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Why Become a Caregiver
Foster mom and son playing outside

On any given day in Ohio, nearly 16,000 children are being cared for away from their parents. About 4,000 of those children are placed with a relative or family friend.  More than 9,200 of them are living with foster parents.  The rest of them are in residential care or another placement setting.

Kinship care is the temporary or permanent care of a child with a relative or someone else who is close to the child or the family.  The kinship caregiver takes over the full-time care of the child when the child’s parents are unable to meet their needs. Kinship care includes those relationships established through an informal arrangement, a legal custody or guardianship order, a relative foster care placement or even an adoption. Regardless of the type of kinship care arrangement, the kinship caregivers’ commitment to the children in their care is a courageous, selfless, and life-changing decision.

Visit the kinship care section of the site to learn more about kin and find available resources.

When children can’t safely stay in their own homes, and there isn’t a relative or family friend who can care for them outside of the child welfare system, they often must come into the custody of a children services agency and placed into a foster home.

Foster care is meant to be temporary, but its impact can last a lifetime.  Ohio has more than 6,000 foster parents who open their hearts and homes to children during a very difficult time.  Foster parents often work with birth family members as part of the team of support helping the children return home.  When families can’t address the concerns that made the placement necessary, then the agency and court look for permanent options, such as adoption or giving legal custody to a kinship caregiver. 

Many times, the foster parents who have been caring for children in those situations will decide to adopt them. When this doesn’t happen, other adoptive families are needed.

Because of this and the impact of the ongoing opioid epidemic, we are in constant need of new foster and adoptive parents. 

More than 2,600 children in Ohio are waiting to be adopted. More than 1,000 of them are teenagers.  Many of them are part of a sibling group.  Every effort is made to keep siblings together because every sibling group deserves the chance to grow up together.

If you’re considering taking on the challenges and rewards of being a foster or adoptive parent, learn more about the difference between foster care and adoption here