Foster Care & Adoption
Resource Families, we are here for you.
Resource Families, we are here for you.
In Sonoma County alone, there are 50+ children each day who need homes, sometimes for a few days and sometimes forever. Most just need a temporary haven while their parents get help coping with the issues that created an unstable home. Others are teens trying to stand on their own two feet and just need a room to rent and some encouragement. Some need a new forever family through adoption.
Our mission is to help you help children in need by becoming a resource parent (foster parent). We welcome single adults, couples, empty-nesters, renters, homeowners, self-employed, and retirees. Our agency and staff fully support and have a national Innovator Seal exhibiting excellence working specifically with the LGBTQI community and people from all backgrounds.
How children are treated in our community will shape their lives. We need to show them kindness and give them hope in their futures. By caring for a local foster child, resource parents enrich not only the child’s life, but their own.
There are many ways you can welcome a child into your home.
Consider becoming a Resource Parent
Would You be a Good Resource Parent?
If you care about children and you’re reading this, the likely answer is: Yes!
Resource Families Don’t Need to be “Perfect”
They do need to be loving, patient, flexible and willing to help children cope with tough times.
They also need the skills to be on the team with important people in the child’s life, including the birth parents, allowing each to have a voice. Resource parents are single adults, families with children or without, they are the child’s relatives or familiar friends, such as neighbors, family friends, coaches or teachers.
If this sounds like you, learn more about becoming a resource parent at one of our monthly Explore Foster Parenting meetings, or call (707) 634-9058 to talk with our caring professional staff about how you can give the gift of family to a child in need.
Every day, children and teens are waiting for homes. Please contact us today.
Types of Resource Parenting
Emergency Resource Parent
When child protective services determines that a child is not safe in their current home, an emergency foster home is needed immediately.
Duration: It may just be for 1 week, but you can make a difference in a child’s life Forever
Situation: Newborns, toddlers, children and teens need a place to stay when their families are in crisis.
Outcome Possibilities: Once the crisis is over and the home is safe—these children will be reunited with their families whenever possible. If this is not possible, they will be placed in a qualified resource home or with a foster to adoption family.
Next Steps: Attend an info meeting, or call us at (707) 634-9058
Children need a safe home while their biological family is given the opportunity to remedy the life circumstances that led to the child’s removal. Your home can be a haven.
Duration: short- or longer-term stay
Situation: Children and teens need a place to stay when their families need help and can’t give them proper care.
Outcome Possibilities: Once the crisis is over and the home is safe, children and parents will be reunited. If this isn’t possible, children may stay in a qualified foster home or with a foster to adoption family.
Next Steps: Attend an info meeting, or call us at (707) 634-9058
Foster / Adopt Forever Family
The goal of concurrent placement is for a child to have as few placements as possible, so a plan is made for the resource family to become the child’s forever family if reunification with the biological family is not possible. Our adoption program helps place foster children from birth to 21 years of age in foster to adoption homes. TLC facilitates on average 40 adoptions every year. It’s all about moments, and you can be there for all the important ones. Building a family is a rewarding experience, and adopting a child is a beautiful way to do it.
Duration: A lifetime
Situation: Children and teens need a family when their parents need help and can’t give them proper care.
Outcome Possibilities: Children in foster to adoption homes have the option of being adopted if it’s not possible to reunite them safely with their families.
Next Steps: Talk with our staff about adoption options at (707) 634-9058
Host Home / Room Rental
No one just magically becomes a successful adult. It takes time, stability and opportunity. Your spare room can help a young person transition smoothly into adulthood. If you have a spare room in your home, desire to be a role model for a local young adult, and can participate in weekly check-ins, contact us.
Situation: Young people in Sonoma County (ages 16-24) who are exiting foster care need a safe place to live so they can continue learning and enter adulthood fully prepared. These young adults need a room to rent. They need a stable place to live while they continue schooling, apply for jobs, and finish programs that help them with life skills. They also need a guiding hand. A supportive adult. A champion.
Outcome Possibilities: Young adults in the Transitional Housing Program exit the program when they are ready, and typically live fully independent lives.
Next Steps: Talk with our staff about the Transitional Housing Program
Kinship Care / Friends and Family
Children who grow up with love – learn love. Caring for a child of a relative or friend keeps them connected to their familiar community.
Situation: Children and teens need stable relatives to stay with when their families can’t give them proper care. Friends and neighbors can also offer a resource home to a child they know.
Outcome Possibilities: Children and teens in kinship or extended resource family homes have the option of being adopted if it’s not possible to reunite them safely with their families.
Next Steps: Attend an info meeting, or call us at (707) 634-9058
Intensive Services Foster Care (ISFC)
Some children and teens qualify for extra support services to help them and their resource family to address challenging behaviors. ISFC families are provided more intensive case management and support from the TLC team as well as an increased monthly stipend.
Steps to Becoming a Foster to Adoption Parent
1. Attend an information meeting to explore whether becoming a resource parent is right for you. You will receive basic information on foster care, adoption, and the resource family approval process. Please RSVP at (707) 634-9058 if you wish to attend.
