Jay & Campbell

Parent Learning

Do I need to take foster parent classes to care for a child in foster care?

If you know a child in foster care, you do not need to take foster parent classes. You may ask the court to give you custody as a relative or non-relative caregiver.

The other day we spoke with a woman who was told by DCF that before she could ask the dependency judge for custody of her grandchild, she had to take the full course of foster parent training classes and get an approved home study. 

By the time the agency got around to finalizing her home study, the baby had been in a foster home for 6 months and the foster care agency insisted the baby was too bonded to the foster parents, who wanted to adopt the child.

The grandmother then hired a lawyer, but it was too late. The agency, having chosen a side, defended their position, vilified the grandmother and insisted she was lying about her diligent efforts to get custody. The judge, who sees the agency every day in court, believed them and ruled against the grandmother. Despite being broken-hearted and realizing the injustice, an appeal is not financially feasible for her.

What was her mistake? Sadly, it was to not get an opinion outside the Department from the beginning. Our firm’s attorneys have worked for the Department and have also been foster parents. We are the first to say that there are many wonderful people in the foster care system who love children and work diligently for justice. Because of the nature of bureaucracies, however, the instinct is sometimes to double down and obfuscate instances where there have been miscommunications, misinformation or misunderstandings.

The Department of Children and Families has attorneys, foster children have attorneys, parents charged with abuse have attorneys, and, if you are involved in a foster care case as a caregiver or prospective adoptive parent, you may want to explore getting an attorney as well.

Jay & Campbell is a strong advocate for caregivers and will help you navigate the foster care system. To learn more, you may schedule a free consultation or call our offices 24/7 at 844-624-2361.