First, it’s important to know that the Utah Division of Child & Family Services (DCFS) is the agency who decides where a child in foster care will be placed. If you are interested in caring for a child you know who is in foster care, the first thing to do is contact the child’s caseworker at DCFS.
While Utah Foster Care (UFC) staff cannot help you with that, we will do our best to answer any questions you have.
When a child is placed into foster care, the trauma can often be reduced by placing the child with a relative or another person the child already knows. When a child is placed with a relative, it’s called “kinship care”. Families who become licensed for a child they know, but are not related to, are “specific” foster parents.
Choosing to care for a child you know whose family is in crisis is a difficult choice, but knowing your options beforehand can make a world of difference.
Kinship and specific caregivers have two paths they can follow. One path is to become licensed in a process very similar to becoming a licensed foster parent; or the caregivers may seek full custody and guardianship. There is a different process for each path, as well as a difference in the resources that may be available to you. There is also a separate process if the child resides in another state.
If you’re considering caring for a child you know, here are some questions to ask yourself.