About Fostering

When families struggle to provide for the safety of their own children, Erie County Child Protective Services must remove these children and place them in foster care or with an appropriate relative until the risk to their safety is substantially decreased.

Children placed in foster care may have been neglected, abused, or have no one to care for them. As the incidence of domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health issues continue to escalate, more children in our community are in need of support.

Erie County Department of Social Services works in conjunction with the agencies listed in this website to provide foster placement and training for those interested in becoming foster parents. We encourage you to meet with representatives from each of the agencies whose approach and philosophy are most consistent with your outlook and values.


Why foster?

Erie County has a need for supportive foster families to temporarily provide hundreds of our most vulnerable children with stable, nurturing homes.

Foster parents must have unlimited compassion for emotionally, and sometimes physically wounded children. Foster parenting is a specialized and demanding mission, but extremely rewarding.

As a foster parent, you are responsible for the temporary care and nurturing of a child who has been placed outside his or her own home. During a time of disruption and change, you are giving a child a home. At the same time, your role includes working with a caseworker and the child’s family so that the child can return home safely, when appropriate.


Support for foster parents

As a foster parent, you are part of a “team” working together for the sake of the child. Generally, the team consists of the foster parents, the birth parents, the child, the caseworker, and the law guardian. (In some cases, the birth parents may have had their parental rights terminated.) It may also include service providers, health care providers, and other family members. This means that you are not alone in caring for the child. You have support. It also means that you meet with the child's family in visits and case conferences, and you keep the caseworker up-to-date on how the child is doing.