Is Your Heart Calling You to Foster Care? What You Need to Know

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This article by Amanda Marino, Attorney at Law is sponsored by Martin Pringle Law Firm.

For some, foster care is a calling.  It is a way to serve children and your community and make a direct impact on people’s lives, while also providing the opportunity to help a particular child or children in a multitude of ways.  

Have you had a calling for foster care, but don’t know where to start?  Follow along as I walk you through the various types of foster care, as well as other ways you can have a lasting impact on the life of a child.

Often, foster care will lead to brief moments of peace for children who have just been removed from their home. Others provide a loving home while the children adjust to their current circumstances, allowing their family to strengthen. And for some, their foster care placement ends in adoption. Through fostering, biological parents are given the opportunity for mentorship, to maintain or enhance the family bond, and support as they work toward a goal of reintegration.  

There are four types of foster care:

  • Respite Care
  • Short-term Care
  • Long-term Care,
  • Emergency Placement.  

There is also the option of adoption through foster care.  

Respite Care

Respite Care provides a break for foster care placements.   This may include requests for a long-day so the foster parent can run kid-free errands or attend a family event, a long weekend for self-care, or a week-long stay.  Many times, foster parents or grandparents who are providing respite care have no approved resource to assist them or give them a break.  This is a much-needed resource for those families.  This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Short-term Care

Short-term care provides a foster home for children who are awaiting reintegration as their parents work to complete court orders.  They also provide homes for children who are waiting for an adoptive resource.  Short-term care is not a foster to adopt situation.  This may be a good fit for a family who wants to support and nurture a child through a difficult time in their life, but not commit to a long-term adoption.  This also provides an opportunity to mentor and assist the biological family and fostering a relationship with the child.

Long-term Care

Long-term care provides a foster home for children who are awaiting reintegration, but are also open to adoption if the parents fail to achieve reintegration.  Long-term care can be a difficult option for some families, as they become very bonded to the children and the outcome is not always adoption.  Helping a biological family long-term or becoming life-long extended family to a child are both rewarding and necessary part of foster care.  Many foster parents find ways to support and mentor the biological family on their path to reintegration and remain a part of the child’s life.

Emergency Placement

This is foster care placement that is very brief.  Placement occurs when the children are placed in police protective custody.  This requires flexibility, as this type of placement comes with no advanced notice or forewarning.  When children are placed in police protective custody, they are taken to the Wichita Children’s Home.  They are placed in an emergency foster care placement from there, usually within 24 hours.  These children remain in the emergency placement until a short-term, long-term or family placement is found.

Adoption from Foster Care

Finally, there are opportunities to adopt from foster care without having first fostered the child.  That said, there are still requirements.  Many times, this also requires pre-placement visits, adjustment periods, and a waiting period.  Foster care adoptions move at a slower pace than private adoptions, but are offered many resources and support.  Adoption from foster care also provides the opportunity to adopt a child who has above-average needs or has experienced trauma.  A forever home is the most loving gift for a child.

Does one of these options seem like the right fit for your family?  Here’s are a few of the requirements:

  • Pass a KBI and child abuse background check
  • Be over the age of 21
  • You must own or rent a home
  • You must meet the income guidelines allowing you to provide for additional children in your home
  • You are expected to provide care in safe, loving, and structured environment
  • You are expected to be emotionally able to handle children who have been abused, neglected or experienced trauma

Foster Care requires specific training and licensing.  There are several licensing agencies in Kansas, including, but not limited to:

  • St. Francis Ministries
  • Kansas Children’s Service League
  • KVC
  • Pathway Family Services
  • Cornerstones of Care

Finally, bring a big heart.  You will need the room for all the love!


Amanda Marino has committed her entire legal career working toward ensuring positive outcomes for the children, always focusing on the child’s best interest. Prior to joining Martin Pringle’s Adoption team, Amanda spent 15 years in the District Attorney’s Office with 12 years representing the State of Kansas in Child in Need of Care (CINC) matters. In that role, Amanda had the unique opportunity to build relationships with families who adopted through the foster care system which ultimately inspired her to grow her law practice in the adoption and surrogacy arena. Amanda’s love for children extends far beyond her legal career. In her spare time, you will find Amanda coaching basketball and softball, as well as serving as Den Leader for two girl dens in Cub Scout Pack 515. Amanda received her undergraduate degree from Oklahoma City University and completed her law degree at the University of Kansas School of Law. Amanda is admitted to practice in Kansas and focuses her career on adoption, surrogacy law & family law.

1 COMMENT

  1. Correction, you don’t have to have a single family house – apartments and duplexes work too!
    Also, don’t get paralyzed choosing an agency – current foster families from various agencies have told me they have no trouble getting placements. Find an agency that supports its families well. DCCCA is one highly reviewed agency in the Wichita are but there are others as well. Current foster families, what agencies do you like?

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