Resource Family Approval Program (RFA) RFA Logo

RFA is a new family-friendly and child-centered caregiver approval process that combines elements of the current foster parent licensing, relative approval, and approvals for adoption and guardianship processes and replaces those processes. RFA:

  • Is streamlined and eliminates the duplication of existing processes.
  • Unifies approval standards for all caregivers, regardless of the child’s case plan.
  • Includes a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, home environment check, and training for all families, including relatives.
  • Prepares families to better meet the needs of vulnerable children in the foster care system.
  • Allows seamless transition to permanency.

The RFA and the Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) support the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR).

The RFA process improves the way caregivers (related and non-related) of children in foster care are approved and prepared to parent vulnerable children, whether temporarily or permanently.

The QPI, in partnership with caregivers, aims to redesign child welfare organizations at the local level to better recruit, support and retain quality foster caregivers who can effectively parent vulnerable children and youth.

Together, the RFA and QPI efforts work to build the capacity of the continuum of foster care placement options to better meet the needs of vulnerable children in home based family care. This increased capacity is essential to successfully moving children out of congregate care, which is a goal of CCR.


Kim Wrigley, RFA and Communications Bureau Chief, goes over some common misconceptions about the family evaluation process while providing best practices when working with a family.
Demystifying the Family Evaluation Process - Presentation at RFA Convening

All County Letters and Other Notices


Written Directives

The CDSS has issued Written Directives and forms to implement the RFA program. 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.

    RFA Program Implementation Process

RFA Resources


Statewide RFA Technical Assistance Calls

Quick Links

RFA County Point of Contact
RFA Probation Point of Contact
RFA Out of County Approval Point of Contact
RFA Forms
Technical Assistance Resource Family Approval (TARFA) Meeting Schedule
Specialized Resource Families Infographic

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Contact Us

Resource Family Approval Program Unit
RFA@dss.ca.gov
CCR Branch Line (916) 651-1101

Kendra Elmendorf, Manager
RFA Implementation Unit
Continuum of Care Reform Branch
California Department of Social Services
744 P Street, MS 9-14-46
Sacramento, CA 95814

Wendy Cook, Manager
RFA Technical Assistance Unit
Continuum of Care Reform Branch 
California Department of Social Services
744 P Street, MS 9-14-46
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dora Hesia, Manager
County Foster Family Home
and Resource Family Approval Programs
Community Care Licensing Division
California Department of Social Services
744 P Street, MS 9-15-54
Sacramento, CA 95814