Resource Parents FAQ and Information

What is a resource parent?

A resource parent, or resource family, is the new umbrella term used in the state of California to refer to adoptive or foster parents and many other types of out-of-home caregivers. They are trained and approved to provide foster and adoptive care to children and teenagers. Resource parents play a vital role in the department’s commitment to helping children and teens find success at home, at school and in their communities. To find out more, call (805) 781-1705.


Becoming a Resource Parent:

Are you ready to take the next step and make a difference in a child or teen’s life? You can begin the application process by calling (805) 781-1705 or submitting your interest via our online eform. The process to become a resource parent typically takes around 90 days, but there are many factors that can affect your timeline. Click through the tabs below to learn more or view this brochure in English or Spanish

If you decide to make a difference in the life of a youth in foster care and move forward with the application process, the department will assist you and support you through the process!


Other Types of Resource Parents:

Resource parents are an “umbrella term,” to the various roles they can play within the foster system. Not all resource parents commit to long-term placements.

Emergency Shelter Caregiver: These resource parents are committed to emergency, on-call foster care and are available on short notice to provide immediate, temporary care for children ages 0-18 who are entering the foster care system or are waiting for more permanent placements. Without these caregivers the department is often left struggling to find placements for youth who are already experiencing significant trauma.

Respite Care Provider: Respite care is a crucial support to those with long-term placements and is an option for those who want to foster but are unable to commit in the long-term. Respite care providers care for foster children for a brief period while the resource parent is unable to. If you’re a resource parent needing assistance, click the tab below to learn more.

Options for Recovery (OFR): Resource parents designated as “OFR” are specially trained to support the needs of medically fragile children ages 0-5 and take an active role in the reunification process through mentorship of birth parents.


Here’s a general timeline for fostering a child in the state of California:

1. Initial Inquiry: The process begins with an individual or couple expressing interest in becoming resource parents. They can do so by calling (805) 781-1705 or submitting their interest via our online eform.

2. Orientation and Training: Prospective resource parents attend an orientation session to learn about the requirements, responsibilities, and expectations of foster parenting. Following this, they will complete a pre-service training program, which typically lasts several weeks and covers various topics related to foster care.

3. Application and Home Study: After completing the training, the prospective resource parents submit an application. A social worker then conducts a thorough home study, which includes interviews, background checks, and an assessment of the home environment to ensure it meets safety standards.

4. Approval and Licensing: Once the home study is completed, it is reviewed, and if everything is in order, the prospective resource parents are approved and licensed as foster caregivers.

5. Matching Process: The approval opens the possibility of being matched with a foster child who is a suitable fit for the family’s capabilities and the child’s needs. Social workers or agencies work to find an appropriate match based on the resource parent’s preferences and the child’s needs.

6. Placement: Once a suitable match is found, the child is placed with the foster family. This process may be immediate or take some time, depending on the availability of suitable matches.

7. Ongoing Support and Training: Foster parents receive ongoing support, resources, and training to help them navigate the challenges and responsibilities of fostering a child. This support aims to ensure the well-being of both the child and the foster family.

8. Reunification or Permanency: The ultimate goal of foster care is typically reunification with the child’s birth family if possible. However, if reunification is not feasible, the foster family may choose to pursue adoption or other forms of permanency, depending on the child’s situation.

It’s important to note that timelines can vary for each family, and the entire process can take several months to complete. The focus throughout the process is on ensuring the safety, well-being, and stability of the child in need of care.

It’s important for foster parents to actively participate in training opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills as caregivers. Training not only benefits the children in their care but also provides valuable support and resources to foster parents throughout their journey.

Visit our events page to learn more about the trainings we offer!


When caring for a youth in foster care, resource parents receive help with the expenses associated with caring for the child. The monthly payments vary in amount and are dependent on the individual needs of each child. With a minimum of $1,000 up to $2,609. In addition to monthly foster care payments, the department can also assist with clothing allowances or reimbursing for transporting your child to and from school if the site is more than a three (3) mile drive.

These payments are non-taxable and do not need to be reported on your tax return. Foster children may also qualify to be reported as dependents on your tax return learn more here.

The department offers reimbursement for short term respite care to our resource parents. Short term respite care is defined as “the use of babysitters (other than resource parents) and cannot exceed 24 hours at one time or 48 hours in one month”. For assistance with respite care, contact your foster child’s social worker or the foster support unit at (805) 781-1917If you’re interested in foster care but are unable to commit long-term being a respite care provider may be for you! Contact us at (805)-781-1705 or contact us online!

