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Foster care is a system in which children who have become orphaned or were removed from abusive homes are taken care of in a temporary capacity until they are adopted or their custody situation stabilizes.

As the Orphanage of Fear has become a Dead Horse Trope, the foster care system has become the new bogeyman of Acceptable Targets. Very, very few characters (especially not main characters) are happily fostered. Their foster parents are always some variety of Abusive Parents, anywhere from "didn't care about the kid except for the money he brought in" to "treats the kid worse than the original abusive situation they escaped from in the first place". And don't expect the Department of Child Disservices to step in on their behalf, either; the kid just gets bounced to some new foster home, which will predictably turn out to be just as bad as the old one.

In the rare case that the foster parents are kind and caring, they will almost inevitably end up adopting their foster kid, leading to Happily Adopted.

Any character who has this pop up in their Back Story will gain some amount of Woobie status, and have a constant struggle with abandonment anxiety. Expect this to be a Freudian Excuse of many a villain as well, especially Serial Killers.

Not only is this sadly Truth in Television far too often, the inverse is true too; most foster parents can provide a very caring, safe environment for abused children, and it can be just as traumatizing for the children to be removed from them and sent back to their biological parents all over again. It can be even worse if those biological parents aren't ready to take care of them just yet. The experience of being removed from where you are and taken to a strange place by strange social workers is a lot like being kidnapped, and they have to deal with this repeatedly.

Related to Fostering for Profit.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Shonan 14 Days arc of Great Teacher Onizuka has Onizuka hiding and working inside the "White Swan" foster care center where it tries to whole-heartily raise several misbehaving but good-at-heart youths (especially some with experience with abusive parents) in a safe environment. A big later issue within the arc is the attempt of politicians and previously mentioned self-centered abusive parents trying to pull the children out of the foster care for their own selfish motivations.
  • Jessie from Pokémon: The Series was a foster child due to her mother Miyamotonote wanting her to have a normal life while she made enough money in Team Rocket to support her. Jessie's life as a foster kid wasn't particularly remarkable but it wasn't bad either, just pitiful like the rest of her life.

    Comic Books 
  • Following the Flashpoint reboot, Billy Batson became a Knight in Sour Armor due to a series of failed fosterings (apparently worse than living on the streets in the previous continuity). This changed when he was fostered by the Vasquezes, and reluctantly began to see them and their other foster kids as his Family of Choice.
  • Jem and the Holograms (IDW):
    • It's never clarified if Aja and Shana were formally adopted or not, however they are presumably still the foster kids of the Benton parents. Unlike in the cartoon, they're the only foster kids. They were fostered at a younger age than in the cartoon and thus grew up with the Bentons from a young age. Jerrica, Kimber, Aja, and Shana are explicitly referred to as siblings in the comic (while the cartoon instead portrayed them as close friends).
    • The comic changes the backstories of the Starlight Girls. They're all Demoted to Extra and it's never specified if they're foster kids, or not. They are just a group of kids who hang around the local community service building.
  • After the events of their miniseries, most of the Runaways ended up in foster care (except for Molly, who went to an X-Men run orphanage instead). While they were all treated well enough, they all decided that, after what they went through, they really couldn't go back to normal life. That, combined with the fact that they had all gotten extremely close, inspired them to run away all over again.
  • Superman: Clark Kent and Lois Lane had a foster son, Chris, who was Happily Adopted. Arguably doesn't count, however, since he was actually a Kryptonian stranded on Earth and the legal work was actually forged by Batman.
  • Teen Titans Academy Yearbook 2021 has a particularly horrific example in the Red X story. A couple is shown to have a dozen kids in their rundown apartment, have shaved all their heads because they're "lice factories", openly laugh when the apathetic Department of Child Disservices agent mentions a meal budget, and are actually raising the kids to be cannon fodder for Black Mask. The second Red X kills them and it's strongly implied that one of the kids becomes the third Red X.

