Foster Care Policies

The Guide to Common Foster Care Policies in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Rules and Regulations

Find guidance on a number of common situations faced by foster parents.

Travel and Vacation

Travel within state boundaries is permitted without permission. Travel out of the state for under 24 hours is also permitted without permission. Any out-of-state travel lasting more than 24 hours requires prior approval from the CUA caseworker and resource support worker ideally with 2-4 weeks notice.  It is important to provide plenty of notice so that any parent visitations or caseworker check-ins can be rearranged appropriately.

Birth parents have the right to request that their children remain local when their foster family travels out-of-state.  When a foster family travels out-of-state without their foster child, the child enters respite care and stays with another foster family for the duration of the trip. 

Travel out of the country is not permitted. 

Prohibited Discipline

  • Any form of corporal punishment (spanking, slapping, inflicting any pain)
  • Any form of restraints
  • Isolation in a closet or small space
  • Withholding food or basic needs
  • Verbal abuse or threats of removal from the home
  • Preventing communication or visits with family
  • Assigning excessive chores
  • Any punishment for bed wetting or toilet training
  • Allowing children to discipline other children


It is the responsibility of the resource family to provide transportation for their foster children.  If transportation is provided by care, resource parents are required to have a current driver’s license and auto insurance on file with their foster care agency.

For school-age children, it may be possible to have bus routes changed by contacting the school.

Teens are permitted to transport themselves via car, bus, train, or other public transportation.


Foster families should feel free to continue to practice their own religion.  However, all decisions regarding religious practice remain the responsibility of the birth parents, even while in care. 

If a child or youth prefers not to attend religious services, appropriate child care should be arranged.  Additionally, any formal decisions of faith, such as baptism or other religious commitments, should be discussed ahead of time with the case manager and birth parents.


Any regular care-givers should undergo the same background checks as the foster parents including child abuse clearance, PA criminal background check, and FBI clearance.

If a baby-sitter is required on a case-by-case basis for a short period of time (several hours), a background check is not required.  

Anyone caring for a foster child overnight requires a full background check.

Learn More About Foster Care

The following guides can help get you up to speed on several important aspects of foster care in Philadelphia.


Learn about financial support available for foster parents.


Learn about healthcare topics such as doctors visits and insurance.

The Legal System

Learn about family court, hearings, and child custody.

Caseworkers and Visits

Learn about the different types of caseworkers, home visits, and parent visits.

New Placements

Learn about what to ask when receiving a new placement and the first week in care

School and Daycare

Learn more about education, school, and daycare.

Adoption and Permanency

Learn about foster care, adoption, and foster-to-adopt.

Foster Care Policies

Learn about policies like travel and babysitters