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Children in care may be placed by an agency or directly by the birth parents. Most of the children are placed by Napa County’s Child Protective Services or by the Probation Department. Agencies placing children look for a resource home where the child and resource parents seem to be suited to each other. A social worker tells the resource parents about the child, his background, and his needs so the resource parents can decide if they are able to take this particular child. As a resource parent, you are under no obligation to accept a particular child in your home. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
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Resource parenting is a way to make a positive impact on a child’s life. Resource parents provide a safe, loving, and nurturing temporary home for children who are unable to stay with their birth families. As a resource parent, you will become a member of a team that is working to ensure each child’s well-being. The team typically includes the child’s family, the resource family, social workers and other professionals, the court, and the child himself / herself, when appropriate. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
There are many reasons why some parents cannot take care of their children. Sometimes a family emergency makes it too difficult for children to live at home. Some parents are so overwhelmed by their own problems that they are unable to give proper care to their children. Some children may be removed after being physically and/or sexually abused. A parent may decide to place the children, or the Court may remove the children. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
When it is necessary to remove a child from the care of his or her parents, Napa County’s social workers try to find a relative or close family friend who is able to care for the child. Kinship care works well when the family member already has a close relationship with the child and does not have a personal conflict with the child’s parents. This caregiver must be licensed and must be ready to face the same challenges as resource parents who are not related to the child. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
They are like any other children. They range in age from newborn babies to teenagers. There may be one child alone, or two or more brothers or sisters. Like any other children, they need love and security. They need interested, dependable adults to guide them and encourage them. Like all children they have a deep love for their own parents, even parents who may have neglected or mistreated them.
Children in care find themselves suddenly separated from their parents, their homes, their pets, and their toys. All that was familiar is gone. Even though they are now safer, they experience tremendous loss. Rather than appreciate the people who are taking care of them, children in care might become fearful. Some will express their inner fears by being overly timid and quiet. Others may react aggressively. Nightmares and bed wetting are not uncommon reactions as well. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Resource parents are people who find satisfaction in helping a child at a time when he or she really needs help. They understand that the child’s future is unknown. Resource parents have a genuine interest in children and a sympathetic understanding of children’s personalities and behaviors. They are able to give care, guidance, and affection, without expecting a positive response or gratitude from the child. Their encouragement of the child’s efforts and positive behavior builds the child’s confidence. Resource parents are prepared for behavioral problems. They set limits without using corporal punishment. Their ability to set rules that are fair, consistent and appropriate helps the child experience a sense of security. Resource parents work to minimize the disruption in the child’s life. This means transporting the child to school, church, and social activities that may be across town. Resource parents help the child stay in touch with the birth parents and other family members by taking him or her to regular visits.
There are also appointments with professionals who help the child survive this difficult situation. The social worker coordinates the visits and appointments and arranges for transportation when the resource parent can not help with this. In working with social workers and other professionals, resource parents recognize that their own observations are valuable and they speak on behalf of the child. Yet, they must be patient when the professionals do not respond in the way or as quickly as the resource parent would like. Resource parents support the goal of giving every child and parent the opportunity to reunite. They see themselves as partners with the child’s parents and professionals in ensuring the child has a safe and loving home. Sometimes this means communicating with parents about how their child is doing in school, his health, and other aspects of daily life. Resource parents are not expected to communicate with every birth parent, however.
The social worker will shield the resource parents from those birth parents who have not made the necessary changes to ensure their child’s safety or those who have been hostile towards the resource parents. Like having a baby, taking in a foster child changes everything in your family. All members of the family should be united in wanting to have a child in care in their home. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Most children younger than six are taken directly to Emergency Foster Homes. Our Emergency Resource Parents often specify the ages and gender of the children they wish to care for. Our social workers attempt to place children with special needs with more experienced resource parents as much as possible. However, flexibility is very helpful, as usually little is known about the children when they first enter foster care. Older children usually are taken to Valley of the Moon Children’s Home. In both locations each child is assessed for developmental, behavioral and health concerns. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Resource parents have a choice about the length of time they will provide a home for a child. Some people receive children in an emergency and keep them for a few days until they can return home or until social workers can arrange for a longer term placement. Other resource parents provide a home for a child for several months while the birth family is working to make things safer. There are also resource parents who are licensed to provide respite care for children. This gives their resource parents some time off for a few hours or a few days. Some resource parents love to work with older children and support their transition into adulthood. It is difficult to predict how long a child will need foster care. When a referral is made to Child Protective Services, social workers determine whether there is a need for protection.
