Foster care in the Netherlands - How does this work and what does it do?

Foster care is a form of youth care where foster parents temporarily include a child of someone else in their family.
Situations may arise whereby a child can no longer live with his own father and / or mommy. There can be various reasons for this. For example, when a parent is (seriously) ill or when the contact between parents and the child is not pleasant. Of course, it first looks at whether it is possible for a child to continue living at home.

Parenting support

Possibly by offering parenting support or extra supervision of the child to the parents. If this is not possible or insufficient, it can be decided that the child will (temporarily) live in another family. An indication of Bureau Jeugdzorg is required for this.
In the first instance, a temporary shelter (family, friends, acquaintances) will be sought in the immediate vicinity of the child. If this is not possible, a foster family is searched for.

Temporary education and care

A foster parent temporarily takes over the upbringing and care of the parents. How long this will take depends on the child and his parents. The duration can vary from a few days to several years (majority of the child). The intention is that the children, if possible, return to their own parents. The relationship with the parents remains important for the children.

Facts and numbers

In 2005, 17,581 children, between 0 and 18 years old, used nursing care. The number of new placements per year has more than tripled over the past 10 years: from 1,912 placements in 1995 to 6,736 in 2005. 37% of all foster care placements lasted less than 3 months. 27% of the foster children lived between foster parents and foster parents in 2005, while 23% lived in foster families for more than 2 years.

Accommodation with acquaintances

More than 34% of foster children find shelter with acquaintances (grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers or neighbors). We call this network foster care.
37% of foster children are younger than 5 years; this is a doubling in 4 years.
10% of foster children have a mental and / or physical disability.
Forms of foster care: Weekend or holiday foster care, Crisis care, Foster care for shorter periods and Foster care for a longer period of time.


Adoption versus foster care

There is a substantial difference between adoption and foster care. Upon adoption you become legally the parents of a child; he becomes a legal family of his adoptive parents. A foster child never becomes legally family. There will always be others involved: parents, (family) guardian and foster care counselor. The basic principle of foster care is that if possible, a child will reside with his parents. For each child who is registered for foster care, the possibilities are therefore examined. Based on this, it is determined what kind of foster family the child is going to do.

The kids

Foster children are very normal children between the ages of 0 and 18, but children who have experienced a lot and have often been in short supply. Some foster children have a physical or mental disability, are difficult to learn or have behavioral problems.
Foster children require attention, perhaps more (or differently) than other children. This can express itself in different ways. The one becomes brutal, the other becomes anxious. One withdraws, the other continues as if nothing is wrong.

Mixed feelings

Most children have mixed feelings when they go to a foster family. On the one hand, an unpleasant situation comes to an end, on the other hand there is uncertainty and grief and they remain loyal to their parents.
He does not know what to expect, this makes him insecure. How are the foster parents? Are there more children? Will it click?

How do you become a foster parent?

It is important that foster parents are prepared to work together with their own parents or caretakers and foster care counselors and family guardians in their upbringing. Foster parents are open in dealing with others, dare to express their feelings and are able to listen to others. They are able to share the care for children with others and work together with organizations and with the parent (s) of children.

Information evening

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you can visit an information evening. If you are still interested, you can sign up for a preparation program.
This program is meant to experience, together with other aspiring foster parents, what foster care entails. On this basis you can decide whether foster care suits you. The duration of the preliminary process differs per region, but on average you have to take into account a period of seven months. After completing this process (and your acceptance becoming a foster parent), it may take a short or long time before a foster child is placed with you.

Influence in your family

Of course, the arrival of a foster child will affect the rest of your family. It is important to involve your children in choosing a foster family. From about six years, children seem to understand very well what foster care is.
Tell them clearly what the intention is and what it will mean for them. After all, the attention will have to be divided. During the preparation phase, attention is also paid to the meaning of foster care for your own children and how you can best prepare them for the arrival of a foster child.

