Foster homes are temporary places of residency for children in the foster care system. About half of America's foster children are pending reunion with their birth parents or guardian. However, about a quarter of foster children are waiting for adoptable homes. These homes are meant to be a supportive and safe place in the interim of their parents' process of correcting whatever led to the child's removal from the home.
The average child stays in the foster system over two years and are 9 years old. However, there are foster children ranging from a few months to 20 years old. Depending on state laws, a family can participate in a fost-adopt or legal risk foster program that matches an adoptive family with a foster child whose parents' rights are due to be terminated in the future. Foster children can sometimes bring tough home lives with them to the foster home and some foster parents may be required to help with the facilitation of a child and parent or social worker.
In these instances, the child and adoptive family have time to bond and grow with a sense of permanence that many foster children lack. It's a difficult balance for many, raising a child who may one day be returned to his or her birth family. Because of the emotional demands and for general purposes, foster homes will need to pass a home study. Those who are fostering a child with hopes to adopt in the future must pass a foster and adoption home study.