PA Children, Youth & Family Services
Make a difference in the life of a child
Each day, children and youth are displaced from their homes – sometimes because of abuse and neglect, other times because parents temporarily cannot care for them. Since 1985, NET Foster Care and Permanency Services has helped thousands of children and teenagers in Southeastern Pennsylvania find safe, loving homes. As we’ve grown and expanded our services, the need for foster care, adoptive parents and permanent legal custodians has also grown. We work with foster and adoptive parents during the family assessment process to determine the type of child best suited to the family. Some families opt to participate in treatment-level foster care for children and youth with specialized behavioral health needs. These foster parents receive specialized training and more intense support from NET.
Applicants, who can be single or married, must meet these minimum requirements:
- Be at least 21 years of age, be in good health and free of contagious diseases
- Have a safe home that can accommodate a child or children
- Pass screening requirements related to child abuse and criminal history clearances
- Participate in all pre-service training
- Be able to complete a family assessment process, and
- Genuinely enjoy and care about children.
While foster and adoptive parents do receive a subsidy to cover the cost of basic care, they must also have an independent steady source of income. A state-funded HMO covers the child’s medical expenses. Foster and adoptive parents open their homes and hearts to children in need of care, a task that is both rewarding and challenging. If you feel that you and your family have something to offer a child in need, consider the challenge.
Foster Care, Adoption and Child Welfare
Foster/kinship care is a placement service for children who cannot live with their biological parents due to abuse/neglect. Ideally, children are placed with relatives or individuals who play a significant role in their lives. If there is not an appropriate kinship caregiver available, children will be placed in foster care. Kinship caregivers are required to go through the same screening and training process as foster parents.
Described below are the three types of foster/kinship care services that NET provides in the Greater Philadelphia area to dependent children under the supervision of Philadelphia Department of Human Services. All referrals for dependent foster care are made by the Central Referral Unit (CRU) of Philadelphia Department of Human Services.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent please call 215.408.4967 for more information.
General Foster/Kinship Care
General foster/kinship care serves children and youth ages 0 to 21. Case management services are provided to the children/youth, their families, and foster/kinship parents. The services focus on ensuring the child’s safety while in foster/kinship care, securing appropriate services to promote the child’s well being (e.g. early intervention services or therapy), and facilitating the child’s permanent living arrangement. The ideal goal is for children to reunify with their biological parents. If that is not feasible, other permanent options are explored with the child’s team, such as adoption, permanent legal custodianship or independent living (for older youth). Youth in foster care receive life skills services to help them prepare for self-sufficiency.
Treatment Foster/Kinship Care
Treatment-level foster care services are provided to children and youth with specialized behavioral health needs. Typically, these children are stepping down from psychiatric hospitals or residential treatment facilities. The primary objective of treatment foster care is to provide youth with specialized care in the least restrictive setting, which is in the community and in a family. These enhanced supports are provided in the foster/kinship home, along with the general-level foster care services described above.
Treatment foster parents and case managers receive additional training specific to this population and work in partnership with a behavioral health team to ensure that the child or youth’s needs are met. Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) determines a child/youth’s eligibility for treatment-level foster care.
Mother/Baby Foster/Kinship Care
Mother/baby foster care services are provided to pregnant teens and teen mothers who are parenting young children. The teen and baby both receive the case management services available to children in general foster care. Enhanced services teach the teen parenting skills and family planning, and make an assessment for postpartum depression.
Adoption, Permanency, and Post-Permanency Services
NET is a Statewide Adoption Network (SWAN) affiliate agency providing a continuum of services to children who are not reunifying with their biological parents and to families interested in becoming a permanent resource to children — either through adoption or permanent legal custodianship.
If you are interested in becoming an adoptive parent, please call 215.408.4967 for more information.
Family Preparation and Family Profile
NET provides family preparation services and completes family profiles (home studies) on families interested in adopting a child in the child welfare system. The family preparation service, a required component of a family profile, includes a series of trainings to help the family understand the concept of permanency within the child welfare system and what to expect when adopting a child. Once the family profile has been completed, if the family is not yet matched with a pre-adoptive child, NET engages in recruitment activities to help match the family with a child or children. After the match is made, NET provides the required services through to finalization.
Child Prep services prepares dependent children and youth in out-of-home placements for permanency and prepare youth for self-sufficiency. Permanency Specialists help children and youth work through issues of grief and loss to help them get ready for their next permanent living arrangement, whether it is through adoption or permanent legal custodianship. A major part of process involves assisting children in creating their own Life Book. These services are accessible only through a referral from the Philadelphia Department of Human Services or any of the surrounding counties’ Office of Children and Youth.
Child-Specific Recruitment (CSR) is a service targeted to dependent children and youth-in-out-of-home placements that do not have a permanent family. To help match a child to a pre-adoptive family, NET engages in recruitment activities, including making flyers, taking children to matching events, and participating in initiatives like Wednesday’s Child, a weekly TV feature on NBC10. This service is only accessible through a referral from Philadelphia Department of Human Services or any of the surrounding counties’ Office of Children and Youth.
After adoption or permanent legal custody is finalized, NET provides families with case management and respite services. Permanency Specialists help families access appropriate services, such as special education or behavioral health services. Respite can be provided whereby the child is placed in a certified home — either in a foster home or with an individual identified by the family who is willing to go through training. Respite care providers are reimbursed. Families can self-refer for this service by contacting DIAKON-SWAN’s hotline at 800.860.0703.