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Foster Parent FAQs

1. Who are the children?

Thousands of children in California's foster care system require temporary out-of-home care because of parental neglect, abuse or exploitation. The largest percentages are African American and Latino children. Some stay in foster care for weeks; some for years. The children are of all ages and varying needs.

2. What is the role of a foster parent?

Foster parents provide a supportive and stable family for children who cannot live with their birth parents until family problems are resolved. In most cases, foster parents work with social services staff to reunite the child with birth parents. Foster parents often provide care to many different children.

3. How do I become a foster parent?

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 determine the type of child best suited for their home (i.e., age, health issues, and gender).

4. Can I afford to do this?

Foster parents receive a monthly payment to feed, clothe and meet the material needs of the children placed in their care.

5. What if my foster child gets sick?

Medical and dental coverage is provided through the Medi-Cal program.

6. Can I still work?

For working parents, appropriate child care arrangements must be made by the foster parents.

7. Are there age limits?

Age requirements are flexible as long as your health, energy and desire are appropriate. Retired foster parents are also needed.

SPECIAL NOTE: County placing agencies have indicated a particular need for foster homes that will provide homes for adolescents, for homes that have enough room to permit siblings to stay together, and for homes that may be used on an emergency shelter basis.


Telephone toll-free at 1-800-KIDS-4-US (1-800-543-7487) or search the Foster Care Recruitment and Training Information - County Links web page:

Foster Caregiver Policy and Support Unit
Child & Youth Permanency Branch
744 P Street, MS 8-13-78
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-7465