What Is Foster Care?
Foster care is the out-of-home care of a minor. Many children require temporary out-of-home care because of parental neglect, abuse or exploitation. Some children stay in foster care for months, if not years, and in some cases, they reach adulthood while in foster care yet the average stay is 24 months. The children are of all ages, genders, and varying needs.
Foster/resource families provide a supportive and stable family environment for children who cannot live with their birth parents. The goal is to provide parental care, guidance, and stability until the family's issues are resolved. In most cases, the foster/resource families work with Social Services Agency staff to reunite the child with his or her birth parents. Because foster care is meant to be temporary, many foster/resource families often provide care to many different children during the course of their service to the community. The Agency licenses foster family homes through an agreement with the California Department of Social Services. The Placement Support Services Bureau: Recruitment and Resource Homes Unit offers assistance with information and completion of application forms required for foster home licensing and adoptive home studies. Questions? Please call 408.299.KIDS.
Santa Clara County provides a limited range of adoption services. These services include voluntary relinquishments, adoption home studies, and guidance throughout the finalization of the adoption. In addition, Santa Clara County offers financial assistance to adoptive parents via the Adoption Assistance Program. Lastly, post-adoption services are also provided for adoptive parents, adult adoptee, biological parents, and their siblings. Please note, the child must be legally freed for adoption by the Court in order for an adoptive placement to occur. For more information about caring for a child call 408.299.KIDS.
The Need for Foster and Resource Families
Santa Clara County has nearly 2,500 children in need of out-of-home care due to abusive or neglectful conditions. There is an on-going need for finding and maintaining resource families who can support children and their families in their own neighborhoods. One of the Agency's goals is to place a child in a home as quickly as possible. It is the Agency's philosophy that the best environment for a child is a family and home environment, rather than the Children’s Shelter or a group home. Our greatest challenge is to find foster and adoptive resource families who will share their home with sibling groups, special need children and youth (11-17 years).
Deciding to become a Foster/Resource Parent is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. Foster/Resource Parents are an extremely important part of the social service and mental health system in the treatment of youth in substitute care. In many cases the bond you form with these children will be life long and your impact on them during this time is crucial to their development. To learn more about becoming a Foster Care-Adoption/resource family click on Learn2Foster.org in the related link.