The U.S. foster care system serves as intermittent homes for half a million children between the ages of 0 and 20 years. These children come into foster care by voluntary termination or the pending involuntary termination of their parents' parental rights. A majority of foster children have been taken from their homes due to government intervention, meaning many of them have experienced some form of neglect or abuse. Foster children may have a strong distrust of adults from this experience and can have trouble adjusting to a new household without a sense of normalcy.
About half of foster care children are in a foster home while pending a reunification with their biological parents. About a quarter of foster children are available for adoption, however, this can be a process that takes up to two years waiting for the parents' rights are terminated. Fortunately, some states have legal risk programs that help match children that the state think will be adoptable soon with foster parents that want to adopt.
A pro of foster care is that a family and child will have a chance to acclimate themselves to one another and if the child does become available for adoption, then he or she may be adopted by the foster family without much of a hitch. Another con is that there are fewer children available for adoption than need a home. This means a foster parent will need to accept that the child is not being placed permanently with the family.