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What information should I share with the court about the child in my care?
Care and Treatment of the Child
As foster caregivers, the court is required to solicit information from you about the “care and treatment of the child.” The purpose is to provide valuable, current, and relevant information about the child that helps the court make informed decisions regarding the child’s best interest. For example, you may want to provide information about: (1) how the child is doing in your home; (2) medical, mental health, or developmental progress or challenges, (3) childcare or educational successes or challenges; and/or (4) supports and/or services that are needed for the child and you to properly care for the child. Stick with the facts, your observations, and firsthand information. You may also want to discuss things that are important to the child, such as his/her culture or customs, interests, hobbies, or talents. Additionally, you might want to raise challenges that the child is facing due to, for example, the separation from family, a new school, religious practices that are different, etc.
If you are sharing information about the child in court, know that some judges may limit your participation to answering questions they have about the child. Whether you completed the form or not, you may want to bring a copy of it to reference the questions when you speak. The court has a limited amount of time, so your comments should be short and to the point.
In the Foster Caregiver Progress Form
The Foster Caregiver Progress Form [LINK] is meant to give you the opportunity to provide valuable, current, and relevant information regarding the "care and treatment of the child" to the court (the judge), DCFS, parents, attorneys, and CASA (if appointed) whether you attend the hearing or not. A separate form should be completed for each child. You are encouraged, but not required, to complete the form. If you choose to use the form, it should be typed or neatly printed. The DCFS case worker will ask you for the completed form at home visits before the next hearing. You can also submit the form online [LINK]. The DCFS case worker will provide the submitted form to the court, parents, attorneys, and CASA (if appointed).
Share with DCFS
It is helpful if you keep your DCFS case worker informed of needed services and supports on an ongoing basis.