    Fan Works 
  • In Ask the Famous 8!, Thomas and Percy are both foster children, but they ended up in the system under very different circumstances.
    • Thomas was orphaned at the age of six, when his parents were killed in a car accident. From there, he was taken in the care of his closest living relatives, his distant aunts Annie and Clarabel Clementine. Though they loved him deeply, they were ultimately unprepared to raise a child, so they put him in the Shining Time care center on Sodor.
    • Percy was abandoned on a doorstep by his mother, who did not feel ready to raise a child just yet. From there, he was taken to a hospital until he no longer needed constant care, and he was soon sent to the Shining Time care center.
  • In Asylum (Daemon of Decay), Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are so close because they were foster sisters growing up.
  • Forbiden Fruit: The Tempation of Edward Cullen's protagonist Atlantiana is a foster kid. Her new foster parents are 'very nice and hole some people' (sic) but completely oblivious to the situations she finds herself in.
  • In Lost Boy, Spitelout manages to convince Stoick to allow Hiccup into their home as a means of preventing scandal among the village. What follows is Spitelout, his wife Ava and Snotlout forcing him to work every waking hour, giving him half a meal for dinner and forcing him to sleep on the cold hard floor in Snotlout's room, all the while verbally abusing him every chance they get, becoming physically violent when he defends Stoick's honor by hitting Snotlout.
  • In the Motion Practice series, which recasts various Marvel superheroes as lawyers, Bruce Banner's area of expertise is child protection law, so he deals with foster children several times. During the course of the series, he also takes on foster children himself. He's a good foster parent; some of the others we hear about, less so.
  • My Hero Academia: “Foster kid Shinso Hitoshi” is an entire Archive Of Our Own tag. The stories have him abused, muzzled and shuffled between foster homes before Aizawa finds out and takes him in with a pro hero emergncy foster license. Sometimes he’ll get Todoroki, Bakugo and even Midoriya too despite Midoriya having a decent canon mom. It’s common for Present Mic to reveal he was also a muzzled foster kid and bond with Hitoshi over it. A few examples include The Aizawa-Yamada Family series, Better and Home
  • In The Outside, Ryuuko eventually ends up as a foster kid when she's subsequently removed from her sister's care and placed in a group home while social services look for her mother. The place isn't really bad and the kids there are taken care of but Ryuuko obviously doesn't like it there and would much prefer to be with her sister. There she meets two other foster kids, Shiro Iori and Nui, that former having been in the home since he eight and the latter being there for as a long as she can remember.
    • In different story by the same author, Secret Sunshine, we know that Ryuuko was one of these (she mentions getting "moved from home to home") and, as we find out, Sukuyo was her foster mother, after the former ran away from a previous home. While we can see that Sukuyo provided a loving home to her, Ryuuko still has hang ups about being abandoned by her family.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic Prison Island Break, Shadow is revealed to have been a Foster child, having gone through multiple care homes, the final Foster home resulting in him being sexually abused.
  • In Son of the Sannin, Haku is placed in the custody of Hayate and Yugao following Zabuza's arrest. They're told that they'll be free to leave once Zabuza's incarceration and parole have finished, though Jiraya is banking on Haku becoming attached enough to the village in the intervening years to stay and start a family (thus bolstering the village's ranks with the Yuki clan's Ice Release). Zabuza "disowned" him at the end of the Kirigaguke Civil War arc so he wouldn't be forced to abandon his friends and it's implied that Hayate and Yugao officially adopted him during the Time Skip.
  • In Speed and Purpose, Sonic was a foster kid growing up. He arrived in his hometown, parentless and amnesiac, at age five. Because there weren't any hedgehog families to home him with, he's become a "pass the parcel" child in his village. He stays with a family for several months before he switches families again. At age fourteen he is finally allowed to get his own house and take care of himself (though the village council gives him an allowance until he's eighteen).
  • The X-Men: First Class series Stars from Home has Ororo in this situation, while Scott is Happily Adopted, both with Charles and Ruth. They're treated the same and refer to each other as brother and sister.
  • Today, Tomorrow, and Forever revolves around Derpy Hooves' daughter Dinky being put in foster care after Foal Services finds Derpy unable to take care of her due to former's disability.
  • In the third chapter of What a Strange Little Colt, Rainbow Dash decides to start fostering Gabriel.
  • Nora and Ren were both orphaned at five in You and Me (and Everyone in Between). Glynda began fostering them soon afterwards. She adopted them a few years later.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Teen Titans from Justice League vs. Teen Titans are portrayed as being super-powered children at a foster home, each of the members being portrayed like troubled teens who are unable to be with their families due to either being orphaned (like with Raven and Beast Boy) or their super-powered situations making their presence too dangerous for their families (like with Blue Beetle), with the young-adult Starfire acting as their caretaker at Titans Tower.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Annie (2014), as part of its Setting Update, changes the title character's circumstances from an orphanage to a foster home. People occasionally refer to her as "little orphan Annie", which she insistently corrects to "foster kid" each time.
  • Big Daddy has a young child left at the front door, with the social worker claiming that Sonny is responsible for raising Julian, and not being given much warning otherwise.
  • Blue Bayou: Antonio mentions that his 'adoptive' parents gave him up after six months, and he bounced from foster home to foster home before eventually ending up at one that was abusive.
  • The Christmas Bunny: Julia was taken away by Child Services from her biological mother, an abusive (implied) drug addicted sex worker. When the film starts, she’s at her third foster home. She’s adopted by them after her mother surrenders her parental rights.
  • Foster is a 2019 HBO documentary about foster children, foster parents, and parents whose kids are in foster care.
  • Ashburn from The Heat, who is a Broken Ace at the FBI with a Friendless Background apparently as a result of growing up in foster care, and when Mullins finds out she refers to her as "Foster Kid" in a teasing manner, only at the end of the film to give her a card saying "Foster kid - now you have a sister."
  • Jem and the Holograms (2015) de-ages the titular characters to teenagers. Jerrica and Kimber live with their aunt Bailey, who has fostered Shana and Aja. Aja is mentioned to have spent time in juvenile hall.
  • Cassie Webb from Madame Web (2024), was one of these after her mother's death, and it's all but said her miserable experience contributed massively to her spiky and antisocial personality in the present. When she tries to tell a scared Anya that foster care isn't that bad, Mattie calls her out on that being bullshit, something Cassie doesn't even try to deny.
    Cassie: I was the perfect foster kid. Peed outside and everything.
  • Meadowland: Adam's foster parents assumed they would be getting a neurotypical child, and were not pleased to learn about his Asperger's. His mother yells insults at him when he forgets his lunch, which is often. His father doesn't seem to pay much attention to him.
  • The Rage: Carrie 2's Rachel was put into the foster system after her crazily religious mother was taken away. Her foster parents are white trash, who occasionally hit her, and are after the extra allowance.
  • In Reform School Girls, Lisa is a foster kid who has repeatedly run away from her foster homes. She is being sent to reform school till she turns eighteen.
  • SHAZAM! (2019): As in the comics, Billy Batson, as well as his five foster siblings. Initially, Billy resists this, since he's been searching for years for his birth mom and is standoffish to his foster families, making it clear that he doesn't really see them as his actual family. However, once he finds his biological mother and learns that she abandoned him on purpose as a child and doesn't want to be part of his life, he fully accepts and embraces the Vasquez household as his true home, becoming Happily Adopted.
  • Short Term 12: Mason is a positive example, having been fostered by a loving couple along with many other children, and turned out well because of it.