Foster child is different from own child

To educate a foster child is different from raising a child, a foster child has often experienced a lot before coming to live with foster parents. This affects the attitude and behavior of a child. A foster parent also has no natural bond with a foster child. This means that a number of things are less self-evident and feel than with their own children.

Can parents simply take their child away from foster parents?

It is not the intention that a child is taken away from the foster parents without an appointment. In the assistance plan, agreements on terms and the purpose of the placement are recorded. Changes to this plan are discussed with all parties involved.
For a voluntary placement that lasts less than a year, a parent can remove his child from the foster parents without permission.


If a foster child lives with foster parents for more than a year, foster parents can use the blockade right. This means that a parent must ask the foster parent (s) to take care of the child again. If a foster parent does not agree with this, the parent must request permission from the court. Until the court has made a decision, foster parents can block back placement.

Questions and answers about Foster Care

Adoption leave for foster parents

Adoption leave for foster parents who have a foster child in their family can qualify for adoption leave under certain conditions.
It must be clear from the placement that the child will be permanently admitted to the foster family. Adoption leave entitles you to four weeks of bond leave. This leave can be taken from two weeks before the day of placement of the foster child, but in any case within eighteen weeks of placement. During the adoption leave the employee is not entitled to wages, but to a benefit via the business association of 100% of the daily wage.

Is a foster child insured?

foster child is insured against medical expenses and has liability insurance. In the first instance, it is examined whether a foster child can be co-insured with the (foster) parents. If this is not possible, Bureau Jeugdzorg will take out insurance for the foster child.
The costs incurred by foster parents for insuring a foster child are reimbursed.

The seven meetings of Foster Care

The 7 STAP program is supervised by a team. There are seven three-hour meetings. The supervisors also maintain individual contact. They do that in conversations at your home.

1. Working together in foster care
  • cooperation as a starting point in foster care
  • the criteria for foster parenting
  • collaborate on selection
  • the goal of foster care
2. Dealing with losses in foster care
  • a family becomes a client
  • the phases of mourning
  • cooperate in dealing with loss
  • loss expert
3. Adherence and delay in the development of children
  • the importance of attachment
  • the influence of the out-of-home placement on attachment
  • recognize delay in development
  • realistic expectations of foster parents
4. History and identity
  • contact with the history of the child
  • disruptions in the development of identity
  • practical examples
  • the life book
5. Dealing with behavior and offering a safe perspective
  • what do we want to teach children
  • the difference between discipline and punishment
  • strengthen self-image
  • cooperate in breaking down a placement
6. Viewpoints in foster care
  • a foster care market
  • a panel discussion
7. The meaning of the foster parenting
  • properties of a family system
  • the influence of the arrival of a foster child on others
  • the use of a sociogram
  • a preliminary balance sheet

Are foster parents paid for foster care?

As a foster parent you can be reimbursed for the costs you have to incur for the care and upbringing of your foster child. You apply for the foster allowance from the body that places the child with you. This agency also pays the foster allowance.

Foster allowance

The foster allowance is a basic amount that the government establishes annually. In 2012 that basic amount is at least € 504 per month (see table). The amount of the basic amount depends on the age of your foster child. Some parents can get a supplement.
Foster care lasts up to 18 years. Some foster children still need support and guidance after their 18th year. They can then call on continued assistance until their 23rd year. As long as there is continued assistance for a foster child, the foster parents receive a foster allowance. A self-contribution scheme applies to foster children with their own income.


Below you will find the basic amounts of the compensation per child (2016 indexed amount in euros):

Per dayPer month
0 to 8 years17,84543
9 to 11 years18,04549
12 to 15 years19,65598
16 to 17 years21,69660
18 years and older21,92667
Surcharge extra costs

In addition to the foster allowance, you as foster parents can get a supplement if you:

  • incur extra expenses at crisis care; or
  • provides a foster child with a disability; or
  • provides 3 or more foster children. In this case, the allowance for the 3rd and following foster child applies.

