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§7.13 Foster Care

[1] When Available
[2] Teen Parent

[1] When Available

If you find that terminating parental rights or adoption is not in the child’s best interests or that termination will be detrimental to the child, but appointment of a legal guardian is not possible or appropriate, you may order that the child be placed or remain in long-term foster care. This placement is subject to the regular review of the juvenile court. [WIC §366.26(b)(6); CRC 5.725(d)(6).]

If you order the child to remain in foster care, you must identify the foster care setting by name and identify a specific permanency goal. You may order that the name and address of the foster home remain confidential. [CRC 5.725(d)(6).] If no suitable foster homes are available, you may transfer custody of the child to a licensed foster family agency subject to further orders. [WIC §366.26(c)(5); CRC 5.725(d)(9).]


You should be familiar with WIC §§16001.9(a) and 362.05, which enumerate the basic rights of children in foster care. See also WIC §16010.4(e), which lists basic information that caregivers should receive, such as contact information for the social worker and CASA, the child's birth certificate and medical information, etc. Caregivers must also be given a copy of the case plan outlining the child's needs and services. [WIC §16501.1(j).]

[2] Teen Parent

If a dependent is a parent, you should try to ensure as much as possible that the minor dependent and the children are placed together in a family-like setting, unless placement together poses a risk to the child. Also try to provide access to appropriate services and education for minor parents and their children who live in foster care. [See WIC §16002.5(a), (b).]

If you declare a teen parent to be a dependent, if the teen is living in out-of-home placement in a whole-family foster home or with a nonrelated legal guardian, and if the teen’s child is not a juvenile court dependent, a written shared responsibility plan must be developed as soon as practicable. [WIC §16501.25(a)–(b).] The plan must be designed to [WIC §16501.25(b)(2)]:

  • Preserve and strengthen the teen parent family unit;
  • Assist the teen parent in meeting goals outlined in WIC §16002.5;
  • Facilitate a supportive home environment for the teen parent and child; and
  • Ultimately enable the teen parent to independently provide a safe, stable, and permanent home for the child.

The plan is developed by the teen parent, the caregiver, and a county child welfare agency representative, among others. [WIC §16501.25(b)(1).] The plan is written to aid the teen parent and caregiver to reach agreements aimed at reducing conflict and misunderstandings. [WIC §16501.25(b)(3).]


On and after January 1, 2012, if you continue dependency jurisdiction of a nonminor as a dependent, you must order the agency to develop a planned permanent living arrangement of a placement under a mutual agreement. [WIC §§366.31(b), 11400(u).]

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© 2006 by Judicial Council of California
updated as of January 1, 2012