  • In The Baby-Sitters Club, the Papadakises foster Lou McNally, and her older brother is with another foster family. When they go to live with their aunt and uncle, Lou receives The Great Gilly Hopkins as one of her going-away presents.
  • Bud, Not Buddy: Since his mother's death four years ago, Bud has mostly lived in an orphanage, but has had three very temporary foster placements, all of which were terrible. The third involves a Spoiled Brat Big Brother Bully who gets his parents to lock Bud in a shed overnight. Bud breaks out of the shed and runs away.
  • In The Cheetah Girls books and movies, Dorinda is a foster kid, although she keeps this secret from her friends. One book has a plot where her foster parents try to adopt her, but since her foster mother was illiterate she couldn't fill out the paperwork.
  • April, the title character of Dustbin Baby, has been in several foster homes. The novel might briefly refer to Tracy, and also shows Tanya, a foster kid from Bad Girls.
  • In the German novel Gottes Bodenpersonal: Eine Unwahrscheinliche Liebesgeschichte, the two male protagonists foster a teen boy who has been living on the streets for most of his life. He originally lived on the streets because he didn't want a foster family, suspecting that he would be sexually abused there. He decided that if he was to be sexually abused by adult men, he might as well take money for it, and lived as street prostitute. He met his future foster father by propositioning him, and the polite rejection of this offer and subsequent attempt to help him get out of prostitution was what made him trust the man. No adoption takes place in the course of the novel, which is explained as being due to the stricter regulations on adoption, and the problems a homosexual couple would face.
  • The titular character in Katherine Paterson's novel The Great Gilly Hopkins is currently in the system.
  • Dee's love interest, James, in The Hearts We Sold, entered foster care at a young age, and aged out without being adopted. He's relatively well-adjusted, all things considered, but his lack of a real support system lays the groundwork for his role in the plot.
  • Austin, the protagonist of Hollow Places, was a foster kid. Lucky for him, they ended up being much better than his real parents.
  • Marcus from If I Fall, If I Die was on his sixth foster home at the time of his disappearance. The second home was the worst - his parents kept him in chicken-wire shackles at night and abused him with various household tools, leaving him covered in scars. The sixth home made him stay out of the house from nine to five even when he was sick because they thought he was a bad influence on the other kids.
  • In The Illustrated Mum, Dolphin and later Star end up in a foster home.
  • Lily Alone ends with Lily and her siblings split up in different foster homes, and their mother arrested for child neglect and credit card fraud.
  • In Maggie Now by Betty Smith, the titular character and her husband are unable to have kids, so she becomes a foster mom for orphans taken in by the church. She can only care for them for a set period of time before they are taken away. Eventually, he husband catches a horrible illness and she is no longer allowed to take in any foster children.
  • Sam from The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester spent their early life in foster care. Before they were adopted, they were a mute, self-injurious child who had been diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder. They finally started talking after being adopted.
  • Lost Voices: When Luce was eight, she was taken from her father, a petty criminal. She spent months in foster care before her father picked her up again when she was nine. After that, they had to stay out of Texas so her father wouldn't be arrested for kidnapping her.
  • Maya from The Mermaid Chronicles lives in foster care and doesn't know who her biological parents are. Her placement actually seems pretty good - she loves her foster siblings even though they annoy her. It turns out that she comes from a long line of prophecy interpreters. Her parents were killed at sea while protecting the mermaids.
  • Nickel from Nickel Plated was removed from his biological mother at a young age and lived between the ages of four and eight with a detective who was the only good parental figure he ever had. After the detective was murdered, he lived with a series of abusive foster families, the last of which turned out to be child pornographers. Nickel escaped and, it's implied, murdered them, and is now a Minor Living Alone who considers going back into foster care to be a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Pilgrennon's Children has autistic twins Dana and Cale, who lived in an institution before they were placed with foster parents Pauline and Graeme. The parents genuinely care about them, but Dana is still miserable with them because of severe bullying at her school.
