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Placement of Children in Foster Care

Multi-ethnic group of children

Placement Type of Children in Foster Care


The types of placements used by CFSA for children in foster care.

How This Is Measured

The unique count of children in a placement type on the last day of each quarter.

The default view (home type) shows placement types grouped by the following categories:

  • Family based foster care: children are placed in licensed foster homes, including traditional foster homes and pre-adoptive foster homes
  • Kinship foster care: children are placed with their kin, who have become licensed foster parents to care for them. Kin includes biological relatives and fictive kin (individuals that are unrelated by either birth or marriage, but have an emotionally significant relationship that existed prior to the child’s entry into care)
  • Out of Town Placement, which indicates children who are wards of the District of Columbia who are placed in licensed foster homes in jurisdictions beyond DC and Maryland for the purposes of achieving permanency through guardianship or adoption. The licensed parents they are placed with may or may not be kin. DC’s Family Court continues to maintain jurisdiction over these cases, however the licensing of the foster parents and ongoing monitoring of the case occurs through a local entity, as provided for by the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC). The D.C. social worker and the ICPC social worker maintain regular communication.
  • Group settings: includes children in temporary Diagnostic and Emergency Care, Group Homes, Independent Living, and Residential Treatment.
  • Other settings: includes children who are missing, absent, or abducted, College/vocational placements, Correctional facilities, children in placements paid for by Medicaid such as settings for children with severe developmental disabilities and hospital settings, and not in legal placement. Not in legal placement refers to an unlicensed placement. The individual the child/youth is residing with may be in the process of obtaining licensure or may not meet licensure standards, however there is a court order placing the child in that setting.

The alternate view (placement type) shows the breakdown of the five subcategories above.

Why This Matters

When children enter foster care, CFSA prioritizes placement with relatives whenever possible. If willing and able relatives are not available, CFSA will place children in a family-based foster home with non-relatives. To a much lesser extent, CFSA may place older youth in group facilities.

Ward of Origin and Ward of Placement for Children in Foster Care


The ward of origin and the ward of placements used by CFSA for children in foster care.

How This Is Measured

The unique count of children in foster care on the final day of the fiscal year with the:

  • Ward of Origin: The child’s home ward at the time of their removal for all children that entered foster care during the Fiscal Year.
  • Ward of Placement: The location of the child’s placement as of the last day of the quarter.

Why This Matters

Due to the small geographic borders of DC and the unique makeup of housing options, children may be placed in surrounding counties such as Prince George’s County in Maryland.

CFSA understands that a child’s removal from a parent’s home may also result in removal from the neighborhood, the school of origin, friends, and extra-curricular activities. To offset that possibility, CFSA’s Placement Unit seeks to place children as close to home as possible, and to place children with siblings, ideally with family resources. The objective is to preserve as many of the child’s existing connections as possible. Placements in the same neighborhood or at least with relatives can frequently ensure that a child is able to maintain connections to siblings, birth parents, and extended family.