What Foster Parents can Request
In addition to seeking orders for the betterment of the child, such as, request for counseling, etc., the ultimate relief a foster parent typically seeks falls into one of the three categories:
Termination of Parental Rights
A foster parent has the right to file a suit for termination, which can be combined with a suit for adoption. A foster parent may file a suit for termination during the CPS case when there is concern that CPS may be wavering on seeking termination or when it appears necessary to be involved in the legal process prior to termination due to intervention of other third parties. There is no requirement that as a foster parent you have to be aligned with any party, of course, it is helpful, but not necessary.
Managing Conservatorship of the Child
Although unusual, it is permissible for a foster parent to be appointed the managing conservator of a child, instead of seeking the termination of parental rights and eventual adoption. In one of my recent cases, my client (biological father) and the foster parents entered into an agreement where the foster parents were named the child's managing conservator and he was named the child's possessory conservator: This arrangement gave my client access to not only his daughter, but also, his son who was previously adopted by the foster parents.
Adoption of the Child
A foster parent may also seek to file a petition to adopt the child; in fact, adoption requires a petition to be filed by the party seeking to adopt the child. However, there are times when the foster parents and CPS are not on the same page, which may occur when CPS seeks placement outside of the foster home because a biological parent identified a new potential relative or fictive kin placement. Over the past few months, we have seen an increase in these types of cases.