There are only 6 steps to take on the pathway to becoming a Resource Family:
Step 1 – Attend Orientation and Complete Application
The orientation is an informal meeting for you to learn about the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process, ask questions and decide about becoming a Resource Family. Call 626-339-1824 to register to attend an orientation. At the orientation, you will receive an application.
Step 2 – Complete Background Checks
An FIH Worker will arrange for you to submit electronic fingerprints (called Live Scan) and assist you with any additional information necessary to request a criminal background clearance.
Step 3 – Attend Pre-Approval RFA Training
Prospective resource parents are required to attend 12 hours of pre-approval RFA training. This RFA training program will provide you with valuable information about the foster care system, the needs of children, and what it means to be a Resource Family. You will be provided information on how to register for training by the FIH Worker. You will also need to complete CPR and First-Aid certification, which will be provided to you.
Step 4 – Complete Home Environment Assessment
A FIH Worker will schedule a time to meet with you and your family in your home. They will make sure your home passes a basic health and safety inspection and provides a suitable environment for children in the foster care system.
Step 5 – Complete Family Evaluation
A FIH Social Worker will schedule an appointment with you and your family to begin the Family Evaluation process. This assessment will assist in determining your readiness to provide a safe and stable home environment for children who cannot safely live with their own families. The purpose of this assessment is to discuss your family’s personal history, interests and lifestyles, childcare experiences, the types of children you feel would best fit in your home, and your strengths and skills in meeting the children’s needs.
Step 6 – Approval and Placement
Once you have completed the above steps, you will decide about the number, ages, and behaviors of the children that you feel you are prepared to accept into your family home. You will then receive a Resource Family certificate of approval. Once approved, you will be contacted by our social workers to discuss the foster or adoptive placement of a child or children who match your preferences. Additional services to support you in meeting the child’s needs (such as monthly financial and medical assistance, child care, respite care services, support groups, etc.) are available.
Resource Family Approval Checklist
This checklist is your best guide to everything required to be approved as a resource family so you can care for a child who has entered foster care. All caregivers will need to complete all of the following requirements. These steps may not happen in order. Work closely with your social worker to let them know where you are in the process and ask them for help if you are having trouble completing any of these requirements.
❐ RFA Application (A1-A14)
❐ Form RFA-01(B): Resource Family Criminal Records Statement (A5)
❐ Form LIC 198B: Out-of-State Child Abuse Neglect Report Request
❐ Proof of identity (e.g. driver’s license, California State ID, etc.) (Note: other identification can be provided if the applicant does not have either of these forms of ID, and immigration status is not a reason for the county to deny placement of a child with a relative.)
❐ DMV reports for you and for any other adults residing or regularly in your home that may frequently transport children in your care
❐ Verification of good physical health, including a health screening by a licensed health professional not older than one year before the RFA application date
❐ Tuberculosis screening for all adults in the home, conducted within 1 year of RFA application date
❐ Approved caregiver orientation (likely to be conducted in your home)
❐ CPR/First Aid training
❐ 12 hours of FIH-approved caregiver training (does not include orientation or CPR/First Aid training)
❐ Verification of your employment (if employed)
❐ Documents verifying ownership or rental of your home
❐ Documentation of any prior history and/or present status you may have as an approved relative caregiver
❐ Names and contact information for three (3) people who can attest to your character and your ability to safely care for the youth
Additionally, a social worker will interview or visit you to conduct what is called a Family Evaluation. They may give you some additional forms during the assessment. The goal of this assessment is to get to know you and evaluate your ability to provide a safe and loving home for a child in foster care. It is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and gain an understanding of your role as a caregiver. See the section of this manual titled Family Evaluation for more. Note: Some counties may have special requirements such as pet vaccinations. Be sure to check with your social worker to find out if there are special local requirements in addition to the above.
The social worker is required to document each visit to the home of a resource family and to complete a form summarizing the visit. You are entitled to a copy of the form from the social worker.
The checklist can be overwhelming when you are getting started. You can do it! The resource family approval process is designed to make sure the child is entering a stable home so they can recover as quickly as possible and to prepare you for the important work of caring for a child in foster care. If you need help, ask. Your social worker should support you during the process.
- Respond as soon as possible to all requests for information during the approval process.
- If you have trouble obtaining any information that the social worker or the agency is requesting, ask your social worker to help you get the needed information.
- Check in with the social worker regularly to see where the agency is in the approval process and ask the social worker if they need anything further from you to move forward.
- Document everything. Keep notes about who you talked to, what was said, and contact information for everyone involved in the child’s case.
- Keep notes about every time you try to contact the social worker so that if they fail to respond to you, you have a record of your attempts. You may need to escalate your needs to someone above the social worker if you are not able to get the help you need. Find out who your social worker’s supervisor is.
- Ask friends and family for support during this time you may need extra childcare, or someone to help with meals or housework to give you time to focus on the resource family approval process. Most important: don’t give up! You are helping a child who really needs you.