Vacations are amazing. You get a chance to get out of your routine, relax, build relationships with family, and make fond memories. It has been said that even just knowing a vacation is on its way can improve productivity, reduce burnout, and improve health.

Having a foster child can change a lot of plans. But what about vacations plans? Can’t they just come, too? The answer is: maybe.

Talk to your case worker.

Your case worker will have a number of questions for you.

Where are you going?

How long will you be gone?

Where will you be staying?

Your caseworker will need to know the answers to these questions (and more) to know how to determine approval. Crossing county, state, or even international boundaries will make a difference. Anything longer than 48-72 hours will have other considerations for approval. You will need to provide an actual address and let your case worker know the type of accommodations. Will you be staying with someone? At a hotel?

Get permission from the Court

Some vacations will need special approval. In these circumstances, vacations will need to be approved through the court system. You may be wise to simplify your vacation plans. Rather than taking a two-month tour of Europe, consider taking a trip that doesn’t require a passport. If your sights are set on a tropical vacation, a cruise may be a possibility. As long as the ship leaves from and returns to the US, you may only need a birth certificate. The court will consider each child’s individual needs, as it is not a “one-size-fits-all” answer.

Bring your paperwork. 

Once you have approval, make sure to keep a copy of the paperwork with you. Make sure to also create a digital backup or leave a copy with a friend. You don’t want to be without it if you need it. And while you are packing, make sure to include the child’s Medicaid or insurance card.

With summer on the way, the desire to plan a vacation grows. Go ahead and make a plan. Your foster child may be able to join you—and create memories to last a lifetime.

What kind of vacations have you planned with your foster children? Did anything help with the approval process?