The goal of California’s QPI is to strengthen foster care by focusing on excellent parenting for all children in the child welfare system. We believe that by offering the best possible services to our Resource Parents, we will attract and retain the highest caliber of resource parents in our state. QPI is an approach, a philosophy and a network of sites that share information and ideas about how to improve parenting as well as an effort to rebrand foster care, not simply by changing a logo or an advertisement, but by changing the expectations of and support for caregivers If you are interested in becoming involved in our QPI collaborative which meets monthly, please contact us at (805) 781-1705 or visit our QPI State Website.

Every month, the department publishes a newsletter full of information and resources for youth in care, resource parents and birth parents! If you are interested in receiving this newsletter, sign up here! Or click here for past archives of our newsletter.

This unit is designed to provide an additional level of support for resource parents and to relieve some burden from staff by being able to take care of resource parent’s requests for information, general questions, and requests for referrals for certain items. To reach the Foster Support Unit, call (805) 781-1917.


Coming soon!


Local businesses have a unique and valuable connection to the members of our community and can often be a strong ally in helping raise awareness regarding the need for more resource parents. Local businesses can also support youth in foster care by providing discounts for resource parents, window space for awareness materials, or job opportunities for older youth. If you have a business and would like to support local foster youth, call the Foster Support Unit at (805) 781-1917

California Department of Social Services has issued Written Directives and forms to implement the Resource Family Approval (RFA) program. Resource Family Approval (RFA) is a streamlined, family-friendly and child-centered certification process to approve care providers for children placed in out of home care. The Written Directives contain the written processes, standards, and requirements for the RFA program. The Written Directives have the same force and effect as regulations and ensure that counties use the same standards. For the most recent version of the written directives, click here.

As a resource parent (foster parent), you may find various articles and books that offer valuable insights, support, and guidance in your role as a caregiver. Here are some helpful articles and books that can be beneficial for resource parents. The department is not affiliated with any of the authors and does not profit off of sales of these books.


“To Each Their Own”A foster parent shares tips and encouragement for others who may be interested in fostering or adopting

“Extending Family Support” – A foster parent tells her story of parenting a sibling group of five and the life-changing impact that establishing a partnership with the children’s birth parents had on the children’s overall well-being and reunification.

 “What One Bunny Can Do” Sue shares her journey as a foster care provider of over 20 years, emphasizing the importance of connection and care, and reflecting on the true impact that caregivers can have in the lives of children and youth in foster care.

“Strengthening Your Bicultural Family” – A guide to supporting and allowing foster children of a different race to thrive in your home

“What is Foster Care Like?”

“The Real Scoop on Fostering Teens”

“Advocating for Your Foster Child at School”


1.“The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family” by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine – Offers insights and strategies to create strong connections and heal emotional wounds for children from difficult backgrounds, including foster children.

2. “Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow” by Gregory C. Keck and Regina M. Kupecky – A resource that addresses the unique challenges faced by adoptive and foster families and provides practical advice for parenting children with a history of trauma.

3. “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson – Although not specifically geared towards foster care, this book offers valuable insights on understanding and nurturing children’s developing brains and emotional well-being.

4. “Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom” by Kristin Souers and Pete Hall – While focused on education, this book provides valuable insights for foster parents dealing with children who have experienced trauma and need support in school settings.

5. “The Foster Parenting Toolbox” by Kim Phagan-Hansel – Offers practical tools and advice for foster parents to navigate the foster care system and provide the best possible care for foster children.

6. “Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children” by Daniel A. Hughes – A resource for understanding attachment in children with challenging histories and how to build healthy bonds.

7. “The Connected Parent: Real-Life Strategies for Building Trust and Attachment” by Lisa Qualls – Focuses on building strong connections and attachment with children in foster care and adoption.

The goal of the mentor program is to support our newer resource families through a relationship with experienced resource families who can share their experiences, resources, knowledge, and a listening ear to the new resource families. If you are an experience resource parent and want to become a mentor, or if you are a current resource family interested in being connected to some of our more experienced families, call the Foster Support Unit at (805) 781-1917.

The acronyms and abbreviations in this document are common to social work and child welfare services. Familiarizing yourself with these acronyms helps prevent miscommunication or misunderstanding and allows you to better navigate the system. The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services has also created a helpful glossary with definitions of said acronyms; view it here!

Provides a voice to speak and act on behalf of youth in foster care and can provide information on the rights of youth in care. Call the Toll Free Help Line at (877) 846-1602 or email

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