Resource Family Approval Program (RFA)

Family holding hands, silhouetted by the Sunset

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

Resource Family Approval:
  • 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.

What is a Resource Family?

In California a Resource Family is a caregiver who provides out-of-home care for children in foster care. Resource Families include individuals, couples and families. They may be related, have a familiar or mentoring relationship, or no previous relationship with the child. The Resource Family is approved to provide care on a temporary (foster care) and/or permanent (adoption and legal guardianship) basis and includes all types of caregivers in the child welfare and probation systems formerly known as foster parents, approved relatives or approved Non--Relative Extended Family Member.

Resource Families play a critical role in the life of children in out of home care. When out-of-home placement is needed to keep the child safe, Child Welfare Services (CWS) and Probation Departments make diligent efforts to identify, consider and evaluate relatives, family friends and those closely tied to the family as the primary placement option. When relatives cannot be a placement option for the child, the placing agency makes efforts to actively recruit and support Resource Families that are able to keep the child or youth connected to their community and culture. Resource Families work together with CWS or Probation staff and the child’s family to successfully return the child to their parents. The purpose of a Resource Family is to provide a child with a feeling of safety, permanence, and well-being.

Contact your county child welfare agency for more information on how to become a Resource Family.

Contact Us

Continuum of Care Reform Branch 
California Department of Social Services
744 P Street, MS 9-14-46
Sacramento, CA 95814

For additional information, please email correspondences to

Information and Resources

For more information and resources visit the Resource Family Approval Program 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 would encourage you to contact your county social services agency.