Rescue Journal

understanding fostering programs in rescue...

Carol  ·  Feb. 17, 2016

every rescue that offers a fostering program will develop a unique program to suit the needs of their rescues.
there isn't a cookie cutter version of one size fits all because rescues themselves are unique.
some rescues do fosters to adopt prior to full adoption approval.
some do temporary fosters to help get the animal properly assessed, address any issues and to get the animal ready for an adoptive home.
some actually discourage their fosters from adopting because there is a continuous need for experienced short term housing of rescues and if fosters adopt, there is one space less available to help any incoming.
some do permanent foster programs where the animal is placed in a foster home for the rest of his or her life.
and some do a combination of all of the above.
some rescues pay for everything... food, vet care, special equipment, grooming, training.
some pay for certain things only..full or partial medical care, for all medical issues or just pre-existing medical issues, nail trims on difficult animals who may need sedation but not for the easy ones who can be done at home or by a groomer, special medical diets but not personal preference diets, like raw food.

the only real thing that all rescues have in common as far as their foster programs are concerned is that the rescue is the sole guardian/legal owner of the animal in foster care.

there are some things that go along with this ownership if the rescue is the legal owner, then the rescue makes all decisions and it is up to the individual rescues to decide how much input foster families ultimately have into those decisions.

if rescues are covering medical care and costs for their animals in foster care then it is the rescues who are the paying clients of the vet clinics, not the is the rescue and vet clinic that have the primary contracted working relationship. in other words the clinic and rescue have decided the context and rules of the relationship..the clinic is obligated to the rescue and the rescue to the clinic. fosters are obligated to their rescue and rescue to their fosters. but the clinics work for the rescue because it is the rescue paying the bills. and the rescue works cooperatively with the clinics so their animals receive the care that they need without a bunch of drama.

it gets confusing because foster families are to some degree the animal's real family except the rescue is legally and financially responsible. and that makes the rescue the actual legal "parent' of the fostered animal.

foster programs sound like a great deal..someone gets an animal to love without having to pay all or some of the bills. but there are constraints in fostering like really..the animal is really just on loan, he or she belongs in all legal respects to the rescue.

i encourage anyone interested in fostering for any shelter or rescue to take the time to understand what fostering actually means to the organization and the expectations required of both foster families and the rescue in regards to the animal's ongoing care.

to assume that saints program is the same as the spca's or the spca's is the same as animal control's or rescue A's is the same as rescue H's is going to lead to possible confusion or conflict.
all of the foster programs are going to be different..maybe in small ways, maybe in big ways maybe in both big and small ways.

the only thing we all share in common is legally and morally, the animal remains the rescue's/shelter's animal until actual adoption or death.