bond. However, most of these vulnerable children are placed with non-relative families in foster care.

We are all familiar with the overdone story of orphanages and foster homes that subject children to more trauma, and while these situations do occur, it is not the norm. Foster families provide safe and loving homes where children thrive, heal their trust in adults, and experience loving families. This month, as we nationally turn our hearts and focus to raising awareness about foster care, we want to introduce you to the loving side of foster care. We want to share the success stories that’ll give you goosebumps and teary eyes. We want to share the special stories of children and families that thrive and soar, so that maybe you will see what we’ve seen the past 42 years—that all children, when given love, thrive.

What is Foster Care?

Foster care is one family providing a home and family life to a child/children who cannot live with their parents. This can be a temporary placement, used to provide the child with care while parents solve issues, or to help a child/youth through a difficult patch in their life.

Children can, and often will be reunited with their parents when issues and problems that caused the child to be placed in care have been adequately resolved, and their parents are capable of caring for them safely.

Types of Foster Care

Foster care is any living situation where a child is not with their parents. Foster care can be a child living with relatives, family friends, a non-relative foster family, or in a group facility.

Time in Foster Care

A child can stay in foster care for a range of different times, and this always depends on a combination of factors—the needs of the child, the family situation, and the options available in the community. Some foster children stay briefly in foster care, while others stay for a few years, and some are eventually adopted into lifelong families.

The Goal of Foster Care

The fundamental goal and crucial aim of foster care is to ensure that our children live in stable, safe and loving family units that are lifelong, and allow the child to form a lasting attachment to a parenting adult.

At Walden our vision is for every child to have a loving family and the ability to realize their greatest potential toward becoming a self-sufficient and productive member of their community. We holistically address the needs of the child and family to ensure our children and families are supported throughout their foster care experience. This involves therapeutic interventions, a loving team of social workers, parenting classes, family visitation centers, as well as amazing support from people like you.

To learn about our services for children and families, please visit the following links:

Children and Youth

Foster/Adoption Parent Training

Youth Services

This month we will work earnestly to raise the awareness and celebrate our wonderful foster families. We ask you to join us. Help us spread the word, raise funds and awareness. Remember, as a community, we will change the lives of our children.