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Foster Care and Kinship Care

As of October 1, 2014 

Children receiving services through CYF 3,993
Children in out-of-home placement (total) 1,384
Children in foster care 1,123
Children placed with "kin" 696

Foster care is…

  • caring for a child until his or her parent(s) can resume full responsibility, or until another permanent home is found.
  • a commitment to help a child through a difficult period.
  • for people who can provide love and guidance and then let go.

Situations that lead to a child needing foster care include…

  • physical and sexual abuse
  • neglect or abandonment
  • physical or mental illness of a parent
  • death of parents
  • emotional or behavioral problems

Children who need foster care…

  • range in age from newborn to 18 years.
  • are of every race, religion and cultural background.
  • have different likes and dislikes, talents and skills.

If you want to be a foster parent

Foster parents are adults who…
  • are often related to or family friends of the child (kin)
  • are married or single
  • represent all races, ethnicities and religions
  • are willing to provide for all the needs of a child in care
  • have a desire to help a child succeed
  • are willing to accept a child, and possibly siblings, as a temporary member of their family
  • meet the eligibility requirements Adoption and Fostering Requirements 
The rewards of providing foster care include…
  • knowing that you have given a child comfort, guidance, security and a loving home.
  • a stipend to help defray the costs of caring for the child.
Local foster care agencies

Please contact one of the local agencies listed below if you are a loving, responsible adult who wants to provide temporary care to a child in the child welfare system.

Bair Foundation  
The Children’s Institute - Project Star  
Circle C Youth and Family Services
Every Child Inc.  
Families United Network, Inc.  
Greater Valley Community Services
Gwen's Girls   
Pressley Ridge 
Try-Again Homes 
Wesley Spectrum Services 

If you live in foster care

You have rights and responsibilities as a person living in an out-of-home placement.  Learn about them in  Know Your Rights - A Guide for Youth in Substitute Care by the Juvenile Law Center and KidsVoice

Related information

Since 1996, the number of children in Allegheny County in out-of-home placement has been reduced by more than half. The amount of time a child spends in out-of-home placement has been reduced by one third to about 16 months over the same time period.

Stepping Up for Children - what government and communities should do to support kinship families
Examines the challenges and rewards of providing kinship care and makes suggestions to improve the circumstances in kinship families to promote better outcomes for children. Allegheny County is spotlighted on page 11.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, May 2012 

Kinship Care in Pa. - Support for Families with Grandparents and Other Kin Raising Children
Published by The Pennsylvania State University, 2005 

CYF/PNC Subsidy Payment Debit Card Frequently Asked Questions
All subsidy payments for CYF placement services (foster care, adoption, permanent legal custodianship, and independent living) will be paid using a PNC Bank Debit Card beginning in August 2013. Learn more about this by reviewing the list of FAQs above.  

My Life: Stories from Youth in Allegheny County’s Child Welfare System
Young adults who live in foster care face many challenges, particularly as they transition from out-of-home placement to independence. Given the opportunity, youth in the child welfare system offer great insights about how their lives were shaped by the services they received and by the absence of needed services. DHS tapped into this valuable resource and created My Life.

What's Happening in Dependency Court - An Activity Book for Children Going to Court in Pennsylvania
Young children who are removed from their birth families due to abuse or neglect can find helpful information in this age-appropirate booklet.  Foster and kinship parents may find it a useful tool to help children understand what is happening in their lives. Available as a pdf and for order on the Pa. Office of Children and Families in the Courts website