Foster Care

Foster Care Testimonials



Testimonial2cropped"I am glad that I became a foster parent. It is not an easy job, but it is a rewarding job with many blessings!

I am so glad that I joined WIN to be a foster parent to help kids in need. I have been a foster parent with WIN Family Service for 5 years.  I have had a great experience with WIN.   I have learned so much from the WIN staff as to how to deal with kids that are in the foster care system.   Before I became a foster parent I was not sure if this was something for me.  I am a mother of 5 children whom I have raised.  I currently have in my home a 12 year old foster daughter who has lived with me for 3 1/2 years.  I have had a total of 10 kids who have come through my home for respite and short term stay.  logosmall

I have always had the support I have needed from whatever concerns I have had.  What I like mostly about the monthly meeting is when we come together we listen to problems and issues that we are having with our children and there is always input from a staff member or a parent to possibly help with a solution.  I have learned so much from these meetings. These meetings have also helped me understand my own kids when they are having issues.

I was really skeptical about becoming a parent at the time, I was not aware that Eva worked for WIN. We attended the same church and I talked to her [about the foster care program]. She gave me the information I needed for the classes and I still had to pray about it because I did not want to bring a child into my home and not be able to provide for his or her needs.  Once I got through the classes and submitted all of my required documentation, I still was not sure, but once I got my first child it was smooth sailing.  I am glad that I became a foster parent. No, it is not an easy job, but it is a rewarding job with many blessings."
- Margaret T., Foster Parent



"WIN changed my life.

I was selling drugs, stealing cars, wilding out on everyone, and transitioning through 22 foster homes. As a matter of fact, I was doing all of

that until they came along and showed me that someone cares.  They CARED. Life was hard some times, but I would not be here if they did

not save my life.

This is why I always give back to the youth and I’ll be there whenever they need me. So, thank you Win Team, I'm on the winners’ side! This you can't deny, I'm on the winning side!Thank you to my mom, my brother, my sisters,and many more for not giving up on me. I love you all. You all saved my life. ”

-Michael J., Former Foster Youth



"They made me the woman I am today and I am so grateful to say they showed and proved the definition of a team.

WIN reconnected me with my family. My experience with the WIN Team began when I was about 14 years old. I was a troubled teenager who was going from foster home to foster home to group home and all! I was an emotional wreck, losing my mother at such a young age. I lashed out at everyone. I will never forget Mr. Moore-my big brother, Mrs. Nicole and Ms. Ayo came to greet me and introduced themselves when I first entered WIN Team. I was very standoffish, I really wasn’t ready for a change going through what I have been through, still with the mind frame set that these people don’t really care.

They proved me wrong! I was so defiant. I was so angry, lashing out at the wrong people – those who wanted to help me. They were so nice and pleasant. They let me know I could trust them, which was so hard for me to do. I gave them a run for their money.

What I’m trying to say is, that they worked so hard to change the way I was thinking and how I was feeling. They gave me so much love – not just one of them, ALL of them.  I had different counselors, but a few stood out: Mrs. Katrina, Mr. Mark , Ms. Ayo, Mrs. Delvana and Mrs. T who played the role of everyone’s grandmother. These counselors stood by my side with every step I took. With the help of Mr. Al and his wife, I was placed in a wonderful home. They made sure I kept up with my appointments and they took us on various trips. It was so much more than a therapeutic foster home. It was a home with a family who cared and stuck by me when I had my child. They made sure we both were okay and they helped me out with independent living.

They made me the woman I am today and I am so grateful to say they showed and proved the definition of a team. You’re not getting one, you are getting all. To be a part of something so big is wonderful. I had my hard times, but  they stood by my side and never left. I can still come home to where I knew it all started. I forever love them and appreciate what Mr. Al created with the help of his Team."

- Ariel, Former Foster Youth



"My fervor for working with challenging youths made me one of WIN’s most dedicated parents. Shontee Mcmillan 2

Originally from Saginaw, MI I got a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University.  My major was English, Language, and Literature with Mathematics minor.  I moved to Baltimore in 2000 to become a middle school Language Arts teacher with Baltimore City Public School System.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude with my Masters in Secondary Education in 2009 from Towson University.  After teaching 6-10th grade English and Language Arts for 10 years, I became an English Adjunct Professor at Baltimore City Community College, BCCC.  I am now a Student Success Specialist/Case Manager for the Academic Acceleration for African American Males (4A) Program.

