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What is my role as a foster caregiver in the CINC court process?
Share Valuable Information
As foster caregivers, you play a critical role in the life of the child in your care. Because of your day-to-day care of the child, you have valuable information that can help those involved in the child’s case make crucial decisions regarding the child’s well-being. Thus, one of your roles in the court process includes providing current and accurate oral and/or written information about the child so that judges can make informed decisions in the best interest of the child.
Attend Court Hearings
You are encouraged to attend court hearings regarding the child in your care, although your attendance is not generally a requirement. Not only should you be given the opportunity to provide information about the child to the court, but your attendance will keep you updated on developments in the child’s case and give you the opportunity to meet and communicate with those involved in the case (i.e., the child’s attorney, parents and relatives of the child, DCFS, the CASA volunteer, etc.). Court hearings may offer opportunities to solve scheduling conflicts, such as visitation and appointments, and challenges the child may be facing. Early and ongoing communication, respect, and support between foster caregivers, the court, the parents, and DCFS are important for the child’s well-being and getting him/her the supports and services needed as soon as possible. Such communication, respect, and support are also critical for the Quality Parenting Initiative (“QPI”) to be successful. (More information about QPI is below.). As the foster caregiver, you can also provide assistance and support to the child if they attend the hearing. Some hearings may include difficult information for the child to hear or long wait times. Your presence at the hearing may provide needed support for the child during and after the hearing.