Date of this version
foster care, voluntary foster care agreements, community-based services, disabilities
A voluntary foster care placement (sometimes referred to as a voluntary placement agreement) is an agreement, entered into without court involvement, between a state or county child welfare agency and a child's parents to place a child into out-of-home placement. When a child enters foster care through this type of placement, state and federal programs that cover children who enter child welfare due to a court order become the custodians of the voluntarily-placed-child's placement, care, and supervision. In this cross-sectional, exploratory study, data from the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System (AFCARS) was used to examine the characteristics and experiences of children who enter foster care through a voluntary foster care agreement, and to compare them with those of children who enter foster care through a court order. Findings indicate that children who are placed through a voluntary placement agreement differ from children who enter through a court order in their personal characteristics, as well as in their placement settings, length of placement, and manner of discharge from foster care. This study provides a baseline for future research into this area of child welfare practice.
Children and Youth Services Review