In August of 2012 I faced my greatest challenge ever…I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectum Cancer.  After doing two rounds of chemotherapy treatment, radiation, and having surgery I am blessed to be cancer free!  The past 1 ½ years has proven to be an extremely difficult occurrence for me. Because of my permanent colostomy, I became extremely self-conscious, depressed, and ultimately suicidal.  However, after 9 months of “living hell”, I woke up one day and the fog was clear, my cognitive functions were beginning to improve, and I decided to accept my NEW NORMAL.

I realize that my work here on earth is not yet done.  So, I decided to continue my passion of working with students, education, loving on family and friends while writing a book and shooting a documentary to share my story.  I am also starting a foundation called SO Shontee’.  The foundation will be for minority children who have an ostomy.  I will be able to show those children someone who looks like them while also providing books written by minority authors as well as pouch covers.  I find  reverence in two very personal scriptures from Jeremiah; 17:14 “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” and 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
-Shontee McMillan, Foster Parent



"We are writing you to tell you how privileged we were to have had Ms. Pamela Scott as our Family Specialist from WIN. She was always on top of the job. Ms. Scott was extremely professional (in appearance, her voice, and actions), yet she had that personal touch. She was also extremely dependable. Ms. Scott was very knowledgeable about her job and was a very compassionate person with high people skills.  Ms. Scott was just sheer joy to work with.  We shall miss her terribly and the Onley boys will miss her as well.  Though we'd hope to have her for much, much longer, we are most grateful for the time we did work together. We have had a few other very good workers for the boys before with various agencies, but no one ever as good as her.  Ms. Scott was absolutely the best! WIN Family Services has a real gem with her. We just had to let you know from a foster parent's perspective, just how much we valued and appreciated her. We wish her the best in her future endeavors. God Bless."

-Mr. and Mrs. White, Foster Parents





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Terms and Definitions

Abuse - The physical, mental, or sexual injury of a child by a person, who may be any household or family member, who is responsible for the child’s care or supervision, as well as any indications that a child’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened.

Access - The ability to obtain the services that you need.

Adoption - A legal process in which a person related or unrelated to a child becomes the adoptive family for that child and he/she is given all of the legal rights and privileges as if he/she were born to that family. The child’s birth parents no longer have any legal responsibilities or rights after an adoption.

Adoptive Parents/Family - Persons who did not give birth to a child, but selected that child to be a member of their family. After a legal adoption, adoptive parents have all of the legal rights of natural parents.

Aftercare - These are services provided when a child leaves foster care. The first type of aftercare is a service given to a child, his/her parent(s), or his/her relatives when he/she goes to live with them. The second type of aftercare is a service given directly to a child when he/she is between the ages of 18 and 21 to help him/her live independently.

Agency – A public or private organization providing a service.

Advocate - A person who acts or who speaks on behalf of another person to get things done for that person.

Another Planned Permanency Living Arrangement (APPLA) – A future plan in which a child is connected with a person(s) and a relationship is established, nurtured, and maintained so that he/she will have support upon leaving foster care.

Anxiety - A feeling of being fearful, worried or nervous. This may interfere with playing, learning, and a sense of well-being.

Assessment (also called evaluation) - The process of obtaining information from tests and observations.

Attorney (lawyer) - A person who will represent legal desires and interests while a child is in foster care.

Biological or Birth Parents - The two people who gave birth to a child.

Chafee (John H.) Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 – A federal law from the United States Congress that requires States to provide services and money to help youth in foster care become self-sufficient.

Child Protective Services (CPS) - A child welfare program responsible for investigating reports of child abuse and neglect as well as providing services to families in crisis. It is usually the first service that a child and family receive to prevent the child’s removal from the home and placement in foster care.

Concurrent Permanency Plans - Two future plans that detail where and with whom a child will live upon leaving foster care and the legal relationship between the child and the future caregiver(s). The child, his/her family, and his/her caseworker will work on these plans to see which is most viable and immediate.

Commitment - The process through which the local department of social services obtains the legal responsibility for foster care and placement.

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) - A trained volunteer appointed by the court to ensure the safety of children in foster care and that they receive the services they need.

