Family & Relationships

What Circumstances Can Cause A Child To Be Placed In Foster Care?

October 6, 2023

There may be many different reasons why a child is placed in foster care, and it’s important to recognize that just as every child is unique, so are the circumstances they find themselves in, and through no fault of their own. 

Cases are assessed by social services or the court, and in each instance, a decision is made that’s deemed to be in the child’s best interests. Below are some of the most common circumstances which can cause a child to be registered with Apple Fostering:


Children who are left at home for extended periods of time without supervision (or adequate supervision), or who may have been dropped off at a location (school, or with a babysitter, for example) and simply never collected again, are classed as having been abandoned and in need of foster care. 

Death in the family

In some instances, there is nobody willing or able to care for a child (or children) in the event of the death of one or both of their parents or primary caregiver, and foster care becomes the only solution. 


If a family member or primary caregiver has been arrested and taken to prison, there may be nobody suitable or willing to care for the child in their absence. 

Juvenile offenses

If a young offender (as defined by the court system) has a home life that isn’t conducive to keeping them on the straight and narrow, or their parents or caregivers aren’t able to manage their behaviour appropriately, foster care may be decided upon as a solution.

Medical neglect

In some cases, a birth parent may choose not to get their child the medical help they need, which can place them in grave danger. A case such as this is considered as medical neglect, and warrants them entering the foster system. 


From not giving a child enough food to failing to provide them with a safe and clean environment to live in, neglect is a significant cause of many a child ending up in foster care. 

Physical abuse

Bruising or other signs on a child that they have been injured, and that cannot be satisfactorily explained, warrant further investigation by the authorities. Although not every case ends in a child being placed in foster care (if the parents have been counselled effectively and no longer remain a threat), it can often do so.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse encompasses a wide range of things, and can involve acts such as a child being made to watch pornographic material, right up to sexual acts being performed on them, to full penetration by an adult or other family member. The seriousness of this situation means that children at risk are registered with the fostering system immediately, and removed from the home. 


If a child regularly fails to attend school without having a good reason for doing so, the parents or caregivers are held responsible. While not every child can be forced to attend school, problems of this nature may give reason for them to be placed in foster care.  

Fostering children who are struggling at home, or who may be at risk in their current environment, can be a wonderfully fulfilling and rewarding thing to do, and many who choose to foster, devote their entire lives to it. However, it’s important to remember that in the majority of instances, families are trying their hardest to care for their children, and that often the most desirable result for everyone involved, is if the parents can learn to better care for their offspring. Until then, or if the chance of that happening is slim, children can live happily with foster families who often raise them as if they were their own. 

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