  • Rain Reign: When Wesley Howard was ten, he and his younger brother Weldon were removed from their abusive single father's home and placed in foster care. They lived in a total of seven foster homes before they turned eighteen. The longest they ever stayed with a family was 21 months. The shortest was 78 days.
  • Bo from Run has been this before, but was eventually returned to her mama's custody. She had it so bad that she doesn't want to call social services on her again, even if things get bad, which is why she opts to run away instead at the beginning of the book. At the end of the book she is put into the system, but is lucky enough to end up with a very kind family.
  • The Someday Birds: After Ludmila and her brother Amar arrived in the United States, they were split up. Amar was sent to a military school for boys, while Ludmila went through a series of foster homes. Some were good, and some were terrible. Her favorite was the astrophysicist Dr. Joan, with whom she is still in contact.
  • Tracy in The Story of Tracy Beaker has been in two foster homes.
  • They Cage the Animals at Night is an autobiographical novel about a boy's experiences at an Orphanage of Fear and later various foster homes in the 1940s and 1950s. His first foster home is so bad that he's brought back to the orphanage within a couple of days because his foster dad couldn't handle his wife abusing another one of their foster kids (which they only keep around for money).
  • In The Unicorn Club (a spin-off of Sweet Valley High), Mary Wallace used to be in foster care, and Ellie is temporarily there.
  • Cats in Warrior Cats rarely adopt kits. Most kits are treated as foster children (usually unknowingly). Examples includes Cloudtail, Mistystar, Stonefur, Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather.
  • Alvie from When My Heart Joins the Thousand became a foster kid at age eleven after her mother's death and a stay in a psychiatric hospital. She lived in several homes, but none of them worked out - she was a difficult kid, and the parents didn't understand her boundaries. Eventually she was placed in a group home for emotionally troubled teenagers, which turned out to be the worst place of all, due to the severe bullying that went on. Eventually she persuaded a judge to let her become a Minor Living Alone as long as a social worker checks up on her twice a month.
  • Wildflower Ranch: After Alyssa and Ethan's mom leaves them, they're briefly placed with a foster couple called the Woodards before Alyssa is sent to the titular ranch and Ethan is sent to live with his grandparents.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alma's Not Normal: Alma was moved around the care system a bit after her mother became incapable of caring for her.
  • Bones: Played straight with Brennan's foster parents who locked her in a trunk for two days for breaking a plate. Averted with Sweets who was abused, only to be adopted by a lovely older couple. Brennan also gets very defensive when people talk about foster kids in a negative light.
  • Part of Sara Sidle's backstory in CSI. Her mother killed her father, who was abusive to both her and her mother. Sara ended up in foster care.
  • CSI: Miami: Horatio finds out he has a kid who's been bouncing around the Foster system.
  • CSI: NY: Stella Bonasera. Her foster sister is a suspect in the crossover episode with Cold Case, "Cold Reveal."
  • Diagnosis: Murder: In later episodes, Dr. Amanda Bentley adopted a child named Dion, who had been abused by his previous foster parents. Dr. Bentley herself was a foster child who was Happily Adopted. A bit of Actor-Shared Background, as actress Victoria Rowell was also a foster child.
  • Diff'rent Strokes: One of the last episodes of the series, Season 8's "Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown," sees Sam get into a fight with another kid who is a foster child, the fight borne out of the boy's extreme envy and jealousy of Sam's posh life. Willis reminds Sam that he and Arnold could easily have ended up in foster care (either temporarily staying with families or living in group homes), but it was averted when Mr. Drummond took them in and adopted them. By episode's end, Mr. D who is being featured on a TV series uses his opportunity to encourage the adoption of older children.
  • Growing up, Cassie from Elementary spent time in orphanages and then in foster care. A season nine episode has her asking Joan and Sherlock to help with a case involving one of her foster mom's who was murdered.
  • Four of the five kids from The Fosters, with Jesus and Mariana having been subsequently adopted and Stef and Lena planning on adopting Jude and Callie
  • A recurring character type in Home and Away, mainly with members of Sally's family. The inverse also occurred fairly early on, when original character Lynn Davenport left to rejoin her biological parents.
  • Leverage:
    • Parker, the Classy Cat-Burglar, is implied to have grown up in the system, and this becomes something of a sore issue for her when they foil an adoption scam.