Custody - A legal term describing the legal right/responsibility of either a person or an agency to make decisions about where a child should live.

Depression - Sad or lonely feelings that are sometimes caused by a certain event or hormones in the body. It may interfere with a person’s daily functions.

Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment Program (EPSDT) - A State medical program that requires that a child receive health care services that include full medical, dental exams, immunizations (shots), and laboratory work.

Eligibility - The determination that a child does or does not qualify to receive services based on certain rules.

Emergency Foster Care - Immediate placement in foster care because of a crisis related to a child or his/her family.

Foster Child - A child up to age 18 or 21 placed in the care of a local department of social services by either a voluntary placement agreement with the birth family, adoptive family, legal guardian, or by a court commitment order.

Foster Care - A short-term service consisting of placing a child in a foster family home, group facility, or semi-independent living arrangement.

Foster Care Placement - An approved family home, a group home setting, or a residential treatment facility where a child will reside 24 hours a day and receive care, nurturing, and support.

Foster Parent - A relative or non-relative adult who is approved by the local department of social services to protect, nurture, educate, and care for a child.

GED (General Education Development) - A series of reading and math schoolwork, upon completion of which a diploma is conferred.

Individual Education Program (IEP)and Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) - Educational Services Plans that are developed by the school to provide needed special education services.

Judge or Master - The head of the court who is responsible for listening to a child and others involved in his/her life. The judge or Master makes decisions about what will happen to the child.

Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) - Provides services such as foster care, medical assistance, food stamps, and financial assistance when people are in crisis.

Managed Care Organization (MCO) - A health care company that is selected to provide health care services to a child.

Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) - A state agency that oversees an agency for the local department of social services.

Medicaid - A joint federal and state health program that pays for health care services.

Mental Health Service - Services provided to assist individuals in identifying and resolving issues that impact one’s thoughts and behaviors. The main goal is to make self-improvements and learn ways to cope with an individual’s concerns.

Mentor - An individual who listens, supports, and encourages another individual. A mentor serves as a role model and helps a child get through difficult times.

Neglect - Not providing food clothing, shelter, health care, or education to a child.

Out-of-Home Placement – Short-term care that consists of 24-hour care and supervision as well as supportive services for a child whom the local department of social services has determined needs to live outside the home because the child has been abused, abandoned, neglected, or because his/her family is unable to provide care.

Permanency Plan Hearing - A court hearing for all children in foster care that must occur within 11 months of coming into foster care and every 6 months after that until a child leaves foster care.

Reunification – When a foster child returns to his/her birth parents or relatives.

Residential Placement - A private or public group type facility that provides 24-hour care for a child with medical or emotional needs.

Semi - Independent Living Arrangement (SILA) - A placement in an apartment, room or college campus for a child to practice living independently.

Service Agreement - A plan signed by two or more people that details what each person must do to get to a specific goal.

Shelter Care Order - This gives the local department of social services the right to remove a child from his/her home and place him/her in foster care.

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) - When a judge signs an order that permanently ends the ties between a child and his/her parents.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) – Temporary funds to assist families that are in crisis and need financial help.

Treatment Foster Care (TFC) - A program in which foster parents are trained to provide care for children with disabilities or serious health care needs that require special services. Youth in treatment foster care have an extra caseworker (a TFC caseworker) that sees them once a week and helps them through crises.

Transition - The process of moving from one living arrangement to another.

Voluntary Placement - When a child’s parent or guardian places him/her temporarily in foster care by signing a voluntary placement agreement with the local department of social services instead of going to court. Voluntary placement provides care for a child when his/her parents are unable to do so. If a child is in foster care voluntarily for more than six months, the court will hold a hearing to decide whether or not he/she should remain in foster care.


There are 408,000 American youth in foster care. No matter how much time you have to give, you can do something positive that will "change a lifetime" for a young person in foster care. For more information on how you can help, please visit today.

Statistics and Datalogosmall2

According to the latest AFCARS reports, there are about 408,000 children and youth currently in foster care in the United States. For more facts and statistics about foster care, see Foster Care by the Numbers and the Child Welfare Fact Sheet, both published by Casey Family Programs.

For in-depth statistical and demographic research (including state-by-state data), please visit the Children's Bureau's page on Federal Reporting Systems, which includes links to AFCARS – the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Report System – as well as to other reporting systems that collect data about issues related to child welfare.

