By Nefertiti Austin, Certified PS-MAPP Trainer
A foster parent or family, also known as a “Resource parent” is a family who opens their homes to children or teens who have been removed from their birth parents and provides temporary care. With the passing of the Continuum of Care Reform or AB403 in January 2017, more resource families are needed to care for the staggering number of foster youth without a permanent connection to a family. As a result, they need long-term relationships one or more caring adults.
- About 38% of foster youth are placed in kinship care every year, while 51% still remain in foster care one year later.
- About ½ of foster youth who age out every year leave without a permanent connection to a caring adult.
- Roughly 3,000 foster youth enroll in extended foster care every year, giving them access to support services for 4 more years.
Foster Care: Placing a child in an agency-approved home for a temporary period of time due to parental neglect, abuse, abandonment, illness, incarceration or death. The goal is to eventually reunite children with their birth family.
Family Reunification: The aim is to safely reunify children with their birth parents or family when parents become stronger, healthier and in a position to provide a safe loving home.
Adoption: Occurs when a child who is in foster care has been legally freed for adoption and their birth parents’ rights have been terminated. The adoptive parent or family provides a permanent home and assumes the parental role for the child or children.
Why do youth enter foster care?
What kinds of support are available to a youth in foster care?
What are some challenges foster youth and parents experience?
How do the different family dynamics of the foster care system impact the well-being of a foster youth?
What resources are available to relative caregivers, foster families or those interested in fostering?
What are the outcomes of youth in foster care in Southern California today?
Are there new laws today affecting families in the foster care system?
What is family reunification?
What happens to a foster youth when family reunification is not an option?
What is adoption?
How is adoption beneficial for a youth in the foster care system?
A Personal Perspective on Family:
In foster care, family comes in all shapes and sizes. Four years ago, when Marcy Valenzuela was only 24, she decided to take in three of her eight siblings. She became a sister mom. “None of us thought our parents were going to get them back, and we didn’t want them to get lost in the system.”