There are more than 60,000 children in the California Foster Care system who are waiting for the love and security that a permanent home provides. Adopting a child from foster care is a great way to help a child while growing your own family. Children enter the foster care system through no fault of their own, usually due to neglect, abuse or exploitation. When a child enters the foster care system in California they are in the temporary custody of the state until social workers can find them a better or more permanent solution. Less than half of the children who enter the foster care system are returned to their birth parents, most children in foster care end up becoming adopted by relatives or foster parents. When a child in foster care is adopted by a relative this is called a kinship adoption. When a child is adopted by a non-relative foster parent or family, this is what's known as a foster to adoption through the Resource Family Approval process.
A resource family is any individual, couple or family that has been approved to take children into their care. Whether someone is looking to adopt, foster or temporarily open their home to a child, they will first need to become a resource family by way of the RFA process. In order to receive a resource family designation, each applicant must pass a home inspection, background check, and family evaluation. Resource families also receive mandatory training that prepares them to create safe and nurturing home environments.
With an increase of children coming into foster care, the need for carefully trained families is at a high. Whereas old family approval processes could take several months, the RFA program aims to complete assessments within 90 days. Currently, one of the greatest challenges with the RFA program is assisting families through the approval process within the 90-day window, but as agencies adapt to new procedures, the vetting and training process is becoming more streamlined.
Here's a quick start to finish break down of adoption through foster care in California process:
Sign up and attend an RFA Orientation
Set up a Consultation
Complete Application Form and Fingerprints
Complete Training Modules and Application Packet
RFA Process Completed, Approved, and Matching Begins
Once you become an approved Resource Family, placement can be immediate or take months, it all depends on how open you are and how flexible your situation is. The completion of the entire RFA Approval process varies from case to case, some people wrap it up very quickly (3-4 months) while others take a bit longer (6-12 months). It all depends on the individuals, available resources, schedules, etc. The final step is the child matching & placement process. This step really varies case to case. For example, if you were looking for a specific type of child to be placed with, then your selection would be narrowed down and it could take months (or even years) to find a suitable match. On the other hand, if you are open to any type of child coming into your home, then you could be matched days after completing your RFA Approval and you could have a child (or children) placed with you immediately. In the most ideal situation with everything lining up perfectly, you could adopt a child through Lilliput Families in 3-6 months, but in a more complex scenario it could take 2-3 years. There's really no way to know for sure how long your journey could take, but we encourage you to dive in head first and accept the challenge. W promise you won't regret it!
If you would like more information about becoming a Resource Family, visit this page and fill out this form.