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Legal Resource Manual for Foster Parents Curriculum

This four-module training curriculum is based on the Legal Resource Manual for Foster Parents developed for the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) by Regina Deihl, J.D., Legal Advocates for Permanent Parenting and Cecilia Fiermonte, J.D., American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law. The manual itself can be purchased through the NFPA website.

The curriculum was developed by Regina Deihl, J.D., Cecilia Fiermonte, J.D., and Dianne Kocer and Karen Jorgenson of the NFPA, with the support of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, A Service of the Children's Bureau. For each module we provide the instructor's guide, which includes all handouts, and a PowerPoint presentation to be used in presenting the module.


This module is intended to educate foster parents about the legal process, giving them the knowledge and confidence they
need to become active participants in the system. Knowing how to collaborate with the agency and court benefits both foster parents and foster children. (Related Reading: "Index of State Statute Summaries")

The purpose of this module is to help foster parents understand how child abuse and neglect cases proceed through the dependency court system. The first section lays out the dependency structure, and discusses how the foster parent might be involved at each stage. The second section talks about remedies, both through the agency and the dependency court, that might be available to foster parents when a child is removed from their home for reasons other than maltreatment.

The federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), passed by Congress in 1997, gives foster parents, including pre-adoptive parents and relatives caring for children, the right to be heard in certain court hearings about the foster child in their home. As a requirement of receiving federal foster care funds, juvenile courts in every state must give foster parents “notice of, and opportunity to be heard in, any review or hearing to be held with respect to the child.”i

Reports of maltreatment of a foster child may result in three different outcomes:
  1. suspension or revocation of the foster parent’s foster care license (in some states called a

  2. placement of the foster parent’s name on a child abuse central registry list, and
  3. criminal prosecution of the foster parent for child abuse. In rare instances, a foster parent might also be named in a civil lawsuit based on a maltreatment report.




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