Private Fostering and Child Placement Agencies: The Basics

Private Fostering helps with the community
Preparing to send her children back to school in the morning.

Many people have heard of foster care, but few know that there are public and private agencies serving foster families. A private foster care agency, also known as Child Placement Agency (CPA), is licensed by the state to provide services in conjunction with the state’s Department for Children and Families (DCF) or Department of Human Services (DHS). CPAs may be not-for-profit 501(c)(3) agencies, like ours. Further, they specialize in one kind of foster placement or supportive service for a particular population. Here are some ways of becoming a foster family with a private agency can differ from fostering with the state.

Continuum of Care for Youth and Families

Private foster care agencies may provide multiple services for both the children and families on their caseload. While the state typically requires a minimum amount of training in order to become a foster family, private agencies may provide additional education, training, and support. This support may include assistance with transportation or foster family support groups. Foster children served by private agencies may qualify for residential programs as they prepare to age out of the system. We provide residential services to support youth transitioning into adulthood through our Teens Reaching Adult Independent Living program. Also, we manage a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility. Being removed from one’s birth family is unsettling. Being able to go to the same agency for a variety of services can offer stability in this difficult time.

Additional Case Management

Foster families, as well, benefit from having many needs met by one agency. In some instances, both the state and the CPA will assign a case manager to a foster child. This means that foster families generally have more access to qualified professionals who can help them navigate the process and answer their questions. CPAs that focus on a particular population, such as infants, may have case managers.

Targeted Services

Some CPAs specialize in helping youth and families navigate specific kinds of foster care. For example, while the state serves all ages of children and youth through kinship care (foster placement with relatives), Tribal Foster Care, and many other kinds of placements, a private foster agency may specialize in only serving infants or children receiving psychiatric care. A private agency has the ability to narrow the scope of the children and families they serve. This means all their resources are focused on meeting a specific foster placement.

Learn More About Private Fostering

Regardless of which combinations of services best meet your needs, what matters most is that people like you want to open their hearts and homes to children in a traumatic time. We are here to answer your questions and help you on the journey of making a lasting, positive impact on a child’s life.