Resource parents are special people who are asked to assume the direct care of a foster child. This is a challenging task which involves the foster child, his/her natural parents, the resource family, Golden State Family Services staff and the placing agency. The demands on resource parents are multiple. They are expected to give a child the physical and emotional care that only a family can provide. This requires developing an awareness of and sensitivity to the background of the child. Each child reacts to placement in a unique way, which requires flexibility on the part of the resource parent. When a new child comes to your home, there will be changes in all of the family relationships. Everyone will have a little less of each other’s time and a little less privacy. As a result, it is important that everyone be aware of and prepared to accept the changes that will occur. One way the agency may help your family prepare is by encouraging your school age and older children to speak to the agency social worker regarding how this will impact the family.
Another major task of resource parenting is being aware of the feelings of the foster child and his parents about their forced separation and the fact that the resource family is a substitute family. It is important that the foster child’s parents are accepted as the real parents. This assists the foster child and his parents in maintaining their emotional bonds.
One of the most difficult tasks of resource parenting is to accept and care for a foster child and then have to give that child up. Once a possible date for ending placement is established, you can ease the transition by acknowledging well in advance that the child will be leaving and discussing the positive aspects of the change.
The lives of resource parents will also be changed by dealing with the agency. You will need to accept supervision from the social worker in planning for the care of the foster child, as the agency has ultimate responsibility for the care of the child. There may be times that you are asked to cooperate with the agency when you disagree with the agency plan. At such times, open, direct communication is very important.
To do an effective job as a resource parent, you will need to be open to new ideas and approaches to parenting. You are probably already trained and/or experienced in child care as a parent yourself. With the agency, you will be trained to deal with the special needs of foster children. The agency social worker is a good resource person for educational opportunities. Initial and continuing training with the agency is a vital part of our program. All resource parents are expected to participate.
Golden State Family Services is a non-custodial adoption agency licensed by the State of California Department of Social Services Agency Adoptions Program to provide adoption services and work cooperatively in the following counties: Alameda, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne, and Ventura Counties.
We are able to assist prospective adoptive parents in helping them move through the adoptive process faster by completing the required S.A.F.E. (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) Home Study for our county partners. Our primary goal is to find permanency for many of the state’s special needs children in the waiting foster care program.
A primary barrier for many families who are considering adoption is the cost. With that in mind GSFS charges no fees to adoptive applicants wishing to adopt a special needs child. We participate in a Private Adoption Agency Reimbursement Program (PAARP) which provides reimbursement for the costs of adoption. Further many of the children in the foster care system qualify for the Adoption Assistance Program which removes the financial disincentives for families to adopt by providing a federally funded monthly subsidy.
We have experienced adoption staff who all possess a Master’s in Social Work and are trained by the Consortium for Children in Structured Analysis Family Evaluation©. We also offer Spanish Bi-lingual services.
Please contact us for further information on becoming an adoptive parent today. We have monthly evening ‘Adoption Orientation’ classes at no cost. We look forward to hearing from you and your family potentially becoming a forever family for a special needs child!