A resource parent who has agreed to receive a child in crisis may be called at any time. The child may stay a few days while the social worker makes arrangements for the child to return home or to go to another family member. If the child cannot live with his or her own family, the resource parent who first receives the child may be asked to keep the child. Or, the child may move to another resource parent who provides care for several months while parents work to make their home life a healthier and safer place. When the Court makes permanent plans for the child the resource parents might have the opportunity to become guardians or to adopt the child. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
When a child is taken into the foster care system the outcome is usually not known right away. While working to reunite the child with their birth family, the social worker will make a “concurrent plan,” identifying an alternative plan for the child if reunification is not possible. The preferred concurrent plans include living with other relatives, adoption, and guardianship. Resource parents may be identified as the child’s concurrent family to be considered for a child’s adoption or other alternative permanent plan, if reunification is not possible. Most adoptive families served as a child’s concurrent family before the adoption. In order to be a concurrent home, a foster home license is needed. Families wishing to adopt must also have an approved adoptive home study. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Children of all ages come in to foster care when it is believed to be unsafe for them to remain in their family home. Social workers placing children try to make the best match possible. Some resource parents have a child placed in their home immediately upon becoming licensed while others may wait quite some time for a placement. We especially need resource homes for special needs children, older children and teenagers, and sibling groups. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Resource families may specify the ages and genders of children they feel would be the best match for their families. Resource parents’ preferences are taken into consideration as the children’s social workers match them with resource families that can best meet their needs. The social workers typically contact prospective resource parents to discuss the children before making placements. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
If you become an emergency resource family, you probably will not meet the child ahead of time, as these children are usually placed quickly into the emergency foster homes. Otherwise, you usually will be able to meet the child and visit with him / her a few times before he / she comes to live with you. This “transition period” helps make the transition easier for everyone involved. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
We do not give resource parents’ full names and address information to birth parents. However, in some situations resource families develop a relationship with the birth parents and chose to share this information themselves. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
We appreciate that loving families can be very diverse and we support this diversity. Resource parents may be single, married, same sex couples, gay or lesbian, or unmarried couples in stable, long-term relationships. If you are undergoing a major transition in your life, such as a separation or divorce, it would be better to postpone resource parenting until you are better able to provide consistency, security and stability for a child. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Resource parents can live in rented houses and apartments. It is important that your landlord know and agree to your plan to have children in the home. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Older parents can make good resource parents. It is important that your health and energy levels are sufficient to keep up with the needs of raising a child. Resource parenting can be busy. Children may be involved in school or extracurricular activities, and have medical or therapy appointments as well as visits with their family. Young children may require your attention throughout the night. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
The children’s social workers strive to place each child in a home where she or he will thrive. Some children will do fine in a resource home that does not have a stay-at-home parent, while other children need a home with a stay-at-home parent available throughout the day. If you are working it is certainly helpful if you have a flexible schedule. Please remember that most children in care will visit regularly with their parents. They may have unusual medical or other needs and will need transportation to medical or counseling appointments. Resource parents must be able to provide this transportation.
Resource parents have various income levels, but it is important that resource parents have enough income to meet their own family’s needs. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Yes. We ask that you include your foster child in your family activities. But if a foster child is of a different faith, he or she must be allowed to attend worship of that faith. This is an important conversation to have when considering a child for your home. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
No. Foster children may share a room with your own children or with other foster children of the same gender. With some exceptions, you may have no more than two children for each bedroom. Each child must have his or her own bed. A child in care under the age of two may share a room with an adult. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
California offers a small stipend to cover the costs of the child’s board, clothing, and incidentals. Most medical and dental expenses for children in care are covered by Medi-Cal. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
The law in our state requires that families caring for unrelated children under 18 years of age be licensed. Foster home licenses are obtained through Napa County’s Child Welfare Division. A social worker visits the home to ensure that it is safe and has sufficient room for a foster child. The worker becomes acquainted with the family during the home visits. Prospective resource parents as well as anyone over the age of 18 must be fingerprinted for a criminal background check before the license is issued. Applicants also must have CPR / First Aid certification. It usually takes about three months before a license is issued. The license specifies the number and age of children who can be cared for, as determined jointly by the resource parents and the social worker. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.< / p>
Napa County resource parents join a community that offers many different kinds of support. There are several events during the year including a Resource Parent Appreciation Dinner in May, a summer family camp-out, and the annual Holiday Party in December. After a child is placed, the resource parent will meet regularly with the social workers and others concerned about the child’s health and safety. The child’s social worker will meet with you to identify the child’s needs and resources that will help meet those needs.
