Foster care is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver referred to as a “foster parent”. The placement of the child is usually arranged through the government or a social-service agency. The institution, group home or foster parent is compensated for expenses.
The state via the family court and child protection agency stand in loco parentis to the minor, making all legal decisions while the foster parent is responsible for the day-to-day care of the minor.
The vast majority of children who would otherwise need foster care are in kinship care, that is, in the care of grandparents or other relatives. Most kinship care is done informally, without the involvement of a court or public organization. However, in the U.S., formal kinship care is increasingly common. In 2012, a quarter of all children in formal foster care were placed with relatives.
(Foster Care. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved August 19, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foster_care#cite_note-1)