Understanding the differences between State and private agencies

Last updated: July 1, 2020, at 5:17 a.m. PT

Originally published: September 30, 2018, at 7:50 p.m. PT

At the Y, we know that the decision to become a foster parent is a big one. As a future foster parent, choosing the right agency for your family can be complicated. Here are some things to consider: 

  1. Direct Services 

    When you are licensed through the State, your points of contact to the foster care system are the social workers of the children you care for. When you are licensed through a private agency, in addition to the social workers, you have a case manager whose job is to support your family and all the children placed into your home. They will visit your home monthly, provide information and identify resources for the children. They will help you navigate the complicated system of child welfare.  

  1. Capacity 

    Thousands of foster parents are licensed through the State. Private agencies are smaller and have close-knit communities of foster parents and staff. They often meet for training, support and various events to celebrate holidays and successes. 

  1. Ongoing Support 

    Many agencies provide 24/7 support and coaching throughout the placement process to make sure the child will be a good fit with your family.  

  1. Values 

    Some private agencies are faith based, some are not.  

  1. Costs  

    Private agencies may charge fees for applications and home studies. Or they may keep a portion of the maintenance payments to cover their costs. 

  1. Licensing Process 

    Some private agencies set additional requirements beyond those of the State.   

Category: Social Services