FosterMore is a public education campaign which was made possible by a grant from the Stuart Foundation to i.e. communications, LLC. The campaign centers on a public service announcement (PSA) aired during May 2013 - National Foster Care Month. The objective of the PSA is to raise awareness and bring a more positive tone to the dialogue around children and youth in foster care.


Q: Who are the youth in treatment foster care?
A: Youth in foster care are from your neighborhood! They are youth who want to remain attached to their families despite their experiences. They are youth whose families need the help of your family.
Youth in treatment foster care are often teenagers. They come from many types of backgrounds and families. Some have been exposed to abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or substance abuse. Many are insecure, frightened, confused, and often angry about what is happening to them. Based on their specific life experiences, these youth often present challenging behaviors. Most referrals we receive are for youth over the age of 13. We do receive referrals for younger youth but not as frequently and often come in as sibling sets.

Q: Are there ever newborns and babies in treatment foster care?
A: Yes. Sadly, as Maryland is in the grips of an opioid epidemic, the number of babies born dependent on heroin and other opiates continues to climb, as well. It used to be said that these babies were born addicted to drugs, but the correct medical term is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Infants born dependent on methadone or other opiates may have mild or severe withdrawal symptoms depending on the length of time and amount drugs the mother used. Symptoms may appear in the first 24 hours and up to 72 hours after birth. Regardless of the severity of dependence, the majority of babies will suffer some withdrawal.  Babies with NAS typically have a small head circumference and low birth weight. They’re often premature. They are irritable and jittery. Their cry is high-pitched. They may sweat and have a fever. They are prone to tremors and seizures. They have eating problems, vomiting and diarrhea. They don’t sleep well. They may have increased muscle tone (stiff limbs).They develop more slowly and are at higher risk for birth defects. Babies with severe symptoms need a stay-at-home caregiver for as much as six months.

 Q: What is the normal length of stay?
A: The amount of time a youth will stay in your home depends on the particular youth and the biological family’s situation. Every effort is made to reunite parents with youth; sometimes a youth may live with you for a few days, several months or even a few years. Many foster parents grow close to their foster youth and it can be difficult when they leave. Foster parents can adopt their foster youth sometimes.

Q: Can a foster youth share a bedroom with my youth?
A: No. They must have a separate bedroom of their own, and the foster youth must have storage for his/her personal belongings. Also, adults cannot move out of their bedroom to sleep on a couch or elsewhere to make room for a foster youth.

Q: Does a foster parent choose a youth to be placed in their home?
A: Yes, a foster parent has the ability to accept or reject a possible placement when the WIN staff  contacts them. However we never have:  youth waiting to be placed;  a waitlist of youth to “choose from”; notice of when we will be getting youth; or events that provide foster parents the option to “view” or “pick” youth.

Q: How long does the process take to become a foster parent?
A: The process is dependent on how quickly you complete your application and all that is required of you. Please note that once you enter the application process, you have 120 days to become fully certified (this includes 2-4 visits for a home study.)
Q: What is the stipend and what does it cover?
A: WIN foster parents earn $49.08 each night. This is a tax free stipend that is paid monthly (30-45 days after the month of service.) Please know that the monthly stipend includes monthly allowance, food and clothing for each youth you foster.

Q: What will make me ineligible to become a foster parent?

A: I CAN'T become a foster parent if…

•    I am under 25 years of old
•    I have been convicted of a felony or charged with physical assault, battery, or a drug related offense in the last 5 years
•    I have someone living in my home that has been convicted of a felony or charged with assault,    battery, or a drug related offense in the last 5 years
•    I have or a member of my household has a positive drug test
•    I operate a day care or assisted living business inside my home
•    I or my spouse currently is in arrears with child support payments
•    I work or someone in my home works for a local child welfare services department, the Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Education, Interagency Rates, Governor’s Office of Children, Youth, and Families, and SSA or DHR
•    I plan to have my foster child sleep in a bedroom that is on a different floor than my own
•    I cannot ensure my foster child’s safe transportation to and from school, appointments, and social engagements
•    I am unable to cope with stress and change in a healthy way


More questions? Don’t worry! We can answer all your questions at our Orientation! If you have a question that should be addressed prior to orientation, please call 410-578-8003. RSVP to attend This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.