How to Become Licensed or Approved

The Children’s Residential Licensing Program licenses and monitors Adoption Agencies, Foster Family Agencies and Certified Family Homes, Group Homes, Foster Family Homes, Crisis Nurseries, Runaway Youth Shelters, Small Family Homes, and Transitional Housing Placement Programs in an effort to ensure that they provide a safe and healthy environment for children who are in residential care.

In an effort to protect the population from being exploited or abused, the law requires that care providers be licensed. To obtain and maintain a license, the licensee must meet the terms and conditions contained in the law as found in the Health and Safety Code and Title 22. The licensing application process is facilitated by a three component orientation and application process. To find information on orientation schedule and registration, please click on Register for an Orientation.

Resource Family Approval

Resource Family Approval Logo
Resource Family Approval (RFA) is a new foster caregiver approval process that improves the way caregivers (related and non-related) are approved by preparing families to better meet the needs of vulnerable children, youth and non-minor dependents in the county child welfare and/or probation systems. By January 1, 2017, all counties and licensed foster care providers statewide must implement the RFA process for all new applicants. By December 31, 2020, all existing licensed foster family homes, all certified family homes, and all approved relatives and non-related extended family members who wish to continue to care for a foster child must be an approved resource family.

RFA is 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.


  • 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.

All County Letter 16-10 Resource Family Approval Program

Other Resources

Licensing Laws and Regulations
Register for an Orientation
Facility Types
Licensing Fees
Forms and Publications
Mandated Reporter Training (AB 1207)
Background Check Process
CA Background Clearance Listing
LiveScan Application and Fees
Centralized Complaint and Information Bureau