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Foster Care

Foster Care in Weld County

Weld County is seeking dedicated families willing to offer children and youth in difficult circumstances a safe, stable and supportive home. Opening your heart and home to a child, teen or sibling group in foster care makes a positive, life-long impact.

Interested in becoming a foster family?

From toddlers to teenagers, our young people in foster care offer you and your family a unique and rewarding opportunity. Celebrate their strengths and assist them in overcoming their obstacles. Help keep brothers and sisters together or give children with disabilities and special needs the care they deserve.

If you have love to share and room to offer, you can help children and teens in challenging situations grow, learn and thrive. As a foster parent, you will work closely with others to help the child or teen in your care achieve his or her full potential and recognize a future full of hope.

What are our current needs?

Although we're always recruiting loving families for our young people in foster care, our most pressing needs currently are:

  • Families to care for teenagers
  • Families to care for sibling groups
  • Families to care for children with higher needs (complex mental health needs, medically fragile and offense-specific)

Who can be a Weld County foster parent?

We understand that love and families come in many different shapes and sizes. Whether you’re single, married, widowed or divorced, currently with or without children, homeowner or renter, you can be a foster parent for Weld County. Our focus is to find foster families who are patient, loving and able to provide a safe, nurturing home.

Basic requirements:

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
  • Financially stable (your family’s present needs are consistently met)
  • Must be able to pass a background check and home study

What is the role of a foster parent?

Foster parents provide nurturing and supportive homes in which the children’s emotional, physical and social needs can be met while issues and concerns in the biological family can be addressed. Our intent is to safely reunify children with their families, so foster parents are expected to work closely with biological families (when possible), the Weld County Department of Human Services, guardian ad litem and service providers.

In addition, you must learn about the needs of the child or teen and receive ongoing training, as well as:

  • Provide a safe, stable, supportive home for young people in need
  • Model positive parenting and act as a mentor for biological families
  • Provide non-physical discipline
  • Provide transportation to appointments

What supports does Weld County offer?

When you partner with Weld County to become a foster parent, you are not alone. You join an entire network of people absolutely committed to you and your family’s success. Our team offers ongoing guidance and resources, tailored to your family’s specific needs, to help you provide the support our children and teens in foster care need to thrive.

Join our team and receive access to these resources:

  • 24/7 on-call staff support
  • An individualized treatment team
  • Networking and support groups
  • Ongoing free training opportunities
  • In-home consultations
  • Child care
  • Respite care
  • Annual appreciation/holiday events
  • Colorado Medicaid to cover the child
  • Clothing allowance
  • Mileage reimbursement for appointments
  • Monthly maintenance reimbursement for the care of the child (need-based)

How do you become a foster family?

The process to become a foster family requires the following:

  • Attend a Foster Care Orientation (check out our calendar to view upcoming orientations)
  • Submit your application
  • Complete foster parent training
  • Pass the background check
  • Complete the home study and home inspection
  • Receive certification

Ready to take the next step?

Please click this link to register for a Foster Care Orientation and we will contact you with more information. This is the first step on the journey to become a certified Weld County foster family. 

To help you make an informed decision about whether fostering a child or teen is right for you and your family, you may find it useful to download and complete this Self-Assessment Guide (PDF).

Other ways to get involved with foster care

It’s a life-changing decision to become a foster parent, providing a safe place and 24/7 support for young people who have experienced abuse, neglect or other family challenges. It takes an enormous amount of patience and commitment, and not everyone is called to be a foster parent. However, there are plenty of other ways you can help a child or teen in foster care.

Become a respite care provider

Respite care provides short-term, quality care to children in foster care who are already placed with a foster family. Respite care offers a safe setting for children in foster care and also provides temporary relief for foster parents, enabling them to take a break from the demands of caregiving. Whether it's for just a few hours a week or an extended vacation, respite care can help relive stress, restore energy and promote balance in a foster family. It can also prevent foster parents from becoming exhausted, isolated or even burned out. Respite care can benefit the child in foster care too, providing them with a wider network of love and support. Respite care helps make the caregiving journey a more comfortable experience for both foster families and the children in their care and enhances the quality of life for the entire family. 

