January 18th, 2008
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This is a response to a comment left on the post “What Happens if Biological Parents Don’t Work Their Plan?” I will share my experiences, and others that are also involved in foster care that I know. Granted, I do realize that every case is very different.

Deb Donatti’s comment was “I am wondering how often the parents get the kids back, only to have them land back in foster care quickly again, and do they start that count/ allowed time to work on a plan, all over each time?”

The majority of the foster children are not new to the Child Welfare system. Some families have numerous investigations and also some are given assistance to help the parents become able to parent their children. A lot of foster children have endured multiple kinship placements, then to move on to foster care or even some children do make it back to their biological homes only to land back into foster care once again.


A lot of biological parents that have lost children to foster care will also continue having children only to have them placed into foster care. I cannot remember one foster child that I have fostered that their biological parents, siblings, or the child herself has not been involved in foster care before the child was placed with me.

Each time the child returns home, and then comes back into foster care, the biological parent’s time starts over (meaning the time frame that they have to work their plan to get their children back). Now the funny thing is that if their services that they worked on or completed, psychological evaluation, counseling, etc. in most cases have been within a 12 month period then it is possible to carry these over. Also, if the biological parents’ rights have been terminated to a child or children, but the biological mother has a baby within the 12 month period then the services that she did work on the case of her other children can be used.

I fostered an infant that her biological mother had lost two of her children a few months before she had her baby. The biological mother had undergone a psychological evaluation when she was involved in the case of losing her first two children and Child Welfare allowed that psychological report to be used in the case of her infant. I voiced great concern since this evaluation was done before she lost all rights to two of her children and then a few short months later had another baby. I can only imagine how it would affect a mother to go through these traumatic events and cannot believe it would not affect her mental state.

This is also why some foster children ended up spending years being bounced in and out of foster care. This also adds greatly to the issues that some foster children will spend their lives struggling with.

I will address the other comments next.

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7 Responses to “How Often Do Foster Children Come Back Into Care?”

  1. Julia Fuller says:

    In Michigan, the parents don’t automatically get 12 months when children re-enter foster care. Infact, if the child is returning to care, the Protective Service worker can enter a request for termination at the adjudication hearing. If the ps worker doesn’t do that, there is still an eccelerated plan, usually about 6 monhts. Again, it depends on individual cirumstances.

  2. Lanette says:

    Thanks for sharing information on Michigan foster care.


  3. Kelly says:

    The system is so beyond screwed up it is unreal.

    One birth mother actually told a social worker:

    “I’m going to keep having kids until you let me keep one.”

    Now there’s a plan for you. Sheesh.

  4. waitinginca says:

    My husband and I are involved in the Fost Adopt program and since last October have yet to even meet a proespective child to be placed with us. We are very committed to adopting, but may eventually have to move on to an independent sort of adoption if we don’t get anywhere by the end of this year. The foster system here in California is very screweed up in many ways and I cannot even comprehend why so many chances are given to the biological parents time and time again. We are very frustrated.

  5. Chromesthesia says:

    I cannot understand why this system hasn’t been reformed yet.

  6. henderfive says:

    I was a kinship parent for almost years. We got him at birth and then at 20 months the court decided to return him to his bio mom. I have a bad feeling he will return to foster care again. I am so sad to hear this could go on for years when we were willing to adopt and give him a wonderful home. How can the foster system say they are only doing what is best for the child and then sleep at night.

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