Foster Parenting in Pennsylvania

If you are considering becoming a foster parent, you may have a lot of questions. Regulations will vary from state to state, so make sure you know what is going on within your state before you dive in. Foster parenting can be rewarding, and can change the life of a child that may have been abused or has no family to care for them. Foster parenting is not always easy, but is definitely a gift worth giving.

Foster care is often considered to be temporary, but can lead to adoption is certain situations. In the state of Pennsylvania, there are thousands of kids in the foster care system. New families are always needed and appreciated.

Why Are Foster Parents Needed

Many times, children in need of foster care are victims of neglect or abuse. Their family may simply not be willing, or able, to care for them, and hope the situation will change in the short term. The children are sometimes still in contact with their families, which can be a stressful situation for the foster parents.

Short Term and Long Term

Some children in the state of Pennsylvania are placed in emergency foster care for up to 72 hours. After the initial 72-hour period, a hearing must take place to decide if the child will return home or remain in foster care.

While a child is in foster care, they will remain in touch with their family. This can be as often as, or more frequently than, twice a month. When the foster care is considered temporary, it is important for the natural family to maintain contact.

Responsibilities of A Foster Family

A foster child must be treated exactly as you would treat your own children. You must discipline them, offer them support, and meet all other basic emotional needs. They must see the child is in school, receives medical and dental treatments, and has proper meals and clothing.

Most importantly, a foster parent must do their best to remain positive and to respect the child’s family, no matter what the situation. A foster child will naturally miss their family, and a foster parent must be mindful and respectful of these feelings, no matter how they really feel about the situation.

Requirements To Be a Foster Parent

Potential foster parents in Pennsylvania must undergo some training. They must also pass Act 33 clearances. They must be willing and able to report in regularly with the agency in charge, and be willing to attend mandatory training each year. Foster parents in PA are not allowed to use physical punishments with foster children, and must be willing to be completely open minded in all situations.


The state of PA maintains that you should be prepared for a yearly evaluation of your home. They want to be sure you are up to regulation, there are no more than six children total in your home, and that everyone’s needs are being met. Each child must have their own bed and their own belongings, be in school, and be receiving all necessary medical treatments. They will also want to know you have proper license, insurance, and registration on any vehicle you use to transport your foster children.

Final Thoughts

Don’t go into foster care without careful thought, because it can be a very emotional experience for all involved. However, if you have the heart to do so, you should know you could be making a huge difference in the lives of the children who come into your home.

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