How do I find out more about foster care in California?

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Answered by: Melanie, An Expert in the Foster Care Basics Category
To provide foster care in California requires that you are a licensed foster parent and it does requires quite a few additional steps. For one, you must genuinely be interested in the welfare of children in your community. On a search engine site or through your county phone book you will find the number to The Department Of Social Services. This department is ever so helpful in assisting you in your path to foster care in California.

One important step will be to attend an orientation for the county in which you live. At this orientation you will likely be given handouts, shown a video, and given time to ask questions. Your orientation session will focus on how many children are in foster care in California and in the county; what the needs of children in the local county are; their varied ages and what that means for attachment; what brought many of the children into care; what a foster care family looks like, and more. You will have the chance to meet with a local licensing agent and hear all about the process of training a foster family parent/foster family.

The process of training sounds more complicated than it truly is. It does require a month long training entitled PRIDE which will give you pointers and guidance as your learn more about foster care in California. Through the use of mixed media, group activities, question and answer panels, homework, support groups you will find this PRIDE training to be very beneficial. After completing PRIDE you will be assigned a licensing worker who will evaluate your home for safety and readiness of a child.

Once this evaluation is passed you will be placed on a waiting list for families with openings for children in their home. During this waiting time you will find it most benefial to continue to prepare you home for an incoming child or children. Make sure you know of nearby childcare facilities, if you will need them. Be prepared with age and size appropriate clothing as well as pajamas and under garments so that any child or children coming into your home can feel welcomed immediately. Before you know it the day comes.

After waiting anywhere from a few weeks to a few months you will receive a call from a placement worker. The placement worker will ask if you have any openings for foster children in your home. After answering with a resounding, 'yes' they will inform you of the child or children they have needing care. As they explain the details of the child's gender, race, birth family, visitation, possible siblings, behaviorial issues, developmental delays (if necessary), special needs, and more they will ask you if you can provide a home for this child or these children. At the time the placement worker speaks with you they may or may not be able to bring the child to you. This may require a trip on your behalf to a hospital or placement center to bring a child into your home.

Once home the placement worker and the child's social worker will work side by side with you to ensure a smooth transition and to provide you what you will need to provide the best care to this new family member.

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