2. Attend a resource parent pre-service training. The series is offered in English and Spanish by the non-profit Child Parent Institute. Topics include:
- Overview of child welfare’s role
- Your role on the professional team
- Positive parenting skills
- Childhood trauma and traumatic stress
- Coping with loss and transition
3. Contact your health provider to get a health screening and TB test.
4. Train for CPR and First Aid Infant/Child certification with our community partner agency.
5. Fill out the resource family application form. You’ll be fingerprinted for your background check, no fees apply. Approval takes 90 days once the application is submitted.
6. Arrange a home visit with a TLC Social Worker who’ll evaluate the home for safety, comfort and bedroom space.
7. Interview with a TLC Social Worker to discuss matching a child with your family situation and preferences. When the background check is complete and the requirements are met, you will be approved and eligible to care for a foster child.
The path to adopting a foster child or youth starts with becoming an approved resource family. Adoptive parents follow the same steps as adults who choose to offer temporary care for foster children, then follow some additional steps:
- When the child or youth is ready, the adoption specialist guides the resource family through the process of an adoptive placement.
- Our team of adoption experts will provide supervision, services and support to help the family and child adjust to the new living situation.
- Final legal adoption is completed through court proceedings, which are also a time of celebration for the newly formed family.
Post Adoption Support
Support & Services
TLC provides a full range of services to support individuals and families in their journey to become resource and adoptive parents. Beginning with your one-on-one orientation, TLC will be there to guide you every step of the way as you build and grow your family.
Our supportive services include:
- Comprehensive resource family assessment (previously known as a home study)
- Individualized consultation to help you make the best possible placement decisions
- Your own supportive social worker will provide weekly or bi-weekly social work home visits
- Generous monthly stipends
- Monthly family night- for dinner, education, support and fun for the kids and teens
- Ongoing parent groups for training and support
- 24-hour on call service and crisis intervention
- Collaboration with community resources to ensure the needs of your child and family are met
- Post-adoption services
What is the difference between a foster family and a resource family?
What does a resource parent do?
Being a resource parent is a way to make a positive impact on a child’s life. Resource parents provide a safe, loving, nurturing temporary home for children unable to stay safely with their families. As a resource parent, you will become a member of a team that is working to ensure each child’s well-being. The team typically includes the child’s family, the resource family, social workers and other professionals, the court and the child.
How do I know if being a resource parent is right for me and my family?
- Do you have the time, patience and energy to care for a foster child?
- Can you love and care for a child who has come from a different background than yours?
- Can you help a child develop a sense of belonging in your home even though the stay may be temporary?
- Can you love a child who, because of fear of rejection, may not easily love you back?
- Can you be flexible in your parenting style to meet the needs of each child? Can you set clear limits and be both firm and understanding in your discipline?
- Can you accept assistance and guidance from the team involved in each child’s life including social workers, attorneys, medical professionals, and the birth family?
- Can you maintain a positive attitude toward a child’s parents, even though many of the problems the child experiences are a result of the parent’s actions?
- Are you willing and able to take a child to counseling sessions, doctor’s appointments, visits with family, court hearings and other regular appointments?
- Can you advocate for a child and participate as a part of their support team?
- Can you commit to a child with all your heart and then let go knowing that the investment you’ve made in their life is priceless?
If you can say “yes” or “probably” to these questions, you may be that special person who can change the life of a child in need.
What is the resource parent's role?
Resource parents provide a supportive, stable family and home. They truly care about the children and youth and help them heal from trauma and loss. Resource parents are part of the child’s team, along with social workers, the child’s family, attorneys, medical personnel and other professionals. The goal of foster care is to reunite children and birth parents if this can be done safely. Most foster children have supervised or unsupervised visits regularly with their parents while in care. Resource parents have the time and transportation to bring the child to these visits. Resource parents frequently become mentors, helping birth parents learn to safely care for their children. We hope the resource family and birth family can work together for the benefit of the child. If the child cannot return safely to the birth parents, resource parents help prepare the child to live with relatives or in an adoptive home. Sometimes resource parents have the opportunity to adopt their foster children.
What happens to children when they are first removed from their birth families?
Most children younger than six are taken directly to emergency foster homes. Older children and youth often go first to the county emergency shelter, the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home, before going to a foster home in the community. All children are assessed for developmental, behavioral and health concerns and treated as needed.
How long will the child stay in my home?
What if I want to adopt a child?
It takes time to know if a child moved from an unsafe home will be unable to return. While working to reunite the child and birth family, the social worker makes an alternative plan for the child if reunification is not possible. The preferred plans mean the child will live with relatives, be adopted or live with a legal guardian. Resource parents may be considered for a child’s adoption or other alternative permanent plan. Most adoptive families serve first as a child’s resource family.
How long will I wait before a child comes to live with me?
Some resource parents have a child placed in their home immediately upon becoming certified, while others may wait for a placement that is a good match. There are several criteria for what makes a good resource family match, including whether the resource parents speak Spanish or can care for special needs children, older children and teens and sibling groups.
May I choose the child I want?
