Family foster care is an essential service for children and their families who have been separated due to the tragedy of child abuse, neglect, or dependency. When children have been separated from their families, it is the responsibility of the child welfare team to respond to the needs of the children and their families by means including (i) providing protection and nurture to children in a safe, healthy environment; (ii) meeting the developmental and emotional needs of the children, including maintaining and promoting a child’s emotional attachment to his or her own family; (iii) protecting and promoting the child’s cultural identity and heritage; and (iv) working toward permanency for children by connecting them to safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime, preferably with their own family.
     Foster parents are an essential part of and fulfill an integral role on the child welfare team along with children in care who are old enough to participate in planning and services, parents of children in care, caseworkers, and other professionals serving the child and family. By providing care for children and supporting the attachment of children to their families in a manner sensitive to each child’s and family’s unique needs, the foster parent serves the child, the family, and the community.

Terms Used In Illinois Compiled Statutes 20 ILCS 520/1-5

  • Attachment: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • State: when applied to different parts of the United States, may be construed to include the District of Columbia and the several territories, and the words "United States" may be construed to include the said district and territories. See Illinois Compiled Statutes 5 ILCS 70/1.14

     In order to successfully fulfill their role on the professional child welfare team, foster parents must be committed to the goal of the child welfare program and must provide care to children and promote the best interests of the children and families served. In order to achieve this goal, foster parents must understand and be sensitive to issues of culture, ethnicity, religion, and children’s connectedness with their families and must maintain a level of care, conduct, and demeanor that is consistent with the high professional ethics demanded of all other members of the child welfare team.
     The General Assembly finds that there is a need to establish public policy regarding the role of foster parents. The General Assembly establishes this statement of foster parents’ rights and responsibilities, which shall apply to all foster parents in the State of Illinois, whether supervised by the Department of Children and Family Services or by another agency under contract to the Department of Children and Family Services to provide foster care services.