“Foster care” refers to any situation arranged by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). A private home, a group home, or a group institution, such as a residential treatment center, can be “foster care.” Sometimes a parent or guardian decides that it is necessary, or at least better, for his or her child to live someplace other than home. One example is a teenager who consistently gets into trouble; another might be when a child needs special treatment for behavior problems. In those situations, one option is to place the child in foster care. When a child enters foster care as ordered by a judge, it is referred to as a “placement.” When a parent, rather than a judge, makes the decision to place the child, it is called “Voluntary Placement.” The paper the parent signs to place the child is called a “Voluntary Placement Agreement.”

The foster parents with whom a child is placed may be relatives of the child. The child may also be placed in a group home. However, if the child is to remain in foster care for longer than 30 days, the social services agency responsible for supervising the child’s foster care must file an L petition in Family Court. This can be done in any borough within New York City or in Nassau County and Suffolk County.

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