Becoming a foster parent can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved, but there are other types of legal guardianship that can be rewarding, too!

Foster care, adoption and kinship care all share similar aspects, and the differences can be a confusing barrier to an otherwise life-changing experience. That’s why we’ve broken it down for you so that you can understand the differences between the three.

Foster Care

Foster care is a temporary legal arrangement that allows another family to take care of a child as if they were their own because their birth parents are unable to take care of them.

The foster child needs a stable home and family, and those who open their arms and homes to foster children can make a positive impact on their lives long-term. Some of these children come from difficult situations, and the love of a family can help to stabilize them and help them put their best foot forward.

The goal of foster care is to eventually reunite the child with their biological parents. However, in the case that it is impossible or decided by the courts, adoption is possible by the foster family.


We all have an idea of what adoption is, but legally, it is the permanent process of a child who is not raised by their birth parents becoming a full part of another family.

Unlike foster care, in which the child’s legal guardianship situation is temporary, adoption is a permanent legal process. Essentially, in the eyes of the law, the person who is not with their biological parents becomes the child of the adopting family.

This can have a positive effect on a foster child, as becoming part of a family can be a real step forward in their lives. However, it is important to note the legal methods and challenges that must be in place to adopt a child. First Home Care offers resources for families and children that help educate you on topics just like this to help make your decision to foster easier.

While foster care and kinship care are both temporary, they can lead to adoption down the road. Both relatives and non-related families may have an opportunity to adopt.

Kinship Care

Kinship care is legal guardianship by either relatives of the child or, in some cases, very close family friends add fictive kin. Relatives are usually the preferred destination for a child who needs a guardian, as the familiarity and the comfort found in living with a relative can minimize the trauma that can often come with separation.

While kinship care is preferred, don’t let that discourage you from becoming a foster parent. There are many children out there who need someone just like you to take a positive step forward in their lives.

Reach out to us today to become a foster parent

Contact us today to get started and make a difference. We are ready to guide you through the process, answer any questions you may have and connect you — and a potential foster child — to a more rewarding life.

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