Below are answers to some of the most common questions we receive from prospective resource families about our foster program. You can also watch our short video explaining the application and licensing process. Can't find what you're looking for? Contact us!

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Question Answer
What is foster care?

Foster care is a temporary arrangement until a child’s permanent plan is achieved, such as reunification, adoption or guardianship. The goal of foster care is to provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment to children removed from their birth families.

What is a foster parent's role?

A foster parent is a person who cares for children/youth who have entered the foster care system. Fostering a child is an opportunity to provide a nurturing and loving environment to a child during a time of crisis.

What is required to be a foster parent?

You will be required to successfully pass a background check and have the ability to provide a safe and suitable home environment to youth. Commitment to the process is also required, which may be in the form of ongoing training, home visits, check-ins, etc.

What are the age requirements to foster?

You must be at least 21 years of age and there is no age limit to be a foster parent. The only requirement is that a foster parent is physically capable of providing care to youth.

Can I be a single person and still foster?

Yes! There is no requirement regarding a foster parent’s marital status.

Can I work while fostering?

Yes! However, if working, a foster parent is responsible for any childcare.

Can same gender couples foster?

Yes! EA Family Services does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

Is there an income requirement?

Yes. Foster parents must be able to show that they are able to cover all costs of care, prior to reimbursement.

Do I need to own my own home?

No. The only requirement is that a safe and suitable living environment is provided.

What if I have never had children?

You are not required to have parenting experience prior to becoming a foster parent. However, you will be expected to provide a safe, nurturing, and suitable home while following best parenting practices. We will provide this level of training.

Is it a problem that I have a pool (or other body of water) at my house?

No. This does not disqualify a person from certifying as a foster parent. However, regulations may indicate that fences or other precautions be applied, based on the age of the placed youth.

Will I receive financial assistance?

Yes! Certified foster parents are reimbursed with a stipend to cover the cost of the youth’s care, which includes housing, food, clothing, activities, etc. At a minimum, this stipend is currently $1,031 per month, based on full-time care. However, this rate can be increased, depending on the specific needs of the youth involved.

What kind of training and support will I receive?

EA Family Services offers pre-approval training as well as ongoing training to further foster parents’ skill sets.

Is there help with transportation?

Yes! EA Family Services employs transporters to aid with court-ordered appointments and other mandatory meetings when foster parents are unable to do so.

Do both foster parents need to be licensed?

Yes! Regulations dictate that all foster parents be licensed. In addition, all adults living in a household with foster youth must be able to pass a background check.

What are my options for respite?

EA Family Services understands that families need breaks at times. We will do our best to assist in finding a safe and suitable respite option, if needed.

Can foster youth share a bedroom with my children?

Yes! Foster youth are not required to have their own room. However, if a room is shared, consideration should be given to age, gender and level of development.

How are medical concerns taken care of?

Foster parents are responsible for maintaining doctor and dental appointments as indicated by need. Most foster youth are covered by Medi-Cal insurance.

Will I only be offered placements from the county where I live?

No. Foster youth can be referred from any county in California, as well as out-of-state, in certain situations.

How many youth can I foster at one time?

Currently, the maximum number of total youth in a given household is six. EA will work with you to determine the most appropriate capacity for your situation.

How many youth can share a bedroom?

Currently, two. However, those with large living spaces may be approved to have four in the same room.

What do I do if there is a crisis or emergency situation?

Each certified family has a social worker and office dedicated to their family that they may call upon. In addition, after hours, EA Family Services employs the use of a 24-7 on-call response team, trained to handle these sorts of situations.

Which age range of youth has the biggest need for families?

There is a prevalent need for all ranges of youth, from 0 to 21 years of age. Currently, however, the age range with the highest level of need are teens.

How long does the process take to become a certified foster parent?

This can vary greatly, depending on a person’s situation. On average, this can range from four to twelve weeks.

How does the placement process work?

We will receive a referral from a placing agency (e.g., county CPS, social services, etc.) describing the needs of the youth. We will then reach out to our certified foster parents to find the most appropriate home for the youth.

Who are the children?

On any given day, there are over 430,000 children in foster care. They are in your community or the surrounding areas, and they need a loving home. Often, these children have been removed from their caregivers because of abuse, neglect, and/or other unsafe circumstances.

Where do the youth come from?

The majority of youth in care have been removed from their biological families for a variety of reasons. However, foster youth may come from additional situations as well.

What should I expect when a foster child arrives to my home?

Children coming into foster care are not only processing the trauma of the abuse or neglect they faced at home, but the shock of being removed from their family, and placed into a stranger’s home. While the goal as a foster parent is to provide a safe and loving home, a child whose life has been turned upside down may not understand or acknowledge your open-heartedness. It’s likely they will be upset and in extreme distress. Keep in mind, building rapport and trust takes time and patience.

How long will a foster child stay in my care?

The length of time varies and will depend on the child’s family situation. For some, their stay in foster care is brief; while for others, foster care lasts longer until a permanent option becomes available.

What happens to a child when they cannot return to their birth parents?

EA Family Services will work with our foster families to maintain a long-term commitment and permanency for these youth. We can also help assist with an adoption process, when applicable.