Children enter foster care for a number of reasons: neglect and/or physical or sexual abuse. In some circumstances, biological parents are unable to adequately provide for their children. In other cases, children are deemed to be at considerable risk of harm by staying with their biological parents. The children that enter Our Children’s Homestead almost always come into foster care with a combination of these circumstances.
How is OCH Different?
Permanency drives foster care at Our Children’s Homestead. Every child deserves a family and a place to call home.
Our goal is to provide a child with lasting connections with a family. Our hope is to return OCH children to their biological families. If reunion with parents is not possible, we strive to find a family member who can provide a home while the child remains a part of a foster family. Whatever the case, we strive to keep siblings together in foster care or commit to provide regular visitation with siblings who are not living together.
Options for Lifetime Relationships:
Children return to the care of their birth parents after the family has successfully completed services and addressed the issues which brought them to the attention of DCFS. OCH may stay involved to support the families and ensure that children are protected and nurtured. The birth parents resume all parental responsibilities.
Since 1995, Our Children’s Homestead has accomplished well over 100 adoptions of children into loving foster care families. Adoption may be by the foster parents, kin, or a new family. Adoption transfers custody from DCFS to the adoptive parents and transfers all parental rights permanently to the new parents. The birth parents’ rights are terminated. The adoptive parents are financially and legally responsible for the children, although adoption subsidies may be available. Children have the same status as if they were born into the family.
Guardianship transfers custody from DCFS to the guardians and transfers most parental rights and responsibilities to the guardians. Foster parents, kin, or a new family may assume guardianship. Birth parents’ rights do not need to be terminated by guardianship. The guardians are financially and legally responsible for the children, but subsidies are available. The birth parents or others can contest guardianships, and the guardians can ask for revocation of the guardianship.
Independence is a goal chosen for youths who will remain in the custody of DCFS until emancipation. OCH is responsible to develop plans to prepare these young people to learn skills necessary to function independently as adults.