A resource parent, or resource family, is the new umbrella term used in the state of California to refer to adoptive or foster parents and many other types of out-of-home caregivers.
A resource parent is trained and approved to provide foster and adoptive care to children and teenagers. Regardless of the needs of the child or teen, which can vary widely, the term resource parent is used. It is a universal term that can be used in place of foster parents, adoptive parents, foster-to-adopt parents, or kinship caregivers. Each is a critical partner for Uplift Family Services in providing care and building a path to success for children and teens in California.
Resource parents play a vital role in Uplift Family Services’ commitment to helping children and teens find success at home, at school, and in their communities. When out-of-home care is needed, which refers to care outside of the youth’s biological family’s home, we turn to our strong and loving community of resource parents to provide a safe, steady environment for each child or teen experiencing turmoil in their life.
Why Was the Change to “Resource Parent” Made?
By bringing together all foster, adoptive, kinship, and non-relative caregivers under the single umbrella of resource parents, California was able to eliminate duplicative processes and eliminate unnecessary hurdles. The application process and requirements needed for foster care and adoptions often overlap, but before the change, prospective parents would need to apply to each one individually. The California Legislature and Department of Social Services heard from the community that this was hurting the ability to recruit and license new foster and adoptive parents, and a change was made.
Now, the Resource Family Approval (RFA) program is a single process for parents to complete, whether they want to focus solely on foster care or foster and eventually adopt.
The California Continuum of Care Reform
In 2012, California began a redevelopment of its foster care services with the authority of California Senate Bill 1013. As a part of this change, the California Department of Social Services developed policy known as the Continuum of Care Reform.
The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) is a policy framework that draws together a series of existing and new reforms to California child welfare services. These reforms were designed based on the knowledge that children who must live away from their biological parents do best when they are cared for in steady, nurturing family homes. The goal of CCR is to ensure services provided to children and teens are tailored toward the ultimate goal of finding a stable, permanent family.
How to Become a Resource Parent
Are you ready to take the next step and make a difference in a child or teen’s life?
You can begin your resource parent application online or speak directly to an Uplift Family Services resource family specialist, who will meet with you to discuss your foster care or adoption application and answer any questions you have along the way.
The initial paperwork you will complete includes a criminal record statement, agreement forms, and policy and procedure forms. Once completed, your local resource family specialist will contact you to set up an informational interview, start a family and child profile to find a good match between you and a child or teen, complete a background check, and, finally, schedule a home study interview.
A home study interview is conducted with you and anyone else who lives in the home to evaluate your readiness to foster or adopt. It typically includes a safety check, interviews with all members of the household, and verification of adequate space for the new child or teen. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any questions you have and get feedback for creating an environment of success for the new member of your family.
The process of becoming a resource parent typically takes about four months, but there are many factors that can affect your timeline. You can read more about the process in our foster care FAQs or adoption FAQs or find your local resource family specialist with by entering your ZIP code below.