Back story.

We have a friend who is having troubles keeping her life together. I'm not aware of all the issues. However, they include an abusive husband (who has now been kicked out), financial troubles, and probably no shortage of poor life decisions on her part. We've heard through the grape-vine that her children may be removed from the house by the state.

At the same time (but until today entirely unrelated), my wife and I have been considering Adoption/Foster care. I've not been a fan of foster care (preferring adoption), but would be willing to make an exception in the case of helping out a friend. Losing your dad, and then your mom (even temporarily) is bad enough. At least staying with someone you know is better than with a complete stranger.

The question Assuming the kids will be put in to foster care for some period of time, how would (or could) this work? Does the system consider a friend offering to take them in?

I'll try to answer any clarifying questions I can, but at the moment this is theoretical (rumor).

Clarifying facts: We are in the US.

  • 4
    Probably more helpful if you add the state, as adoption/foster care laws are at the state level. I don't think any problem with keeping this here, we're not going to offer actual legal advice but that doesn't keep us from offering advice on things like this I don't think (such as help navigating bureaucracies).
    – Joe
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:35

3 Answers 3


Experience: former foster parent (certified in CA)

At least in my state, friends and family are considered first, and are not required to be officially certified (in fact, to my knowledge, many rules that apply to official foster parents do not apply to them). If you talk with the social worker for your friend, you should be able to put yourself in line to have the children placed with you.

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    Yes, speak with the social worker and your friend. If your friend would rather her children go to you than a random foster family, and the social worker believes you would be suitable guardians, it's possible this could get worked out before the state even officially takes the children away (unless the wheels have already been set in motion, in which case your best bet is just to try to make yourself "first in line").
    – Doktor J
    Apr 28, 2017 at 17:05

I've been a foster parent for over 10 years. Get certified/licensed in your jurisdiction. Once that happens, you would be given first priority for placement of your friends children because of your familiarity with the children. Of course jurisdictions differ from location to location but the general rule is do right by the kids.

Being a foster parent has been a rewarding experience and always remember there are so many kids who need placements. Every foster parent makes a difference!

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    Hi Sean -- I hope you'll stick around. We have all sorts here, but no one else has said they've fostered. (I do not know everything about everyone.) A different perspective is always cool.
    – WRX
    Apr 27, 2017 at 19:35
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    I second Sean's answer. I've been a foster parent for 6 years and in the process of adopting a sibling pair. You will definitely need to get licensed which requires x number of training hours, a background check and home study. It's not something that happens quickly. But it can be rewarded and you'd be surprised how many children are in limbo and need fostering in any given city.
    – Chimera
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:57
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    Great answer. I just wanted to add, when we did our foster parenting class, the people there for friends or family members outnumbered the people there for strangers by far. The media/pop culture stereotype is way off. Apr 28, 2017 at 16:12

Are you close enough with your friend to talk with them directly and ask them if they would like the help? I do not have personal experience, but I have a few good friends whose parents often would take in young people for short (or long) periods of time, always peers and/or friends of their own children. My friend Chris received a new roommate ("Sam") just a few weeks ago after a conversation his mother had with Sam's mother. I can understand how this could potentially feel like a difficult/impossible conversation to have, but if it is possible, it might be the clearest way.

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