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Foster Parent Program

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How to become a Foster Parent

There are thousands of children in California's foster care system who require temporary out-of-home care because of neglect, abuse or exploitation. The preferred placement of children who require out-of-home care is with relatives. If a home with relatives is not a possibility, foster parents and other caretakers provide a supportive and stable environment for children who cannot live with their birth parents until family problems are resolved. In most cases, the foster parents and care providers work with social services staff to reunite the child with birth parents. Foster parents often provide care to many different children.

Children who require out-of-home care generally come under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The juvenile dependency process involves a series of hearings and case reviews which may result in foster care placement, including placement with relatives.

For Whom

A license is required to operate a foster home. The process requires a licensing worker to visit your home and meet with you and other family members. Minimum personal, safety and space requirements are required by law. Foster parents work with social services staff to decide the type of child best suited for their home.

IMPORTANT: Sometimes children may require more intensive structured care. These children may be placed in licensed community care facilities that may be anywhere from six beds to much larger institutions. These group homes offer individualized treatment for children who require a more structured setting. To become a group home provider, contact your local county welfare office.

In addition to children placed in foster family homes and group homes, foster family agencies provide another placement resource. Agencies are licensed to provide certified family homes for children who require more services than are provided in foster family homes, yet these homes are less structured than group homes.

Where To Get Help

To get further information on any of these programs, please contact your local county welfare offices.

The World of Children Visit the Children and Family Services Division website.


  • Thousands of California children are in need of homes.
  • A license is required to operate a foster care home. Children with different needs can be placed with relatives or in foster homes, group homes or through foster family agencies.