Foster parent

Congratulations! You have taken the first step in getting started – doing your research about the process to become a Resource Parent. Like any other important decision, becoming a Resource Parent takes planning, careful consideration, and patience.

At any given time, there are about 2,100 children in out of home care and about 30 children awaiting permanent adoptive placement in the County of San Diego. All children placed in foster care have experienced neglect, abuse, and/or abandonment. We are currently seeking Exceptional Families for Exceptional Children to nurture children in need of a forever home who fall into at least one of the following categories:

  • Over the age of 8 years old
  • Sibling groups (especially three or more)
  • Medical, emotional or developmental needs
  • Children of various ethnic backgrounds

There are children right in your own community that need a place to call home. We are looking for individuals who have the flexibility, commitment, humor, love and understanding it takes to be a foster and/or adoptive Resource Parent.

What is a Resource Parent?

Any individual, couple, or family who wants to provide care to a related or unrelated child(ren) who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, or otherwise in the care of a county child welfare agency or probation department. They care for and embrace children of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and abilities. They provide children in need with love, care, and a sense of belonging until child can reunify with their families or reach permanency. Resource Parents understand the importance of Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) and contribute as a professional member of the child’s team.

Once approved, Resource Families may be considered for placement for foster care, adoption or legal guardianship, based on the specific needs of the child and the Resource Family’s ability to meet those needs. Resource Family Approval does not guarantee placement of a child. We are looking for Resource Parents who are eager to be what a child needs them to be.

Who Can Become a Resource Parent?

Foster/adoptive resource parents can be:

  • 18 years or older
  • Any gender and sexual orientation
  • Single or married
  • Retired or working
  • Homeowner or renter

If you have a strong desire to make a positive difference in a child's life, help a family reunite and provide a nurturing, loving, and supportive environment, YOU can be a foster/adoptive resource parent. Learn more about the Resource Family Approval process.

What's the Difference Between Fostering & Adopting?

Child Welfare Services Foster and Adoptive Resource Family Services envisions a county where every child grows up safe and nurtured. We believe the best place a child can be is with their biological family, but if that cannot safely occur, we need dedicated individuals to provide temporary quality parenting or permanency to our children and youth. The priorities of Child Welfare Services are to:

  1. Safely stabilize and preserve families; and then if that is not possible…
  2. Safely care for children and reunify children to their families of origin; and if reunification is not possible…
  3. Safely support the development of permanency and lifelong relationships for children and youth.


Fostering” occurs when a Resource Parent provides temporary quality parenting for a child(ren) who is unable to safely remain with their family of origin. The court orders a reunification plan and services to help the parents mitigate the safety issue that brought the child(ren) to the attention of Child Welfare Services. A Resource Parent(s) supports the child(ren) and family during the reunification process, as determined by the court, until the child reaches permanency. Permanency comes in many forms, for example, returning home to their biological family, placement with a relative or non-related extended family member, legal guardianship, or adoption.

“Adoption” is the legal recognition of a child receiving permanency. All rights and responsibilities of the biological family are legally transferred to the adopting Resource Parent and the child becomes a legally recognized member of the family. In order for adoption to be considered, the Court must determine that the child(ren) in foster care cannot safely reunify with their biological family. Every adoption requires a period of fostering.  

Additional Resources:

Foster Family Agencies

ADOPT 8 Videos featuring San Diego children


Foster Youth Mentor Program

Voices for Children

Children in California in Need of Permanency

Children Awaiting Parents

Adopt America Network

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

National Voice of Foster Parent Association

Adopt US Kids

The Adoption Institute

San Diego Youth Services Volunteer Opportunities

National Foster Care Month