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Can You Take Foster Child on Vacation

Can You Take Foster Child on Vacation

Among the best things that a person can do is to create memories; good memories for that matter. Taking vacations is among the multiple ways of creating such memories and perhaps something that makes foster families take a step back since they do not know if it is okay to go on a vacation with a foster child. Because of this, a question comes to mind, can you take foster child on vacation?

So, can you take a foster child on vacation? The answer to this question is a simple ‘Yes’ followed by the conjunction ‘But’. This is because there is something that you are required to do before taking a foster child on vacation. Before going on vacation, you are required to notify the child’s case worker. They need to be aware that you will be taking the foster child on vacation failure to which there will likelihood of surprises from the agency.

The foster care system is not a prison. It works for the best benefit of a child which is something that both bio and foster parents should understand.

When taken under the system, a child can still have fun and take up activities that rejuvenate them. Concerning a foster child going on a vacation, the bio parents have little or nothing to say. This is because they have temporarily lost custody of their child. In addition to this, their visitation and interaction with the child are limited or even supervised at times.

A foster child needs to feel like they are part of the family. If you have to sacrifice one hour of your time to do this, it’s entirely worth it. There are parents who go the extra mile of respecting a child’s religious beliefs and allowing them to go to church when they themselves are pagans.

Benefits of Taking a Foster Child on Vacation

Including a foster child in the family vacation members list means a lot to them. It’s a sign that they are considered part of the family. Apart from the feeling of inclusion, there are other benefits of taking a foster child on vacation.

Understand the family better: Taking a foster child on vacation brings up a chance to bond and interact with the family members in a different way. Through this, they get an opportunity to understand the foster family dynamics. For families considering adopting a foster child, the vacation becomes a valuable resource for understanding the foster child better.

Can You Take Foster Child on Vacation

Source of stability and security: Foster child can offer a lot of help during the vacation. They are capable of offering a sense of security and stability that the foster family might be in need of.

Experience sharing: Yes they might be children, but remember they have some experiences that are both bad and good. While on vacation, they can share their wealth of experience and knowledge that can turn out to be beneficial to you and your family.  

Unique perspectives: The kind of environments and how children are nurtured do have an impact on them. Foster children can offer unique religious and cultural traditions which can be of interest to the entire family.  

Related Post: What makes a good foster parent

Chance of having fun: When children are placed in the foster care system, they might feel a sense of separation. This is because they do have a strong attachment to their biological parents. Taking this on a vacation slowly takes this feeling away. They get to enjoy the company of their new family and start bonding with them.

Challenges of Taking a Foster Child on Vacation

Vacations do have challenges, even when you go on your own. There are various challenges that you might face when taking a foster child on vacation. Below are some of the common ones.

Unfamiliarity: Unlike other people who frequently go on vacation, foster children might not be familiar with the ritual and customs of vacationing. This also applies to people who are new to vacationing. Due to this, foster children who have never gone on vacation might not have the same experience as other members of the family.

Difficulty adjusting: One of the key things to being great on vacations is flexibility/adaptability. A person needs to adapt quickly to the surroundings of the area so that they can maximize the fun and experience in the area. Foster children may struggle to adjust to the new surroundings as well as the customs and new food.

Can You Take Foster Child on Vacation

Communication challenges: This challenge affects the entire family. When you are not familiar with the local language of your destination, you will have difficulty communicating with the locals. At times, it’s best to have a translator or a local tour guide to help you make the experience smooth.

Extra attention: The likelihood of a foster child having emotional and physical outbursts during traveling is high. Foster children might require more attention and supervision during the entire vacation.

Extra support: Including a foster child in the vacation list means you will have to adjust your budget. They will require extra financial support. To participate in vacationing, they will also require emotional support hence be ready for it.

Considerations for Taking a Foster Care on Vacation

Before embarking on that vacation, there are things that you ought to consider.

Foster child’s health: You will need to ask yourself if the foster child will be able to handle the nature of the vacation. Can their health allow it? Are they physically challenged?

Visitation: When is the next appointment for the foster child? Will going on vacation result in the child missing a bio-parent visit, a case worker visit, or even a court date? Ensure you have communicated with the child’s case worker so that there are no inconveniences.  

Reunification date: It would not be a good decision to take a foster child on vacation when the date of reunification is close. For example a day before reunification. This might result in mixed reactions.

Related Post: what are foster parents not allowed to do

Foster child behavior: A vacation can turn out to be a nightmare when you do not know the foster child’s behavior. Imagine taking a foster child on vacation only for them to wander around or make uninformed decisions that may result in them being arrested! It’s important to know the foster child well before going on a vacation with them.

How to make it possible for a Foster Child to go on a Vacation

In addition to the answer to the question can you take a foster child on vacation being “Yes”, there are things you should do. This depends on the vacation’s destination.

Can You Take Foster Child on Vacation

In-state vacation: When your destination is within the state, you only need to seek permission from the child’s case worker or manager.

Out-of-state vacation: When your destination is out of the state, foster parents do have a say, unlike in-state vacation. But if they refuse, the District Children and Family Regional Attorney might be consulted. Also, the court, guardian ad litem (GAL) need to be notified at least ten (10) days before departure.

International vacation: In addition to following the guidelines/requirements for out-of-state travel, you will be required to obtain written permission from the Regional Director. This is permission for international traveling with a foster child. You should also indicate that the case worker does have the foster child’s contact information as well as the child’s current picture in the case file.

Do note that these requirements vary by state. It’s crucial to consult with your caseworker or agency in order to get full details.

Final Thoughts

Vacations are beneficial to both a foster child and the foster family. When going on a vacation with a foster child, make sure that they feel like they are part of the family. Remember they are under your care and since you have custody, you are their parents in the meantime.

Make the experience memorable for all of you and try not to create a rift within your relationship with that of the child’s bio family.

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