Can You Travel With Foster Kids? Find Out Here!

Cute baby boy waiting boarding to flight in airport transit hall near departure gate. Active family lifestyle travel by air with child on vacation

Are Holidays Allowed With Foster Kids? - Our Guide

When the holidays come around, figuring out whether or not to include your foster child in your travel plans can be overwhelming, should you cancel your trip? Avoid international travel? 

Well, there is no reason as to why you can't take your foster kids on holiday as long as you have approval from the foster care agency, but this is a personal decision that has many other factors involved too.

Down below, we've put together an informative guide that will take you through whether or not you should take your kids on holiday as foster parents, when not to, some rules for travelling with a foster child, important factors to consider and the benefits of doing so.

Should I Bring My Foster Kids Travelling? 

As a foster family, the idea of having to leave your foster child at home for international travel or to visit the family during the holidays can be unthinkable for many of us. 

However, every foster child is different, most of the time taking a foster child on holiday is fine if you have the foster agency authority, but if the holiday is to see extended family, it might be too overwhelming for them. 

Also, consider whether you have abused children or the age of children, some family holidays might be uncomfortable for them depending on their background. 

On the other hand, bringing your foster child on vacation could be great for them, helping them grow social skills and develop confidence. 

When Not To Take Your Foster Kids On Holiday 

Being foster parents means considering the welfare of your foster child before making any big decision that could affect them. 

We've listed some main reasons to consider which are in favour of not taking your foster child on holiday.

  • Your new foster parents - If you're new to foster care you might still be getting to grips with your lifestyle and bonding/getting to know your foster child. In this case, it might be best to get to know your child better first before going on holiday with them.
  • The foster child says no - As foster parents, even if you think taking your foster child travelling is a good idea, the child might be uncomfortable or just not ready to take a family vacation yet.
  • You need a break - If you're taking a holiday to have a break from foster care, understand this is the time you need to restore so you can be foster parents, don't feel guilty about taking time out.
  • The foster child's age - Think about what you will be doing on holiday, will you be doing activities that your foster child can enjoy their age? Is the holiday suited to them or will they get bored?
  • Foster child behaviours - Consider the behaviours of your foster child, do they have mental health issues? Could they run off? These might not be worth risking for a holiday.

What Are The Rules For Travelling With Foster Kids? 

Depending on where you are in the world, there are different rules about travelling with foster kids abroad and in-country, we've listed the varying rules below if you were in the US. 

  • In-state holidays - In-state travel with foster care is typically allowed as long as you notify and get approval from the child's case manager.
  • Out of state holidays - For travelling between states, you will need approval from the birth parent if required who can deny, you will also need approval from the court, GAL and county. Some medical documents will be needed too and you have to give a 10-day notice.
  • International travel - For international travel, the same rules as out of state apply but you will need written consent from the regional director too plus approval of the passport from the parent. You will likely need to provide a current photo of the child plus contact information.

What To Consider Before Travelling With Your Foster Kid 

If you are still unsure about your decision of whether or not to take your foster child on holiday with you, we've listed some of the most important points to consider before travelling with your children. 

Think About Reunification 

Always consider how close your foster adult children or young children might be to reunification with their parents, taking a holiday right before they reunite with their single parent after taking them to a family get-together can be very overwhelming for them. 

It's worth checking if the child might be required to spend holidays with their birth parents too.

Preparing Interaction With Children 

If you are taking your foster child to a family gathering, you will need to prepare your kid beforehand, as well as your family.

For example, if you will be visiting a large number of people with your child, they might not be used to seeing this much-extended family, especially if they are not related. Tell them about who you will be meeting and how they might act. 

The same goes for the family you will be staying with, let them know more about your foster child and what to expect before bringing them, this can make the experience more settling for children.

Sleeping Space 

It is a legal requirement to make sure your foster kid has good sleeping arrangements, sharing space might not be optional and make the child uncomfortable. A family home type environment is ideal for foster children to feel at routine. 

Plan It Around Therapy

If your child is undergoing therapy, you will need to make sure it is okay for your kid to miss some sessions while on holiday, or plan to do them around the holiday/online so as they can avoid missing out.

Understanding Their Needs 

If your foster child struggles to fit in, make the holiday tailored to their needs, if they need alone time plan activities where they can recoup, and even make them a photographer to sideline situations rather than be the centre of attention.

Benefits Of Travelling With Foster Kids 

If you can get the right authority from your foster care agency to take your kid on holiday with you, there are a huge number of benefits your kid will have from the experience, which might sway your decision.

  • Discover new cultures - Travelling to new destinations allows foster children to immerse themselves in a different culture, see how others live and try new cuisine.
  • Allows them to experience a family holiday - Many foster kids have never experienced how a true family holiday feels, this can encourage more anxious and shy foster children to interact more and enjoy themselves.
  • Helps them feel included - Going away as a foster family helps foster kids to feel included like other kids who go away for holidays and stops them from isolating themselves.
  • Develops confidence - Travelling away on holiday gives a new setting for children, encouraging them to try new things and improve their social skills like choosing somewhere to eat or packing their bag.

Frequently Asked Questions About Travelling With Foster Kids 

What are some travel restrictions when travelling with foster kids? 

There are no travel restrictions when travelling with foster kids as long as you have all the required documents, approval from the parents and foster agency and so on depending on if you travelling internationally.

How can I make travel arrangements more comfortable for my foster child?

It's a good idea to give your child a run over of the detailed travel itinerary so they can know what to expect and who they will be meeting, this helps them to mentally prepare themselves and ask any questions.

Do I need approval from the biological parents before travelling? 

When required yes, you will need approval from the parents before inter-state or international travel with your foster child.

How long in advance should I let the foster care agency know before travelling?

Most foster care agencies require you to tell them 10 days before travelling about your plans, for an international trip however we would give notice earlier so that all documents can be finalised without a rush.

Final Words 

Parental drug use is increasingly cited as the reason to remove kids from their homes and place them in foster care. Some argue more should be done to keep families together.

Overall, you can travel on holiday with your foster kids as long as you have authority from the foster care agency and all the necessary documents.

You should always consider factors such as reunification and the personal child's needs before taking a holiday, this can all affect their well being and whether or not a holiday would be beneficial for them.

About this Guide

Written By Alex
Last Updated On April 8, 2022
Reading Time 
8 minutes
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