The extra allowance is a maximum of € 3.30 per child per day in 2012. You will only receive the additional allowance under the following conditions:

  • It is about necessary costs.
  • You can demonstrate that you can not pay the extra costs from the basic allowance.
  • There is no other arrangement that reimburses these costs.
Foster allowance is not an income

In principle, the foster allowance is not an income and does not affect any benefit or personal budget (PGB). You also do not have to give up the allowance if you apply for rent allowance.
For the first 3 foster children in a family, the allowance is tax-free. If there are more children in a foster family, the Tax Authorities determine whether the reimbursement is taxable.

Moving abroad

Your entitlement to a foster reimbursement lapses if you move abroad as a foster family.

What is blockade law?

Block-right is the right that can be invoked by foster parents to prevent a foster child, which has been cared for and raised by foster parents for some time, to be abruptly removed from the foster family by the parents or guardian. There must be a voluntary placement and not a placement by means of an authorization in the context of the supervision.


Foster parents do not always have the right to block the parents or guardian from taking the child away from them. To be able to rely on the blockade right, the following conditions must be met:

  • the parents or guardian must have custody of the child;
  • the child must be in the foster family with written or verbal consent from the parents;
  • there must be a foster family, that is to say of a situation in which the child is cared for by others (others than the parents or guardian with authority) and brought up as a child of their own;
  • the foster parents must have cared for and raised the child for at least one year.

Foster parents are not entitled to blockage if the child - with the authorization of the judge - is placed in the foster family by the family guardian.

Consequence blockade law

The blockade law means that the parent (s) or guardian can only remove the foster child from the foster family with the consent of the foster parents. If this permission is not complied with, it can be replaced by the court at the request of the parent (s) or guardian. If the parent (s) or guardian remove the child from the foster family without the consent of the foster parents (or replacement consent of the judge), they act in violation of the law, thus unlawfully. The foster parents can then (for example in summary proceedings) demand delivery of the child.

Parent (s) and blockade right

If foster parents rely on their blockade rights, the parents can turn to the court of the child's place of residence or stay requesting their permission to terminate the child's stay with the foster parents (this is a replacement court's permission) The parent's request will be dealt with by the court If the court approves the request of the parents (the juvenile court has granted the replacement permission), this means that the foster parents are legally obliged to hand in the child to the parents.

What is the legal position of foster parents?

Foster parents are entitled to good guidance from the foster care institution. Other rights are explained below.

Consequence blockade law

If a child is placed in a foster family with the consent of the parents or guardian and has been cared for and raised there for at least a year as belonging to the family, the guardian or parent can not remove the child without the consent of the foster parents.

Complaints procedure

The institution for foster care has a complaints regulation. Both (prospective) foster parents, as well as clients of the organization concerned, can appeal to this.

Care leave

The Work and Care Act makes it easier to combine work and care tasks. In concrete terms, this means that, in addition to entitlement to adoption leave, there is also a ten-day care leave for children living at home, foster children, partners or parents living at home. Foster parents are entitled to four weeks' leave if it is clear when the child is placed in the family that the child will be permanently admitted to the family.

What is the legal position of foster children?

Of course children's rights also apply to foster children. A help plan states which help a foster child receives and what the plans and goals are. This plan also states whether and how the family is involved in the aid. Many rights of foster children have to do with this plan.

Right to information

Foster children have a right to hear what the decisions are made about them and why. In children aged twelve or older, it is mandatory that care providers discuss the assistance plan, and planned changes, with them. If the child no longer sees the father or mother, it has the right to information about the parents and family.

Right of access to the file

Foster children of twelve years or older have the right to read all reports written about them. They can also get a copy of it. If a foster child is younger than twelve, the parents or guardian have the right to read the reports. They can discuss it with the foster child, but they are not obliged to do so.

Right to a personal opinion

Foster children can always say what they think of something and what should happen according to them. That does not mean that there is always what they want. It does mean that they have to be listened to. The care provider is obliged to talk to the foster child of twelve years or older at least every six months about the assistance plan. If the child reads something in the plan that he / she disagrees with, he / she may say this. This opinion is therefore included in the report.

