How to Become a Foster Parent
There are thousands of children in California's foster care system who require temporary out-of- home care because
of neglect, abuse, or exploitation. The preferred placement of children who require out-of-home care is with
relatives. If a home with relatives is not a possibility, foster parents and other caretakers provide a supportive
and stable environment for children who cannot live with their birth parents until family problems are resolved. In
most cases, the foster parents and care providers work with social services staff to reunite the child with birth
parents. Foster parents often provide care to many different children.
Children who require out-of-home care generally come under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The juvenile
dependency process involves a series of hearings and case reviews which may result in foster care placement,
including placement with relatives.
A license is required to operate a foster home. The process requires a licensing worker to visit your home and meet
with you and other family members. Minimum personal, safety, and space requirements are required by law. Foster
parents work with social services staff to decide the type of child best suited for their home.
IMPORTANT: Sometimes children may require more intensive structured care. These children may be placed in licensed
community care facilities that may be anywhere from six beds to much larger institutions. These group homes offer
individualized treatment for children who require a more structured setting. To become a group home provider,
contact your local county welfare office.
In addition to children placed in foster family homes and group homes, foster family agencies provide another
placement resource. Agencies are licensed to provide certified family homes for children who require more services
than are provided in foster family homes, yet these homes are less structured than group homes.
Where To Get Help
To get further information on any of these programs, please contact your local county welfare office or
telephone toll-free at 1-800-KIDS-4-US (1-800-543-7487).
A listing of county welfare offices can be found at
Foster Care Recruitment and Training Information
Caregiver Policy and Support Unit
744 P Street, MS 8-13-78
Sacramento, CA 95814
Contact Your County