If you've been thinking about fostering but you're not quite ready to take the plunge, providing respite care at first may be a way to test the waters. You can choose when you're available to take in children, so the schedule can be very flexible. Respite care requires certification and training, just as a "regular" foster parent does, so you'll learn what types of behaviors you can expect and handle. And the best way to meet a child's specific needs has largely been ironed out by the time a foster family seeks respite care, so fewer surprises are in store for respite care providers. 

Attend a Welcome to Foster Care presentation to learn how you can become a certified respite care provider. You can give the gift of loving respite care to a foster family and (most importantly!) a child. Check out our calendar to view scheduled upcoming presentations.

You may also click this link to fill out a form so we can learn more about you and your specific interests in becoming a respite care provider.

Become a child care provider

By becoming a child care provider and offering child care to children in foster care, we can eliminate a barrier for many people who are considering becoming a foster family. Learn more by visiting our Weld Child Care website at https://www.weldchildcare.com.

Make a donation to Realities For Children

Weld County is proud to partner with Realities For Children, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, to collect monetary and item donations for our children and teens in foster care. Your gift provides emergency funding to Weld County youth who have been abused, neglected or are at-risk. All donations are tax deductible, and 100% of your donation goes directly to help our children and teens in foster care.

How to make a monetary donation:

  1. Go to https://www.realitiesforchildren.com and click on the red DONATE button at the top right-hand corner. 
  2. Enter the donation amount on the next page. In the "My donation is for" drop-down box, please select Weld County. This will ensure that 100% of your donation comes directly to Weld County Department of Human Services' foster care program.
  3. Complete the contact information and billing address sections, then click ENTER PAYMENT.
  4. Smile, knowing your gift will make a positive, life-long impact on our community's most vulnerable and hurting members. Thank you so much!

How to make an item donation:

  1. Go to https://www.realitiesforchildren.com and click on the red DONATE button at the top right-hand corner.
  2. In the third introductory paragraph, click HERE (For item donation needs, please visit HERE.)
  3. Review the list of new items accepted for specific events and throughout the year. Larger, gently used items like beds, strollers, cribs, high-chairs, Pack 'n Plays, appliances or other household items can also be donated. Check their website for more information.

Even more ways to help

  • Volunteer your photography skills for the Colorado Heart Gallery. Photo listings of young people in foster care are often used as recruitment tools to display to potential families. Sometimes, a photo that captures the personality of a child or teen is what can tug on a potential parent's heart. If you're willing to donate your talent and time, email dlvanovich@adoptex.org to learn more about volunteering for the Colorado Heart Gallery. 
  • Host the Heart Gallery. The Colorado Heart Gallery needs businesses, churches, nonprofits and high-traffic venues to host their photography displays and raise awareness about adoption through the foster care system. Email dlvanovich@adoptex.org for more information.
  • Become an advocate for a child or teen in foster care. While in foster care, young people may move from home to home and desperately need a consistent adult presence in their life to ensure they don't get lost in the system. To help with this, judges appoint Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers to watch over a young person's case and advocate for them in court. CASA volunteers don't have to be attorneys or social workers, just everyday people that want to make a difference in an abused or neglected young person's life. For more information, visit https://www.lifestoriesweld.org/programs/casa/.
  • Provide meals for foster families with new placements. The first few days when a child or teen comes into a new environment is full of adjustments...for the entire family! Consider providing a meal to a foster family when you learn of a new placement.
  • Support foster families. Besides providing meals, there are lots of other ways to help a foster family. You could mow the lawn, run errands, offer to watch their biological children, donate hand-me-downs, school supplies or birthday gifts, or help with laundry, homework or chores. Even better, offer to do a particular task weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Committing to helping a foster family for even an hour a week can be the difference in a parent barely hanging on and finding the balance they need to be their best selves for their family.
  • If you are a business-owner, consider offering discounts on goods or services to foster families. You could provide free haircuts, discounted meals or even a job. Many young people in foster care have a difficult time finding work due to the stigma of being a "foster kid." You could help by reaching out to these young people and providing them with their first work experience, giving them a chance to learn and grow.
  • Get to know a foster family. Many people's knowledge of foster care is through stereotypes and rumors, but getting to know a foster family allows you real insight into the foster care system that will give you empathy and compassion for both birth families and foster families. Knowing and learning about what the foster care system involves, from all angles and in multiple circumstances, is the first step to helping children and teens in foster care.
Frequently asked questions

