Foster Care

Four Girls jumping while holding hands

The Out-of-Home Care System is designed to protect those children who cannot safely remain with their families. Most are removed from their parents and made dependents of the court. A smaller number are wards of Juvenile Probation or live with legal guardians. Some are voluntarily placed in out-of-home care by their parents.


Currently, these children are placed in family homes with relatives, in licensed foster family homes, in homes certified by foster family agencies and in group homes. Statutorily, relatives are given preference over other types of placements. All providers of care for these children, except relatives and legal guardians, are studied and licensed by CDSS, county licensing bureaus, or foster family agencies.

The CDSS provides statewide training to foster parents through local community colleges and county- sponsored training programs to provide a supportive environment for the children. Independent living training and services are available to teens age 16 to 18 providing job and career development and skills that are needed to live independently.

A written case plan is developed for each child and family to ensure care and protection consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child in mind. The plan includes a judicial or administrative review every six months to determine if out of home care is still required. If, after 12 to 18 months, family reunification is not working, California statute requires that an alternative permanent placement plan becomes the goal for the child.

For Whom:

The Out-of-Home Care System is designed to serve and protect those children who cannot safely remain in their homes.

Where To Get Help

If you need assistance contact your county social services agency.

Contact Us:

California Department of Social Services
Children and Family Services Division
744 P Street, MS 8-17-18
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 657-2614

Report Suspected Child Abuse


Information and Resources

For more information and resources visit the Child Welfare Services website. This resource is designed to assist county eligibility workers and other partners who provide services to the public.

If you are a member of the public we encourage you to contact your county social services agency.