In September 2010, 408,425 children and adolescents resided in foster care. Recent legislation highlights an increasing focus on involving pediatricians in supporting children in foster care and defines specific requirements relevant to the role of pediatricians.

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Foster care is intended to provide a temporary haven for children during a time of family crisis when children are at imminent risk for harm. The goals of foster care are to promote child health, safety, permanency, and well-being. Foster care also has the mission of building on family strengths and providing birth parents with the services they need to reconnect (reunify) with their children. Because children fare best in stable and nurturing families, there has been an increased emphasis in the past decade on shortening the time to permanency through reunification, placement with relatives, and adoption. Foster care also has the obligation to prepare...

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