The road to becoming a foster family is paved with excitement, expectation and many questions. To make sure you are ready for the journey, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions and answers to help you make the right decision for your family.

What is foster care?

Foster care is the temporary placement of children outside of their own homes due to abuse, neglect or other family problems, and it gives biological parents time to learn new skills to become the parents their children need them to be. Children are placed with certified foster parents through the Weld County Department of Human Services, which stands as guardian to the child, making all legal decisions, while the foster parent is responsible for the day-to-day care of the child. Foster parents care for children until permanency is achieved, either through reunification or adoption. The ultimate goal and most common outcome in foster care is reunification with birth family, when possible.

What is the difference between foster, foster/adopt and kinship?

The main priority of all foster parents, whether they are considered foster, foster/adopt or kinship, is to provide a safe, supportive and stable family environment while the biological family addresses the concerns or situation that prevents them from parenting their child.

Foster/adopt families must foster before pursuing adoption. These families become certified in hopes that a child is placed that becomes adoptable, which happens when reunification is not possible with biological parents or relatives.

Kinship means a child is placed with relatives, friends, neighbors or other people with a significant relationship to the child. The kinship parent can choose whether to be certified or non-certified. If certification is pursued, the kinship foster family will receive all supports and resources that other foster families receive from Weld County.

Why do people want to foster?

Individuals usually decide they want to become foster parents for several reasons: because they want to give back to their community, because children need them and they can help, because they feel a calling to foster, because they want to provide a child who needs permanency with an adoptive family, and because they have room to fill an empty nest. Why do you want to foster?

Who can be a foster parent?

There are no restrictions on who can foster based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. Whether you are single, married, widowed, divorced or have a domestic partner, living in a house or apartment, a homeowner or renter, currently with or without children, or working inside or outside the home, you can be a foster parent for Weld County. You must be at least 21 years of age, you must have sufficient income to support your family, you must have room in your home and schedule for a child, you must be able to physically care for a child, you must pass child abuse and criminal background checks required by state and federal laws, and you must be able to work with a treatment team and be willing to go to ongoing training.

What is a foster parent's role?

Foster parents provide nurturing and supportive homes in which the children’s emotional, physical, and social needs can be met while issues and concerns in the biological family can be addressed, with the intent to safely reunify children with their families. Foster parents are expected to work closely with biological families (when possible), Weld County Department of Human Services, guardian ad litem and service providers.

What qualities make an ideal foster parent?

We have found that the most successful foster parents: are patient; are committed and caring; like to teach, mentor and learn; are flexible; are willing to ask for help and support when it’s needed; enjoy seeing children grow, thrive and achieve; communicate well; give without expectation of immediate return; provide a consistent and structured home; love a challenge; and want to meet the needs of the child, not just serve their own personal needs.

What does Weld County expect in a foster parent?

We have high standards for our foster families. For the sake of our children, we are looking for those individuals who can provide a safe, nurturing home environment, are financially stable, are able and willing to work with a variety of systems, are willing to learn to work with children who have experienced trauma, and will attend training and upkeep license requirements. In addition, our most successful foster families are flexible in their parenting practices to meet the wide range of needs children in foster care have.

What kind of behavior might I expect from my foster child, and how can I help them?

