Resource Family Approval (RFA) is the California process of approval for relatives and non-relatives, extended family members, foster or adoptive parents to care for a child or young adult in foster care. RFA was implemented so that the application process for foster and adoptive parents is the same, allowing resource parents to adopt a child in their home seamlessly, without waiting periods, additional background checks or home studies.
Usually, the goal is for foster children to reunify with their biological family. If the biological family does not complete their case plan as assigned by the county worker, the child(ren) may become eligible for adoption. If there are no other blood relatives eligible or interested, then foster parents typically have the ‘first right of refusal’, meaning the county needs to ask the foster parents if they would like to adopt the child(ren) before looking for other possibilities. You are never obligated to adopt.
In addition to the county worker, you will have an assigned Krista social worker who is available to you and will visit with you and the children on a regular basis. You can always call your social worker between visits and when you need extra support.
This falls under the "Prudent Parenting Standard," which basically means that you should use your best judgment and follow the same rules you would set for your own kids to keep them safe and healthy. We want foster children to have as many normal, fun childhood experiences as possible. It is fantastic for them to have sleepovers, go to camp, go on (in-state) vacations with you, play sports, etc., with people and organizations you have checked out and are comfortable with. If you are ever unsure, please check with your Krista social worker.
Resource parents receive a monthly check to reimburse them for the expense of having the child in their home. The amount is set by the State of California and can vary based on the child's specific needs. The resource parent uses these funds to provide all the things a child needs: groceries, utilities, allowance, clothing and extras such as sports, music lessons, camps, school supplies, etc.
Foster children have been through traumatic events such as abuse, neglect, violence and separation from their family. This trauma can manifest itself in many ways, including depression, angry/violent outbursts, trouble concentrating, stealing, lying, etc. You and your Krista social worker will craft a plan to address the cause of the behavior, and assist the child in changing their behavior. Some of the best "treatment" is often just the love and safety that your home provides.
However, if you feel that you are not able to adequately care for the child, or that the safety or your family or the child is at risk, we may agree to move the child to another placement. Both the county and the resource parents have the right to give a "14 Day Notice," notifying all parties involved that the child must be moved to another placement within 14 days.
Under the Prudent Parenting Standard, you are allowed to use a babysitter of your choosing to provide short-term (less than 24 hours, including overnight), occasional childcare for foster children in your home. For longer time away, respite care is available. Respite caregivers have gone through background checks and are trained to provide care for foster children. You will accrue respite hours, based on how long you have been a resource parent with Krista, that you can use to pay your respite caregiver. You may also choose to pay out of pocket, if you don't have enough hours banked. Work with your Krista social worker to plan your time away and ensure the respite caregiver has everything they need.