Humanity, Balance, Honesty, Inclusion, Teamwork

The Different Levels of Foster Care

There are different levels of care and varying lengths of stay for different placement situations.

Traditional Foster Care:

Most often this is the first level of foster care for children who are not able to remain at home because of unsafe parenting or home environments. Reuniting children with families is a primary focus of the team, and there are frequent family visits during this time. Sibling groups and younger children are commonly referred to this level of care while their parents work on resolving the issues that led to the foster care placement. Sometimes, it’s determined that children cannot return home after all, and the foster family may be given first consideration as a permanent resource.

Therapeutic Foster Care:

Many children who enter foster care have endured intense trauma and are in need of counseling and/or medication in addition to safe, nurturing homes. It is not uncommon for children who have experienced or witnessed physical, emotional or psychological abuse to act out their emotions even after they are removed from dangerous situations. Our therapeutic foster care program trains qualified foster parents to understand and respond to these challenging behaviors so the youth can grow and thrive. We work to ensure safety, well-being and permanency for our children. There is 24-hour on-call support, and placements can also be made around the clock.


Foster parenting is a tough job, and sometimes foster families need a break. Respite care, usually offered for a weekend, involves caring for a child when a foster family needs a break for illness or simply a time to regroup and consult with the treatment team. Some families start out providing respite care to determine if foster parenting is right for their household.

Emergency care:

These are emergency placements for children who have been removed from their homes and need a place to live for a few days or weeks. Occasionally, emergency placements turn into longer placements. Families willing to take children at any time of the day or night are very much appreciated.

Kinship Foster Care:

Because being placed with family is less traumatizing than traditional foster care, kinship care keeps children with relatives who have been identified by the child protective services placement staff and are willing to go through the foster parent screening process. Services are similar to traditional foster care.


The majority of children in out-of-home placement will return to their parents or relatives. A small percentage of children in out-of-home placement become legally free and eligible for adoption.

Mesa County Dept. of Human Services

510 29 1/2 Road  Grand Junction, CO 81502-5001


© 2020 Foster Care of Mesa County