Children that have been legally removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect may exhibit difficult behaviors that reflect their internal sense of grief, loss and unmet needs. These can include anger/defiance or aggression/destructive behaviors, attachment issues or trouble trusting others, night terrors/sleeping disorders, eating disorders, hyper-vigilance/indiscriminate or overly friendliness/withdrawal, sexual acting out, lack of boundaries, and developmental delays (either physical, emotional, behavioral or academic). Children need nurturing, stability and structure to process their feelings, and they respond and improve with patience and perseverance. Fortunately, foster families in Weld County are provided with a network of resources and supports to help them work through difficult times.

Are there certain types of children that especially need a foster family?

Each child’s needs are different, and all of them deserve a stable and loving family, but there are certain populations that more urgently need placement. These include sibling groups, older school-age children and teenagers, and children with higher needs (complex mental health needs, medically fragile and offense-specific).

How long are children in foster care?

A child may be in foster care for one night, several months or, in some cases, years. Every effort is made to reunify children with their parents. The time spent in foster care is dependent upon each parent’s situation and their ability to engage in services to keep the children safe so that they can be reunited.

How is it determined where a child lives?

Placements are made with foster families based upon the compatibility of the child’s needs and the skills, resources and location of the foster parent. We strive to find a foster family near the child’s parents’ home to encourage frequent visitation and involvement. We also look for a foster family who lives near the child’s school or in the same school district.

How long will it be until a child can be placed in my home?

A child could be placed in your home as soon as you are certified.

Can I choose the age/gender/type of child that I foster?

During the home study, you will be asked about the children your home can best foster, in terms of your family culture. You will be able to discuss the age, gender and behaviors that you feel like you and your family can best serve.

What is the goal for foster children?

Reunification is our primary focus and goal, as well as keeping sibling groups together whenever possible. Children are placed into foster care temporarily until permanency can be established through reunification, but when this is not possible, then adoption is pursued.

Will I have contact with the birth family of my foster child?

As our goal is reunification, we encourage contact between foster parents and parents based upon your treatment team’s recommendation. Sometimes “icebreaker meetings” are scheduled at the beginning of placement to allow the foster parents and parents to meet and focus on the needs of the child. Topics may include foods they like or dislike, interests, routines and other important information that will reduce the trauma and help with the transition into the foster home. Contact with the birth family can reduce anxiety and reduce loyalty issues for children in foster care. There are many levels of contact, which may include: sending written information about the child, telephone calls, face-to-face contact, inviting and transporting parents to appointments, and coaching on parenting techniques that work for the child. Weld County values our foster families and is mindful of your need to have confidentiality. We don't disclose your last name, phone number or address.

How much income do I have to have?

There is no specific annual income to qualify. We just want to make sure that you can financially support yourself and your family prior to becoming a foster family.

Are foster parents paid to care for children placed in their homes?

Foster parents receive a monthly reimbursement to offset the costs of providing food, shelter, clothing and other related expenses. The rate varies and may depend upon the age of the child and the level of care they need. The foster parent is not expected to pay for medical or dental care; these expenses are generally covered by Medicaid.

What are you looking for when you run my background check/what would disqualify me?

We are mainly looking for crimes against children, such as child abuse conviction and past child welfare incidents, as well as violent crimes and unlawful sexual behavior. These would most likely disqualify you, but we will work with you on a case-by-case basis if you have different past offenses.

Why does the process typically take 4-5 months to become a certified foster parent?

The process is designed to fully vet each individual applicant for foster care to ensure our children will be placed in the safest, most stable environment possible. Much of the timing for some of the processes are beyond our control, such as state and federal requirements, as well as some internal steps like the home study, but we do try to expedite the process as quickly as possible.

Weld County's waiting kids

Weld County Department of Human Services has custody of many legally-free children and teens who are still waiting for a forever family. Because these young people have suffered abuse and/or neglect in their past, some have complex medical, intellectual, developmental or emotional/behavioral issues. All of them deserve the safety, stability and support of a loving family. 

Meet our legally-free young people by clicking on a photo below:

Meet Alexis Meet Jerry

Please note, only families who already have a home study are eligible to adopt from Weld County. If you are interested in our waiting kids, you can learn about them and the adoption process by emailing macdonje@weldgov.com or by calling (970) 400-6472.

