County of Marin Health and Human Services

Foster Care

Children who need resource family homes (formerly called foster homes) are of all ages and from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Most of the children are school age. Some are sisters and brothers who do not want to live apart. They have experienced separation from family and the effects of abuse or neglect, but they are still growing and learning and can blossom in a family able to offer them safety and stability.

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The child welfare staff members protect children from abuse and neglect, and work with birth families to help them keep their children safe. When children must be removed from their birth families, the first priority is to locate relatives that can care for the children.  If none are available, they are placed with a temporary resource family. In most cases, birth parents are provided with services for six to eighteen months to help them reunify (reunite) with their children.

Foster Care Opportunities:

Become a Resource Parent: As a resource parent, you open your home to children needing temporary care. On average, children usually live with their resource family from three to twelve months. Children enter foster care because their biological families are presently unable to take care of them. Resource families provide loving and stable homes, as well as support to birth families, until children can be reunited with their own parents or move on to a permanent home. Adults of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and families of all compositions are needed. You may be single, part of a couple (married or not), any gender identity, and of any sexual orientation. You may rent or own your home. A small monthly stipend is provided to help offset the cost of meeting the children's basic needs.

Getting Started:

Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a resource parent is invited to an orientation. Co-facilitated by a social worker and a foster/resource parent, information regarding the application process, the children and their needs, as well as, an account of what it is really like to be a resource parent will be presented.

Schedule of Orientations on Foster Care:

Month Date Year Day Time Location
(all locations are on the Marin Health and Wellness Campus)
March 12 2019 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
April 18 2019 Thursday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 109, San Rafael
May 15 2019 Wednesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
June 11 2019 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
July 17 2019 Wednesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
August 22 2019 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
September 17 2019 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
October 16 2019 Wednesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
November 14 2019 Thursday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 109 San Rafael
December 10 2019 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 109 San Rafael

Requirements for Resource Parents:

It all starts with the willingness to open your heart and home to a child who needs you.

There are, however, some very basic requirements that need to be met by all families interested in foster care, or in fost-adopt parenting. This list is brief and encompasses the most common conditions that must be met for Resource Family Approval.

  • Your residence must be located in Marin County and must meet basic health and safety standards established by the State of California.
  • The home must have sufficient bedrooms so that adults and children have separate bedrooms. Children may share a bedroom. Adults may share a bedroom with one to two children under age two.
  • Rooms commonly used for other purposes (e.g., dining room, hallway or garage) cannot be used as a bedroom by any member of the household.
  • Each applicant must have sufficient income to meet his or her own family's financial needs.
  • A criminal record check will be conducted on each applicant and adult in the foster or fost-adopt home.
  • Adult caretakers must be in reasonably good health.
  • A Resource Family shall have cellular telephone, Internet telephone, or landline telephone service in the home at all times. 
  • Applicant's must obtain CPR and First Aid training within 90 days of approval.

Who can become a Resource Parent:

  • Be over 18, in good physical and emotional health.
  • You may be married or single.
  • Have the necessary skills, stamina and patience to work effectively with children who may have emotional or physical problems.
  • Have sufficient income to support your own family without relying on foster care payments.
  • Obtain approval to become a Resource Family. That process includes providing references, health clearances, and fingerprints, plus in-home visits from an agency worker who will complete a Family Assessment.
  • Work as a cooperative team member with other children's service specialists including agency workers, court representatives, and health care professionals.
  • Be accepting of the temporary nature of foster care. This means supporting efforts to reunite foster children with their families, or when that is not possible, preparing them to move on to a permanent home, which could be with you if you are interested in adopting or becoming a guardian of a child in your care!

Training and Application Process:

Caring for children as a resource parent is a rewarding and challenging experience. We therefore provide families with emotional and financial support as well as professional training. When someone chooses to be a resource parent they become a very important member of a team of professionals who are dedicated to the welfare of the children.

Anyone who would like to provide care to children in the foster care system needs to complete the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process. The first step is to attend an orientation held by Marin County (see above).

Completion of the Pre-Approval Training class is also required. For more information and to register, visit our website at

Next Steps:

  • Complete an application
  • Complete the introductory training program listed above
  • Become certified in infant and child CPR and First Aid
  • Pass criminal record and child abuse index clearances (fingerprinting)

In addition, we provide ongoing training and support, designed to enhance the ability of the resource family to meet the complex needs of our children.


Resource Families receive professional training and a one year membership to the Marin Foster Care Association (MFCA).  The MFCA offers support through trainings, events and socials. 

Resource parents receive a monthly stipend to help offset the cost of meeting a child’s basic needs. 

Children receive medical and dental coverage through Medi-Cal.   

The Resource Parent Liaison is available to support families in many ways.

Children up to the age of 4 qualify for the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Program which provides vouchers for formula, cereal, cheese and milk, as well as nutritional support.