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How do I become a foster or adoptive Resource Parent?

To know more about different types of adoption:

Independent Adoption

The San Diego County Adoption Program completes independent adoptions, which is a more detailed process than stepparent adoption. The case is initiated upon the Agency's receipt of a stamped (‘conformed’) copy of a petition that has been filed at Juvenile Court. The fee for this type of adoption is $4500 or $1500 for families with a valid home study. There is a sliding scale for lower income families. In addition, an Adoption Services Provider (ASP) is required when the child is not related to the applicant(s), which generally is an additional fee of $800-$2,000.


A voluntary relinquishment occurs when a birthmother and/or birthfather voluntarily gives up their parental rights and request an adoptive family for their child. The County of San Diego Adoptions Program has specially trained social workers to help meet the needs of relinquishment cases. This process is completely voluntary on the part of the birth parents and requires several different steps to complete the process.  The birth parents are able to choose a family from a list of approved adoptive families participating in this program.   If you choose to participate in this program, you should discuss the specific legal and emotional risks involved with your applicant worker. 


The vision of CWS is that every child grows up safe and nurtured. Our agency supports this vision by first striving to safely stabilize and preserve families.   If that is not possible, we team with kinship and resource families to safely care for children and reunify them to their families of origin. If reunification is not possible, we support the development of permanency and lifelong relationships for children and youth, which includes placing children in adoptive homes. 


A resource family provides a safe and nurturing family environment for children who are not living with their parents due to abuse or neglect, and are dependents of the Juvenile Court. The role of a resource family may be temporary while the parents receive supportive services toward reunification.  When children can not be reunified safely, the resource family may become permanent through adoption or guardianship.

How do I become a foster or adoptive Resource Parent?

Becoming a foster or adoptive Resource Parent is a simple procedure, but takes time and determination to complete.  All requirements for becoming a Resource Parent are intended to provide safety and security for both child and foster and adoptive resource parent. The steps are:

  • Attend a Resource Family Approval (RFA) Orientation meeting (please see Online Orientation Schedule below.)
  • Complete and Submit RFA Application forms and supporting documents
  • Complete Background Assessment and Home Environment Assessment
  • Complete 12- Hours of Trauma Informed Pre-Service (TIPS)
  • Complete Fingerprinting and Clearances for all persons 18 and older through our Agency
  • Complete Comprehensive Permanency Assessment & Family Evaluation
  • Receive Approval and Written Report

You may be asked to complete and/or provide documentation of the following:

  • A minimum of two (2) References
  • Employment and Financial Verification
  • Health screening for all adult applicants
  • Medical report on all children in the home (to be completed by parents)
  • Certificate of Completion of TIPS training
  • Adoption Specialty classes (if you are interested in providing permenancy)
  • CPR/First Aid Training
  • School verification authorization form for all children in the home
  • Resource Family Background Questionnaire for each applicant
  • Marriage and/or Registered Domestic Partnership certificate (if applicable)
  • Divorce/Legal Separation decree (if applicable)

What is the process for child placement?

​Upon completion of the Resource Family Approval Process, you will be eligible for child placement.  However, completing the Resource Family Approval process does not guarantee immediate child placement.  Resource families should be able and willing to incorporate the child’s or children's specific needs, behaviors, personality and experiences into their home. We are a child-focused agency, seeking families to meet the needs of our children and provide them with a loving, safe, and stable forever home.  The length of time that your family waits is dependent upon many factors, including the type of child you hope to parent. Please keep in mind that our greatest need is for Exceptional Families for Exceptional Children.  Exceptional Children are in need of an adoptive home and fall into at least one of the following categories:

  • Over the age of 8
  • Sibling groups of three or more
  • Medical/emotional/developmental needs
  • Children of various ethnic backgrounds.

The Process of Child Placement:

  • When you are identifies as a potential matched with a child(ren), a meeting will be arranged to provide you with complete disclosure of the child’s background, development and current needs.
  • If you believe that your family is able to meet the needs of the child(ren), an in-person meeting with the child will be arranged. Transitional visits will take place to allow the child and your family to gradually adjust to one another before the child is placed in your home. 
  • Once a child is placed in your home, a social worker will meet with that child and your family on a regular basis for a minimum of six months to assist with the placement adjustment.
  • The law states that an adoption can only be finalized after a child has been in the home a minimum of six months.  A petition will be filed with the Court on your behalf to finalize the adoption. You do not need to hire an attorney unless you wish to do so.
  • Post adoption services are available to the family after the adoption is finalized. Services include but or not limited to the Adoption Assistance Program, medical coverage, and support groups or community referrals as needed

Ready to take the first step in becoming a Resource Parent? 

Foster & Adoptive Resource Family Services (FARFS) is currently conducting Resource Family Approval (RFA) Orientations.  Please see the “Orientation Schedule” below.  You may call the KIDSline at 877-792-KIDS (5437) to RSVP for an Orientation near you.  Or, we encourage you to complete the Resource Family Approval process through one of our local Foster Family Agencies (FFA's).  FFA's are private non-profits who partner with Counties to faciliate the RFA process and provide child placement services.  There are nine FFA's currently serving the County of San Diego.  Each agency has their respective approval requirements and may specialize in working with a special population of youth in care.  Please see the “Foster Family Agency Contact List” below for more information.

NOTE:  If you are interested in volunteering with children in foster care, please see the document below entitled, "Ways You Can Help Children in Foster Care."

We look forward to working with you soon!