Permanency and adoption resources

When you pursue adoption through Weld County, we provide support through all phases of the adoption process. Once a child or teen has been placed in an adoptive home, we provide the adoptive family with resources and supportive services. We also assist adoptive families by helping them navigate the court process until the adoption is finalized. After finalization, we offer post-adoption support services through our Family Forever program. Learn more about the Family Forever: Weld County Permanency Support Program further down in this section.

Learn more about Weld County child welfare adoption.

Other Adoption Websites

Although the following three websites will allow you to search for adoptable children and teens in Colorado and elsewhere in the United States, they cannot restrict the search to Weld County youth. Home studies are required for all families wishing to adopt any child or teen, but we can only provide home studies and certifications for families interested in adopting youth currently in our custody. Therefore, if you find a child or teen you're interested in adopting that is not in Weld County, you will need to pursue a home study through a Child Placement Agency (CPA). If you inquire about a child or teen that is in our custody, however, you may pursue a home study either with us or a CPA. Email Jacqui Underwood, Weld County Adoption Supervisor, at macdonje@weldgov.com for more information.

  • Colorado Heart Gallery
    The Colorado Heart Gallery features young people in foster care who are waiting to be adopted. You can view their photos and learn about their hobbies, talents and dreams. Meet Colorado's kids by visiting https://www.coheartgallery.org.
  • AdoptUSKids
    AdoptUSKids is a national project that connects children in foster care with safe, loving, permanent families. See the children and teens waiting in Colorado by visiting https://www.adoptuskids.org.
  • The Adoption Exchange
    The Adoption Exchange helps establish permanence in the lives of children and teens in foster care. Headquartered in Colorado, the Adoption Exchange works toward creating a world where every waiting child will find a permanent family. View the Colorado children's gallery by visiting https://www.adoptex.org.

Family Forever: Weld County Permanency Support Program

Family Forever strives to provide families a safe place to discuss their struggles, ask for and receive support, and obtain the necessary resources needed to strengthen their adoptive family.

The primary goal of Family Forever is to preserve permanency for children who have been adopted and to ensure the well-being of all members of the household. In order to do so, it is essential that all families have access to trauma-informed resources.

Families who have adopted children (through any type of adoption) and live in Weld County, and families who have adopted from the Weld County child welfare system and live elsewhere, are eligible for Family Forever services.

Services include in-home, email or telephone consultation and case management, a resource lending library, training opportunities and sharing of information on available community resources.

For more information, contact the Post Adoption Team at (970) 400-6707 or HS-PostAdoptionSupport@weldgov.com, or view the Family Resource webpage at https://www.weldgov.com/departments/human_services/family_resource.

TBRI Caregiver Training

Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) is an attachment focused, evidence-based parenting and intervention model. It is a trauma-informed intervention that is specifically designed for parents and caregivers of children who come from ‘hard places,’ such as maltreatment, abuse, neglect, multiple home placements and violence, but is an approach that can be used by parents and caregivers with all children.

View our calendar to learn more and register for upcoming TBRI caregiver trainings.

Birth Family Search

Colorado Mutual Consent Registry - Adoptees, birth families and adoptive families can access this search and reunion registry. The birth and/or adoption must have been in Colorado to be listed.

Colorado Voluntary Adoption Registry - Facilitates voluntary contact between adult adoptees (who were born in Colorado), siblings/half-siblings and their birth parent(s). Former foster children searching for birth siblings may also utilize this registry.

Learn more about adoptee and birth parent search in Colorado by visiting http://www.co4kids.org.

Suggested Reading

Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special-Needs Kids - A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Gregory Keck and Regina Kupecky

The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

View a large selection of adoption books and resources at https://tapestrybooks.com.

Contact Information

Kristy DeAnda
Human Services Recruiter

Phone: (970) 400-6849
Email: FosterCare@weldgov.com

Attend an orientation
Thank you, foster parents!