Foster Care in California

Children all over the United States live in foster care. What is foster care? Foster care in California is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, private home of a state-certified caregiver referred to as a foster parent or even a family member approved by the state. If a foster parent is state-certified, what does it take to become a foster parent? The rules of becoming a foster parent are different in every state. For instance, foster care in California requires you to be licensed.

Licensing comes through a process in which a licensing worker will visit your home and meet with you and your family members. The law requires that you have a minimum of personal, safety, and space requirements. Once you have become licensed, you will work with social services to determine the ages of foster children that best fit your home and family.

As specified above, foster care is different in California. There is a program called the Resource Family Approval Program. This program combines elements of the current foster parent licensing, relative approval processes, and approvals for adoption and guardianship and replaces those processes. It is a more streamlined approach, and it eliminates the duplication of the existing processes. It unifies approval standards among all caregivers, includes a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, does home environment check, and offers training for all families.

The sole purpose of a resource family is to provide a sense of safety, permanency, and well-being for the child while the child is in their care. Resource families work with the child’s biological parents and the Child Welfare Services to successfully return the child to his or her parents. If you are interested in becoming a Resource Family, contact your county Child Welfare Services. 

So how many children in California are waiting for a home? In California, there are more than 55,000 children in foster care. About 34 percent of these children are placed with relatives. The majority will return home to their families, but 5,500 are adopted each year with 2,000 children needing an adoptive home every day. Are you interested in becoming a foster family or an adoptive family? Contact the child welfare services in your area.

For more information visit the Department of Social Services or check out California Foster Care and Adoption Guidelines here.