Right to privacy

No one may read the post or diary of a foster child without permission. Care providers may give information about the foster child younger than sixteen years to the parents. In foster children of sixteen years or older, this is only allowed with their permission. Foster parents and social workers can not simply tell everyone about the child. They may, without permission from the foster child, pass on information to other care providers.

Right to contact with your own family

Foster children are entitled to contact with parents, brothers and sisters, grandfathers and grandmothers. Contact with previous foster parents is also a right of foster children.

Right to complain

Foster children have the right to complain. The institution for foster care has a complaints regulation. Both (prospective) foster parents, as well as clients (foster children, their parents or guardians) of the organization concerned, can appeal to this. The children's court store can initially try to help to explain the problem.

Conversation with the juvenile judge

Foster children who are under supervision can request a meeting with the juvenile court judge at specific times. The juvenile court judge must ask children for their opinion when they are twelve years or older.

How long can a child stay in a foster family?

How long a child can stay in a foster family depends on the type of foster care the child receives. Foster care usually starts with a short-term placement.

Network foster care

The institution for foster care first looks for childcare in their own family or at the children's acquaintances. This is called network foster care. If this does not work, the foster care institution will look for a suitable foster family. The following forms of foster care are possible here.

Holiday foster care

A foster child can spend one or more holidays in a foster family. It concerns children who (still) live with their parents, in a boarding school or another foster family, and can not go to family or friends.

Weekend foster care

A foster child spends one or more weekends per month in a foster family. The child lives (still) with his parents, in a boarding school or in another foster family. It is important for the child to escape the daily stress.The (foster) parents can gain new energy again.

Day foster care

When parents are unable to fully provide their child with temporary care, day-care foster care can be a supplement. The child is then taken care of in a foster family for part of the week. As soon as the home situation is stable again, the daytime foster care will stop. This is a fairly new form of foster care, which is not yet available everywhere.

Foster care in crisis situations

In a crisis situation, a child without an indication from the Youth Care Agency is placed in a foster family. Children up to the age of 18 can be accommodated in this way for up to four weeks. During that period, Bureau Jeugdzorg will investigate how it should proceed.

Observation diagnostics

With an indication for observation diagnostics, Bureau Jeugdzorg asks a care provider or foster care institution to investigate the problems related to child and family. Observation diagnostics can take various forms. The child can be placed with foster parents who, in addition to daily care, observe the child and report on their findings. In addition, psychological research can be requested, or an investigation into the family situation. Observation diagnostics lasts a maximum of six weeks and can be extended once for a maximum of six weeks. The aim is for Bureau Jeugdzorg to have a better substantiated indication decision.

Foster care for a longer period of time

It is certain that a child can not live at home for a longer period of time, sometimes until age of majority. However, long-term does not have to be permanent.

Therapeutic foster care

This is an intensive variant of foster care for a longer period of time. In addition to extra guidance for foster parents, therapy for the foster child is also available.

How does the procedure for placement of a foster child with foster parents take place?

A child can only be placed with foster parents after an indication from Bureau Jeugdzorg. Bureau Jeugdzorg examines the situation at home, and determines in consultation with all those involved whether foster care is the most appropriate solution. Subsequently, it is examined which form of foster care is the best.

Indication Bureau Jeugdzorg

Based on the indication decision from Bureau Jeugdzorg, the foster care institution looks for a suitable foster family and starts counseling. After a family is found, children and parents get to know each other. If this is positive, further agreements will be made about the contact between the parents and the child, the supervision and the evaluation of the placement. All agreements are recorded in writing.

Guidance of the foster family

Each foster family is accompanied by a social worker from the foster care institution, the foster care counselor. The foster care counselor is the contact person for educational questions and all kinds of practical matters. The foster care supervisor also maintains contact with the parents and the Youth Care Agency.

Crisis placement

In case of a crisis placement, the introductory procedure is deviated from. For more information about this, please contact a Youth Care Agency.

Address data

Foster care in the Netherlands
PO Box 85011

Video: Understanding the adoption process

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