Resource families may request children by age and gender based on who would be the best match for their situation. Those preferences are taken into consideration when matching children and resource families. The social worker will discuss the child’s situation with the resource family first.
Will I get to meet the child before he/she comes to live with me?
Emergency resource families take children in immediately, so do not meet the child ahead of time. In other cases, the family can visit with the child a few times before placement. These visits make the transition to the foster home easier for everyone.
Will the birth parents know where I live?
No. We do not give resource parents’ full names and address information to birth parents. Resource families can choose to share this information if a relationship develops with the birth parents.
Do I need to be married to be a resource parent? Can I be divorced and be a resource parent?
Loving families are diverse. Resource parents may be single, married, same sex couples, gay or lesbian or unmarried couples in stable, long-term relationships. If you are undergoing a major transition in your life, such as a separation or divorce, it’s best to wait to become a resource parent until you are better able to provide consistency, security and stability for a child.
What about if I rent my home?
Resource parents can live in rented houses and apartments. Landlords or property owners must agree to your plan to have children in the home.
Am I too old to be a resource parent?
Older parents in good health make good resource parents. Resource parenting can be busy and your energy needed day and night. Children may go to school or activities, medical or therapy appointments and visits with family. Young children may need attention throughout the night.
Can I be a resource parent if I work?
Yes. Some children do well in resource homes without a stay-at-home parent, while others need someone available throughout the day. If you work, a flexible schedule is helpful since resource parents must provide transportation for regular family visits, medical or counseling appointments, and other needs.
Does the child have to have her or his own bedroom?
Who pays for the child’s living expenses?
Resource parents receive a monthly payment as reimbursement for the children’s basic living expenses. The rate varies depending on the child’s age and any special needs. You must already have sufficient income to support yourself and your family.
Do foster children have medical insurance?
Yes. Some of the children are covered by their birth parent’s insurance. Most foster children qualify for Medi-Cal, which pays for most of the children’s medical, dental, counseling and other health-related expenses. Some resource parents enroll the foster child in their group insurance plan. If you are a Kaiser member, ask the business office if it will accept Medi-Cal for your foster child.
Is other support available?
Children in foster care are surrounded by caring adults. You will work with a team of social workers, medical professionals, attorneys and others to meet the needs of the children and to ensure you have the resources and support to care for them. Each child is assigned a social worker who visits regularly with the child and resource parents. The social worker is also available by phone. When appropriate, you may be referred to community resources.
May I take my foster child to church or synagogue with me?
Will I ever get to see the children again?
Often resource parents do see the children after they leave their home. Sometimes resource and birth parents develop a positive relationship which continues after a child returns home. Some resource and adoptive parents remain part of each others’ lives. Some former resource parents babysit the child and attend family birthday parties. Older foster children may visit often and remain members of your family.
I know a child who I might want to live with me. What should I do?
If the child has been brought into foster care or if you suspect she or he may be abused or neglected, call county Child Protective Services. In Sonoma County, call the hotline day or night at (707) 565-4300 or (800) 870-7064.
Can I place a foster child in day care?
Yes. By law, foster children may not stay home alone, except for some teenagers and for limited periods of time. Unfortunately, funding is not available to cover child care, although foster children are often eligible for subsidized child care programs.
Why do I need to take classes before resource parenting?
The training and support helps make resource parenting a positive experience for you and your foster child. It is free of charge. Parenting a foster child is not the same as a birth child or stepchild. Most foster children and youth have been abandoned, abused or neglected and this trauma affects their emotions and behavior. Even infants are affected by their experiences, including those exposed to their mother’s substance abuse during pregnancy.
Resource parents help children manage their feelings about being separated from their families. You need to learn how to interact with the children’s birth families, and how to respond before and after children’s visits with family. The pre-service training helps you prepare for these interactions.
It also helps you understand the child welfare court process and how to access helpful community resources. You’ll meet some of the professionals you will work with, as well as experienced resource parents who can serve as mentors.
Each year after being approved by the State, resource parents also participate in eight hours of continuing education.
What safety requirements does my home have to meet?
All resource homes must meet state standards meant to ensure that they are comfortable, clean, safe, sanitary and in good repair. Resource homes must:
- Have a working smoke detector in the hallway outside each sleeping area.
- Secure lock up of firearms or weapons, with ammunition locked away separately.
- Make inaccessible to children: all dangerous items and toxic substances, including all medicines, garden and workshop chemicals, automotive fluids, household chemicals and most cleansers.
How these items are kept out of the children’s reach will depend on the ages of the children you care for and their abilities. Exceptions may be made to allow teenagers to have access to certain items. If the home has young children, electrical outlets should be covered and stairs must have gates. Balcony railings and most fences may not have uncovered spaces more than four inches across between the posts. Young children must be directly supervised by a responsible adult whenever they are outside unless there is a safe and properly fenced play area. Pools, hot tubs and other bodies of water must be safely fenced, or have a locked cover, in homes for children under age 10, or if there is an older child with special needs.
If hazards or concerns are noted during a home visit, the social worker will discuss options to ensure that your home meets safety standards. You are responsible for expenses to prepare your home. Discuss your plans with us before preparing your home for foster care.