Once a parenting plan of your children is established, that parenting plan remains in effect until the court orders otherwise or until the children reach the age of 18. This plan can be established by court order, or by a mutual agreement between you and the other parent.
However, if your children go into foster care for any reason, your parenting plan will be affected.
Watching your children go into foster care can be incredibly difficult, especially if you and your partner are in the middle of a separation or divorce.
But, unfortunately, your children were placed into foster care for a reason. Child Welfare Legal Services and the court system determined that you and your co-parent are not presently able to appropriately care for your children possibly due to abuse, neglect, or another horrific event that took place.
As a result of that determination, an alternative childcare arrangement was required. Whatever issues the authorities determined were preventing the children from being effectively parented must be resolved before you are able to regain custody of your children. So you must work on these things diligently in order to see your children and to have them returned to you and your co-parent’s care.
If your children go into foster care, obviously the parenting plan between you and your co-parent is placed “on hold” while they are in care. The typical schedule of when the children stay at your house and your co-parent’s house is not possible anymore as the children will reside in foster care until Child Welfare Legal Services and the court decide otherwise.
The Child Welfare Legal Services, the foster family, and the Court will determine when and for how much time you are allowed to visit your children while they are in foster care. A case worker will establish a plan laying out a schedule of what, when, and where visits can take place.
The goal of foster care is to reunify children with their parents whenever possible. It is not meant to break the parent-child bond, but it is sometimes deemed necessary to meet the best interests of the children.
While your children are in foster care, you should remain in regular contact with the foster family. Working together will foster a relationship between everyone involved and will help your children adjust during this difficult time.
If and when your children are released back into your custody, the parenting plan is technically still in effect, but it is extremely likely that Child Welfare Legal Services and the court will review the parenting plan and determine if it should still apply or if a new plan is warranted. The court has the ultimate say in how your parenting plan is structured once your children are returned to the care of you and your co-parent.
If you find yourself in a situation where your children have been placed in foster care, you should contact a family law attorney for advice on what to do and how to get through this difficult time. They will work with you toward the goal of reunification, and they will be able to guide you through the legal process.
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