    • Hardison, on the other hand, is one of the few happily fostered examples—his foster mom, who he calls Nana, was apparently an extremely positive influence on his life. He's also mentioned learning social skills when he was fostered by door-to-door missionaries.
  • In Major Crimes, Rusty Beck is put in the custody of the protagonist herself after threatening to run away from his latest set of foster parents.
    Rusty: They were telling me what to do all day long, like, even what I could eat! And they would turn off the television at nine o'clock. Every night.
    Sharon: were tortured.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles has Callen who had been to no less than 37 foster homes over the course of his life.
  • The Office (US): This is part of Erin's backstory and she does have some angst over it. She does get reunited with her birth parents in the series finale.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Emma Swan, due to being found on the side of the road. She was taken in by a couple who gave her up after they had a baby of their own, and she grew up a ward of the state. Her experience was very negative, and as an adult she starts out prickly and unwilling to form attachments to anyone. She defrosts as the series goes on. It's later revealed that she was nearly Happily Adopted by Ingrid the Snow Queen, but her memories of that were erased. note 
    • Later episodes reveal that Pinnocchio aka August was in the system too, and abandoned baby Emma in order to escape their house.
    • The episode "True North" revolves around Emma trying to track down the birth father of two orphaned children to prevent them from becoming this. From her past experiences, she is determined not to let them enter the system. As they're two different sexes, they also risk being sent to different homes.
  • Orphan Black: Sarah and Felix were raised by Mrs. S., Sarah after being an orphan brought in from... "the black."
  • Just as Punky Brewster centered upon a 7-year-old foster child, the short-lived reboot Punky Brewster (2021) featured the adult Punky taking in a 7-year-old foster child of her own.
  • Hunter on Queer as Folk (US): played straight before Hunter ever appears on the show; apparently he ran away from a foster home because he was abused there. He's eventually taken in by Michael and Ben and seems to be happy there, but then this trope is inverted when his mother (who originally lost custody of him because she used drugs and forced him into prostitution) shows up and wants him back, and actually gets custody. Then she screws it up before they've even left the courtroom, by freaking out when she learns that Hunter is HIV-positive, and promptly loses custody again, to Michael and Ben who officially become Hunter's foster parents. From then on, this trope is averted and at the very end of the series, they offer to adopt him when they notice that he's been using their last names on his school books.
  • Ricky from The Secret Life of the American Teenager is a foster kid, but he has very loving and supportive foster parents and he even refers to them as his mom and dad.
  • In Shameless (US), Kevin was one when he was younger, which causes him to be eager to subsequently foster a 13 year old girl named Ethel who had been removed from a polygamous cult whose leader had married her at 11 and had sex with her enough times to give her a son.
  • Stargate SG-1: Daniel Jackson has this as a part of his backstory. Specifically, his parents were killed in a freak accident (which he witnessed) when he was about eight years old, and his only living relative was his maternal grandfather, who refused to take him in because he felt he was too busy to raise a child. Beyond this, the details are unclear we don't know how his relationships with his foster families were but based on his relationships later in life he never considered himself to have a family until his team stepped in and filled that role.
  • Supernatural: When Claire Novak resurfaces in Season 10, this is her backstory. After her father abandons her to become Castiel's vessel and then her mother abandons her to look for Castiel/Jimmy, Claire winds up bouncing from foster home to foster home. Eventually, however, she's taken in by Jody Mills, who offers her a stable and loving home.
  • Wynonna Earp includes Wynonna bouncing around the foster care system as part of her backstory. Especially notable since her younger sister Waverly was decidedly not this trope—Waverly was raised by loving family friends after Ward Earp's death. Presumably they couldn't handle Wynonna's troublemaking ways.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Karli from Sesame Street is a young muppet monster who is in foster care because her mother struggles with addiction. (Although this is only explicitly stated in special community outreach videos - in the regular show, we’re just told her mom needs to “get better”.)

