Foster Child Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Foster Child, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Foster Child?

(n) Foster Child is the child who is looked after by a person other than the parents, by an order of the court or any other authority, without a formal adoption of the child by such person.

History and Meaning of Foster Child

A foster child is a minor who has been placed under the care of a foster family or individual by government authorities or the court. This arrangement may be done temporarily or on a long-term basis, depending on the circumstances. The primary objective of foster care is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children who cannot live with their biological parents for a variety of reasons.

Foster care as an institution originated in the United States in the mid-1800s. It was initially designed to cater to homeless, orphaned, or abandoned children who would otherwise be forced to fend for themselves on the streets. Child welfare advocates were instrumental in pushing for legislative reforms that called for the establishment of state-funded facilities that would provide care, shelter, and education for neglected children.

Examples of Foster Child

  1. After losing their mother to cancer, John and Jane became foster children, living with different families while their father worked overseas.
  2. The state placed the child with a foster family after the parents were arrested for drug abuse and were unable to provide proper care for their child.
  3. Sarah had difficulty bonding with her foster child due to the latter's traumatic experiences in the past and the child's hostile behavior.

Legal Terms Similar to Foster Child

  1. Guardian - A person who is appointed by a court to take care of a minor's physical and emotional well-being.
  2. Adoption - The legal process through which an individual or couple becomes the permanent legal parent(s) of a child.
  3. Custody - The official arrangement for the care and control of a child between a parent and another person or organization.