Foster Care Program
What is the Foster Care Program?
Foster care matches caring families with children and youth who need safe, temporary homes. San Mateo County is seeking strong, stable families who can offer a safe and loving home for children suffering from abuse or neglect.
The San Mateo County Human Services Agency is a Concurrent planning agency which means:
· There is a focus on Family Reunification (returning children to their families once their safety has been re-established).
· Concurrently, our social workers prepare appropriate foster placements, in case it is determined that reunification is not possible.
Concurrent Planning allows us to return the child to a stable routine and a home environment as quickly as possible.
Who can be a Foster Parent (Resource Family)?
Foster parents, also termed ‘Resource Families’, are people who open their homes to children who have been removed from their families because they are at risk of abuse and neglect.
There is a strong need for Resource Families who are willing to foster children that may not be permanently placed with them. Resource families can be from any age group or ethnic background, married or single, gay or straight, with or without children, homeowners or renters. Whenever possible, we will try to place a child with a suitable and available extended family member.
In San Mateo County, you can only adopt if you are a licensed foster parent or an approved resource family.
Adoption establishes a legal relationship between a child and a parent not related by birth. Adoption is a permanent association, giving the adoptive parents and child the same legal relationship that exists between birth parents and their children.
How old are the children and how long do they stay in Foster Care?
Foster children range in age from newborns to 18-year-olds. Under California law AB12, foster care has been extended to the age of 21.
Resource families may decide what age group they are best able to care for, and whether they can accept boys or girls, children with health issues, disabilities or other special needs.
Children can be placed in resource homes for a few weeks to as long as one (1) year, depending on the type of care the resource families are trained to provide. The goal of foster care is to safely return children to their birth families and when that’s not possible, find a permanent loving home for the children.
San Mateo County has a particular need for resource families for adolescents, siblings and emergency placements.
How do I prepare to be a Resource Family?
- Foster care relies on trained, licensed or approved adults who are able to provide a safe, stable and nurturing home
- You must complete approval-training as well as a CPR/First Aid certificate
- All adults living in the home receive criminal background checks, a health screening and a home inspection
- All training and inspections are provided free of charge, and usually take up to 6 months to complete
What kind of support do Resource Families receive?
- Resource families receive a monthly stipend to cover the cost of the child's food, shelter, clothing and other needs
- Resource families receive support through the Resource Family Mentoring program and other support groups
- The child's health care is provided by the foster care program. Resource families work closely with social workers, and receive ongoing education to make sure that children get the medical, mental health and other support they need to thrive.