    Video Games 
  • Adam Bentley, a recurring Maple Heights suspect from Criminal Case: Grimsborough, is revealed to have come from the foster system before becoming a socialite, and knew the victim from Case 50 from his old foster home.
  • In the backstory of the Seed brothers of Far Cry 5, they were removed from the house of their abusive parents as children, with John being adopted (by another abusive family), Jacob going to juvie and ending up in the military, and Joseph spending the rest of his childhood shuffled around from foster home to foster home. No one ever kept him for long when he brought up the Voice he could hear in his head.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War: The protagonist, Alex, mentions that he/she lived with his/her foster parents in Chicago. That's about as much as we know about them, since Alex displays no real emotion about their death following the terrorist attack in the game's opening. Their existence also serves to foreshadow the reveal that Alex is actually a clone of JC Denton and does not have biological parents.
  • Ivan from Golden Sun is fostered by Lord Hammet and Lady Layana of Kalay, but he's very happy with them and will destroy anyone who endangers them. It's later revealed that Ivan's birth family were not harmful or dead; they're Jupiter Adepts from Contigo who predicted his need to be living in Kalay at a certain time, and arranged things so he would be where he needed to be. In Dark Dawn, it's noted that he remained in Kalay and helped the refugees from Vale settle there.

    Web Animation 
  • ACTUALLY HAPPENED: I've Had 3 Foster Families, And I've Seen Things is about a teenage girl named Chloe who was put into foster care because of her mother's death when she was fourteen. Her first foster family were her neglectful aunt and uncle, her second foster family was an abusive couple who only fostered for money, and her second foster mother was a caring mother whose son died a few years prior. The last one, Susan, later formally adopted Chloe.