Throughout the placement the social worker is available to help the child and the resource parents with any problems that might arise. The social worker may also connect the resource parent to other professionals who can help.The Foster Parent Association and Napa Valley College work together to provide educational programs. The Association is a place for resource parents to share their experiences and help each other solve problems. The Foster Parent Association also plans events and group outings. The Foster Kids Fund is a private organization that helps to pay for special things like club memberships or camps. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
Sometimes resource parents will not see the children after they leave. But often, they do. Sometimes resource and birth parents develop a positive relationship which continues after a child returns home. Other times the resource and adoptive parents remain part of each others’ lives. In either case, for example, you may be asked if you would like to babysit, or you may be included in birthday parties. Older foster children may come to visit and may remain members of your family. Some of our resource parents develop a large “extended family” they met through resource parenting. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
If the child has been taken into protective custody or if you suspect she/he may be abused or neglected please call Child Protective Services in the county where the child lives. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
By law, foster children may not stay home alone with the exception of some teenage foster children, who may be allowed to stay at home alone for limited periods of time. If needed, appropriate child care arrangements should be made by the resource parents. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide additional funding to cover child care, although foster children are generally eligible for subsidized child care programs.
The Redwood Empire Foster Parent Association currently provides some respite care funding to their members who are Emergency Foster Parents. This allows these resource parents to run errands, handle a family emergency, or simply to take a break from the daily demands of parenting without having to pay for child care. Also, many of our resource parents get to know each other and become comfortable exchanging some child care between themselves. Financial arrangements should be made between the resource parent and the respite care provider. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
It is important to understand that parenting a foster child it is not the same as parenting a birth child or even a stepchild. Most of the children in care have been abandoned, abused or neglected and this impacts the children’s emotional state and behavior. Even infants are affected by their experiences both before and after birth, and some were exposed to their mother’s substance abuse during her pregnancy. You will need to talk with your foster children about their birth families and help them manage their feelings about being separated. You also need to learn how to interact with the children’s families and to know how to respond before and after the children visit with parents, siblings and other family members.
The pre-service training will help prepare you for this and help you to understand the court process set up for the children’s welfare. You will learn about various community resources and meet some of the professionals you will be working with. You will also become acquainted with one or more experienced resource parents who can serve as a mentor to guide you along the way. The training and support you receive can help make resource parenting a positive experience. Napa County's training is free of charge. Each resource parent is also expected to participate in eight hours of continuing education every year after being licensed. A variety of interesting and useful classes are available.For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
We understand that we are visiting the homes of real people with busy households. We do not expect our resource homes to be spotless or beautifully decorated. We do want to make sure that your home will be a comfortable, healthy and safe place for a child to live. Our licensing social worker usually makes two visits before licensing a resource home. At the first visit she checks to see whether the home meets state standards. If there are concerns, the social worker and applicants work together to try to make a mutually agreeable plan to ensure that the home will meet standards. At the second visit any concerns noted earlier will be rechecked to make sure that the home meets health, safety and comfort standards before licensing.
The licensing social worker also will interview you during these visits to learn about your background, current situation and lifestyle, your family, and your preferences and ideas about resource parenting. This will help the children’s social workers to better match children and resource families. Social workers also will make periodic visits by appointment after you are licensed. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.
All resource homes must meet state standards meant to ensure that they are comfortable, clean, safe, sanitary, and in good repair. Resource homes must: have a working smoke detector in the hallway outside each sleeping area, securely lock up any firearms or weapons, and lock ammunition separately, make the following items inaccessible to children. All dangerous items and toxic substances, including all medicines, garden and workshop chemicals, automotive fluids, household chemicals, and most cleansers must be kept out of reach. How these items are kept out of the children’s reach will depend on the ages of the children you care for and their abilities.
Exceptions may be made to allow teenagers to have access to certain items. If the home has young children, electrical outlets should be covered and stairs must have gates at the top and bottom. Balcony railings and most fences may not have uncovered spaces more than four inches across between the balusters. Young children must be directly supervised by a responsible adult whenever they are outside unless there is a safe and properly fenced play area. Pools, hot tubs and other bodies of water must be properly fenced or have a locked cover if the home is licensed to care for children under 10 years of age, or if there is an older child in care with special needs which might make a body of water more hazardous to him / her.
At times other hazards or concerns are noted during a home visit. In this case, the social worker will discuss your options with you to ensure that your home will meet standards. You are responsible for any expenses involved in preparing your home. Please discuss your plans with us before investing a great deal of time or money in preparing your home for resource care. For further information, contact us at 707-253-4761.