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Get the scoop on foster care

"* Foster care is the temporary placement of children with families or individuals outside of their own homes into licensed homes due to neglect and/or abuse.* In Washington, approximately 7,000 children are in foster care, including about 370 in South King County.* In 2000, 994 foster kids were adopted. * To be a foster parent, you must be 21 years or older, have adequate space in your home and sufficient income to support a child, pass various safety inspections, pass background checks, take various classes and pass current tuberculosis tests for all family members age 18 and older. You must renew your foster parent license every three years.* Foster parents receive a set monthly reimbursement based on the child's age. The funds are intended for child-care-related costs such as food, clothing and housing. Special rates might be paid to foster families who care for children with exceptional needs, such as those with medical conditions or behavioral problems.* Foster kids represent all cultural and economic groups but children of color are over-represented in the foster care system.* You can be single or married, you don't have to own your own home and you don't have to make lots of money in order to be a foster parent. * People interested in becoming a foster parent should call the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services' toll-free number, 1-888-794-1794. They can also find information about fostering online at www.dshs.wa.gov.* Support for foster parents is offered through Foster Parents Association of Washington State - (425) 227-7110 - and Friends in Adoption - (206) 264-5136. "

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