  • Steven in Ask White Pearl and Steven (almost!) anything has been passed across different foster homes before landing with an abusive foster family before he runs away when White Pearl finds him.
  • Red in Red's Planet. The foster home is not bad, she's just adamant that she doesn't need to be adopted, because she's not an orphan. She also thinks that she has unlimited license to run away. The sheriff breaks it to her that after the third time, they won't just dump her in another home.

    Web Original 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: Graham gets legal guardianship of Jamie, so that he can get help for the boy's nightmares and so that he can be kept away from his Abusive Parents.
  • Hannah Johnson, from Heroes Save the World. She's been moved to a new home more than once by the time that the story starts.

    Western Animation 
  • The 1980s cartoon Jem has Starlight House as a rare positive example of a foster home. The Benton parents decided to foster girls after having two biological children of their own because Jacqui had been a foster child herself. Aja and Shana, the first two foster kids, grew up alongside Jerrica and Kimber and as a result they're all very close. After both parents died, the Benton sisters decided to take over the foster home. The seldom seen Ms. Bailey apparently takes care of the girls while the band is out touring.
  • The Last Kids on Earth: The main character, Jack Sullivan, grew up in the foster care system. The foster family he was living with when the monster apocalypse hit left town without him.
  • The Simpsons: Bart, Lisa, and Maggie were once placed in a loving, if extremely weird (to them), family: The Flanderses. They were back with Homer and Marge by the end, once the Simpson parents took a parenting class that was tough for Homer and humiliating for Marge.
  • On South Park, Kenny and his sister are removed from their drunken, drug-dealing parents and sent to a foster home with about a dozen other children, headed by a pair of abusive, fundamentalist agnostics (no, that's not a typo). Cartman later frames his mom for dealing drugs, under the false impression that he'll be taken in by some rich family, and winds up in the same place. The Department of Child Disservices is actually semi-competent here, with their case worker horrified when he realizes how bad the place is.
  • Toyman's first appearance in Superman: The Animated Series gives this as his backstory — Toyman's father took a loan from gangster Bruno Mannheim, was forced to allow his toy factory to be used as a front for Mannheim's criminal enterprises, and took the fall when the police closed in. Toyman's criminal motif is a twisted way of reclaiming his lost childhood.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: After his mother left shortly after his birth in order to protect him and his father died when he was a child, Keith entered the foster system. Several years later, he was recruited to the Galaxy Garrison by Shiro.

Alternative Title(s): The Foster Kid