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Being a foster parent requires a little more planning and coordination when taking vacation or parental leave (if you qualify) from your employment. You don’t get nine months to plan towards their arrival and you can’t always predict when they might leave your home. Keep these periods in mind as you think about taking time off work as a foster or adoptive parent.


Having at least a portion of your leave as close to move-in can be really helpful allowing you to focus on the kids and have more time for them. For babies, you’ll need to get used to their sleep schedule. For older kids, you’ll have a lot of “getting to know them” to do, and being at work can make this a challenge. Note: you might be able to take a portion of your leave before a placement so if you need time to prep your house take advantage of this as you will have much less free time once kiddos arrive.

Summer or School Breaks

If you have school-aged foster kids moving in, taking off 12 weeks while they are in school most of the day isn’t going to help much. While it can be good to have some free time back, leave is best used when you can spend time with the kids and you might regret not having time off when they are home later. Planning to use portions during longer school breaks (like Summer) is a great use so research what your local school districts schedule is so you can do some longer-term planning.

Major Court Dates

You and the kids can go through a lot of mental and emotional strain leading up to court dates (especially situations like the Termination of Parental Rights or Adoption) and after the child learns of the outcome. Reserving time-off for this period can avoid feeling distracted at work and allow you to be there for the kids if they are struggling with heartbreaking news.

Transition Periods

Change can happen fast but you might also be able to coordinate with your caseworker and the future placement of your foster children to plan a transition time that suits everyone. If your child is moving across states you might want to go with them to ease them into their new home and schedule. Or you might need some time to help them pack and get the logistics figured out. Or you might need time for yourself to grieve and process the feelings of a child leaving your home.