Juvenile Law Center

Youth in Care

Getting and Changing Placements for Youth in Care in Pennsylvania

Where will I be placed when I am in substitute care?

All efforts should be made to help you return home to your parents. If you cannot return home, you are entitled to be placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting available. Your relatives should be notified within 30 days of you coming into care so that they can be given an opportunity to care for you.

As you get older, you may be placed in a Transitional Living Placement (TLP) or a Supervised Independent Living (SIL) placement. In these placements you get more responsibility and freedom and a greater chance to practice your independent living skills.

Will I be placed with my siblings in substitute care?

A new law, the Fostering Connections to Success Act, requires that reasonable efforts now be made to place siblings in foster care together unless the safety or well-being of either sibling would be at risk by a joint placement. If siblings are not placed together because of those reasons, frequent visitation and ongoing contact must occur.

Do I get a say about where I am placed?

Yes. Your voice, along with the voices of others, should be considered. You should always let your caseworker, lawyer, judge, and anyone else involved in your case know where you want to be placed and what type of placement you think is best for you. You might know someone who you can live with—like a godparent, family friend, or teacher—who others are not aware of. You need to SPEAK UP!

What can I do if I want my placement to change?

If you are being mistreated in your placement, you should tell someone immediately so that things can change for the better. Wherever you are placed, you should always be treated with respect, have your needs met, and feel safe. Youth should never be verbally or physically abused in their placements.

If you feel like your placement is not right for you or that you would do better in another type of placement, you should let someone know. Sometimes your placement can be changed.

What does it take to be a foster parent?

There are many requirements for foster parents. They must submit to criminal background checks, yearly home inspections, evaluations, and training. Most importantly, foster parents must be able to provide a caring and nurturing environment for youth. They must make sure the youth’s physical and mental health, independent living, and educational needs are met. The money that foster parents receive should be used for your housing, food, clothing, and activities. In some situations, it may be used for your allowance, but that is up to the county and the foster parent.

Do group homes, institutions, and transitional living facilities have any requirements?

Yes. These facilities must be licensed. To be licensed, these facilities must have enough qualified staff, meet safety requirements, and submit to yearly inspections. Staff must treat you with respect and cannot physically discipline you. They must provide for your treatment, educational, and safety needs in addition to providing you with a place to live.


Last updated December 2011


Juvenile Law Center's fact sheets are sponsored by The Alex Benjamin Norris Memorial Fund.

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