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How long to foster a child before you legally become kin to that child?

Lazarus52980

Senior member
Sep 14, 2010
615
0
71
Does anyone know how long you need to have a child in foster care in your home before you legally become that child's kin? I have been searching the web but I can't seem to find it spelled out anywhere...
 

allisolm

Elite Member
Administrator
Jan 2, 2001
23,470
1,411
136
Not quite sure what you're asking. You will never legally become that child's kin unless you legally adopt them.
 

Lazarus52980

Senior member
Sep 14, 2010
615
0
71
You will never become their "next of kin" but that is not the same thing as I am asking. When trying to decide where to place a child if their parents rights are terminated, the do a "kinship search". At some point, the foster parent is legally kin with regard to the kinship search. I just can't figure out when...
 

Phynaz

Lifer
Mar 13, 2006
10,143
816
126
Allisolm is correct. You never become kin to a foster child. An orphan would never be placed with foster parents as an adoption unless they applied.

There's no automatic, "You're next of kin, here's your kid" for foster parents.
 

Lazarus52980

Senior member
Sep 14, 2010
615
0
71
I must be doing a bad job of explaining this, since we are having a misunderstanding of terms;

Next of kin: The person who becomes the legal guardian of a child when their current parent/guardian die. Normally an uncle, grand parent, etc.

Kin (as in kinship): Anyone who is considered to have a close relationship with a child. All blood relatives are included out to (I think) 3 levels, but also close friends of the family and (eventually) foster parents. This is the group of people that are considered for possible adoption of children whose parents have not died, but have had their rights terminated against their will.
 

D1gger

Diamond Member
Oct 3, 2004
5,412
2
76
I think what you are referring to is Fictive Kinship, which is a sociological concept. There can be legal rights that go along with that kinship, but I have never heard of a set time frame for establishment of these rights.
 

Hugo Drax

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2011
5,649
47
91
Does anyone know how long you need to have a child in foster care in your home before you legally become that child's kin? I have been searching the web but I can't seem to find it spelled out anywhere...
The "Taxpayer" is next of kin. Unless you fill out the transfer paperwork, the next of Kin will always be the State.
 

freeway

Senior member
Sep 11, 2000
384
0
71
I don't think there is a hard and fast rule and I am sure it varies by state. Where I practice the kinship label is given to family and friends and anyone who really has some bond or connection to a family. For example I had a child reunified with parents several months after placement in a foster home. Child maintained contact with the foster family for years and when mom messed up he returned to the former "foster parents" as a kinship placement. If you have a foster care child in placement for 6 months in some jurisdictions that gives you the option of appealing a removal from your home. I don't think there are any time limits like that for making you a kinship provider. This is not legal advice and I don't know where you live, so if you really need to know, contact an attorney who practices family/dependency law.


Does anyone know how long you need to have a child in foster care in your home before you legally become that child's kin? I have been searching the web but I can't seem to find it spelled out anywhere...
 

Lazarus52980

Senior member
Sep 14, 2010
615
0
71
I don't think there is a hard and fast rule and I am sure it varies by state. Where I practice the kinship label is given to family and friends and anyone who really has some bond or connection to a family. For example I had a child reunified with parents several months after placement in a foster home. Child maintained contact with the foster family for years and when mom messed up he returned to the former "foster parents" as a kinship placement. If you have a foster care child in placement for 6 months in some jurisdictions that gives you the option of appealing a removal from your home. I don't think there are any time limits like that for making you a kinship provider. This is not legal advice and I don't know where you live, so if you really need to know, contact an attorney who practices family/dependency law.
Thank you for the info. 6 months was what I had heard over the years, but I was never able to find where it is actually put in statues for my state (Minnesota). I have court tomorrow and will (hopefully) be added as a party to the case, but will have to be my own lawyer...
 

todpod

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2001
1,275
0
76
In PA after 6 months, a foster parent has legal standing and can challenge an agency moving a child out of their home, unless its court ordered. Other then that its the courts desecration as to whether to leave a foster child in a foster home or move them with kin. I have seen them move a child to kin after they have been in a foster home since birth after over a year. Its going to be state specific how this is handled.
 

Lazarus52980

Senior member
Sep 14, 2010
615
0
71
Mine is a pretty interesting situation. The parents hired an adoption agency to find a home for the child, because they don't like us and don't have ANY kin at all. Tomorrow we find out if the court will allow them to sign a voluntary TPR so the kids will go to that couple instead of us (as the only "potential" kin). I am intending to ask to be made a party to try to intervene.
 

todpod

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2001
1,275
0
76
You could be asking for a bonding assessment, to give the court information on the bond you have with the child as opposed to the other couple. With out other kin you should have the inside track I would think. I don't think our court would even entertain the idea of parents going out and finding adoptive families if their kids were in our custody (I work in child welfare).
 

