Understanding the Concept of Portability in Foster Care


When it comes to foster care, “portability” may seem like a complex concept, but it is actually a crucial feature for foster families. Essentially, portability enables foster families to move their affiliation or connection from one foster organization to another. This provides more options and flexibility for families, ultimately benefiting all parties involved. This could mean moving from a county’s foster system to a foster family agency (FFA), from one agency to another, or vice versa. The core idea here is to give resource parents the freedom to associate with the organization they feel best meets their needs and those of the foster children under their care.

The Essence of Portability

Consider this: as a resource parent working under a certain county or FFA, you might, over time, find that another organization offers better support or services more aligned with your needs or the specific requirements of the foster children in your care. Portability facilitates this switch, offering flexibility and ensuring that resource parents are not bound to one organization if their needs or situations change.

Knotts Family Agency: A Case Study in Parent Delight

An example in this context is the Knotts Family Agency. Renowned for its commitment to ‘Parent Delight,’ Knotts Family Agency stands out for its approach to supporting resource parents. They understand resource families’ unique challenges and needs and process incoming porting requests with efficiency and empathy. Their focus isn’t just on the administrative aspect of portability and ensuring that resource parents feel genuinely supported and valued in their critical role.

The Process of Portability: A Closer Look

At its core, the portability process involves submitting an application to your agency of choice. This new agency then undertakes a review process, which includes conducting various checks to ensure that the transferring family meets all necessary criteria. Once these steps are satisfactorily completed, the transfer is approved. However, it’s important to note that while the process is designed to be straightforward, certain critical factors play a significant role in its outcome.

Misconceptions About Portability

A key misconception about portability is viewing it as a means to escape allegations or administrative holds. It’s crucial to understand that portability is not a workaround for circumventing issues related to one’s status as a resource parent. Any new agency or county thoroughly reviews any concerns, allegations, or negative records associated with a resource family before a transfer is approved. The safety and well-being of foster children are paramount, and these factors are non-negotiable in the consideration process.

Limits and Boundaries of Portability

Transferring to escape investigations or significant concerns about your suitability as a resource parent is not feasible through portability. The new agency will conduct a comprehensive review of your history. If there are substantial concerns, these will be factored into the decision-making process, potentially leading to the denial of your portability request.

Making an Informed Choice

When considering portability, it’s essential to make an informed choice. Researching potential new agencies or counties, understanding their services, and considering their alignment with your personal needs and values are crucial steps. Reflect on the support you need and the environment you aim to provide for the foster children in your care.

The County’s Role in the Portability Process

While the option to move to a different Foster Family Agency (FFA) can be appealing for various reasons, it’s essential to acknowledge the significant role that the county plays in this process. The county’s involvement goes beyond a mere administrative function; it is a critical component in ensuring the integrity and safety of the foster care system. One of the key aspects to consider is the response time from the involved entities. While FFAs are required to respond within 20 days with the necessary documentation, the process doesn’t end there. The county of residence, which is tasked with clearing your home for foster care, may not always adhere to this timeline. 

Delays in Portability

Delays can occur for various reasons, ranging from administrative backlog to the need for a thorough review of complex cases.  Delays in the clearance process by the county are not uncommon. In cases where there are concerns or complexities in a resource family’s history, the county’s review might take additional time to ensure all factors are thoroughly considered. The county’s responsibility extends to a thorough review of your application and past records. This is a crucial step in the portability process. The county examines your history as a resource parent, looking at factors such as your ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment, any previous allegations or concerns, and the overall quality of care provided to foster children previously in your care. 


Portability in foster care provides valuable flexibility for resource families, allowing them to find the most suitable fit for their specific needs and those of the foster children they care for. Agencies like Knotts Family Agency, known for their commitment to Parent Delight, are excellent examples of the supportive environments many resource parents seek. However, it’s vital to remember that portability is not a mechanism to sidestep issues or negative records. It’s a thoughtful process designed to empower resource families while upholding the highest standards of care and safety for foster children.


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