Lazarus52980

Senior member
Sep 14, 2010
615
0
71
Yeah, it is a really odd situation for everyone, since no one has ever heard of it happening before.

The couple from the adoption agency has never even seen her, let alone have any bond with her... Yet the parents have already signed a voluntary TPR form for them, and they have a motion in court tomorrow to be made a party to the case, and then to take custody of her that day.

Seems insane to me, but I know it will be all on the judge.


BTW, I have never heard of a "bonding assessment". How does that work?

For the record, the child is under a year, and we picked her up from the hospital right after she was born, so she has known no other home.
 
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TheAdvocate

Platinum Member
Mar 7, 2005
2,563
7
81
Again, not legal advice - please consult an attonery in your jurisdiction.

I'm not familiar with this kinship concept you are discussing. It sounds like a preference, at most. In general, you have no legal custodial rights over the natural parents. Any rights you would have would be granted by the courts via adoption, guardian ad litem, etc. If the birth parents are relinquishing their rights, the court will hold a best interest based placement hearing for the child, and the wishes of the parents will likely be given considerable weight, unless there are underlying issues with their character/capacity, and/or if the child is old/mature enough to state and reasonably support a preference.
 

todpod

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2001
1,275
0
76
When we have a bonding assessment done a licensed psychologist comes in and watches the interaction between the adults and the child. They also interview the adults and children if age appropriate and get their input. The Dr then makes a determination about whats in the best interests of the child. They are not cheap they last 2 we have had done were btw $1500 and $2000. Our court take a lot of stock in them. Our were done with the foster parents and the bio-parents. If they are good at it they come up with some valuable stuff and incite.

From my perspective this is a no brainer, the agency who place the child should be fighting most of this battle, at this point it should be about the best interest of the child and not about what the parents want. I encourage you and your wife (I assume your wife, all you said was we) to speak in court and tell the court about the child future with you and your family.
 

Lazarus52980

Senior member
Sep 14, 2010
615
0
71
When we have a bonding assessment done a licensed psychologist comes in and watches the interaction between the adults and the child. They also interview the adults and children if age appropriate and get their input. The Dr then makes a determination about whats in the best interests of the child. They are not cheap they last 2 we have had done were btw $1500 and $2000. Our court take a lot of stock in them. Our were done with the foster parents and the bio-parents. If they are good at it they come up with some valuable stuff and incite.

From my perspective this is a no brainer, the agency who place the child should be fighting most of this battle, at this point it should be about the best interest of the child and not about what the parents want. I encourage you and your wife (I assume your wife, all you said was we) to speak in court and tell the court about the child future with you and your family.
Thank you for the information and encouragement. My wife will be at home with the children tomorrow, and I will be the one at court. The GAL seems to be on their side for some reason, so it will be a bit of a fight.
 

todpod

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2001
1,275
0
76
Sometimes those GAL's go off the wrong direction. If you have other children definitely play up the relationship the child has with your children, even more reason for a bonding assessment. I can't see for the life of me how that is a better place for the child. If it were a kinship move I could see it but its not.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
7,735
961
126
Does anyone know how long you need to have a child in foster care in your home before you legally become that child's kin? I have been searching the web but I can't seem to find it spelled out anywhere...
The moment you get it pregnant, ot the moment it gets you pregnant.
 

alkemyst

No Lifer
Feb 13, 2001
83,981
15
81
OP, as many have stated; this is not a federal blanket but something decided (if it's even acknowledged) at a State and even more likely County level. You will have to ask your local court house and see if they have similar cases. You will more than likely have to do your own research, they will just point you to the place to look.
 

Lazarus52980

Senior member
Sep 14, 2010
615
0
71
Well, we lost. The judge found that there is no statute of limitations on when a parent can put their child up for adoption and sign away their legal rights (in spite of the objections from the county).
 

thomsbrain

Lifer
Dec 4, 2001
18,149
1
0
Bummer.

In CA, I'm pretty sure foster parents have essentially zero rights until the parents' rights are fully terminated (including appeals) AND the foster parent goes through the entire adoption process, which can take a year. Many foster parents opt to forgo adoption because it's a hassle and remaining a foster parent means they can still get paid.

The flip side of that is that as long as you are a foster parent, you can have the kid removed from your home with just 7 days notice, regardless of how long they have been with you. So the kids have no more sense of security than do the foster parents.

The foster system is a well-oiled factory for attachment disorders. :(
 

alkemyst

No Lifer
Feb 13, 2001
83,981
15
81
Even though the child is very young, you should be proud you gave the kid a place of love for the time you could. Lots of kids don't even get that.
QFT, that's got to be the end goal. The child will know who the "real parent" is even if the real parent wants to fight that to the bone.
 

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