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How to Become A Foster Parent in California

Should I Become a Foster Parent in California?

The role of foster parents is vital in helping the vulnerable children of California and providing them with an enabling environment for their learning and growth. Many factors often contribute to children needing foster care. Their biological parents sometimes struggle to give them the right care as a result of poverty, unemployment, mental/physical health issues and drug addiction, etc.

This is when the California foster care system steps in to connect such kids with qualified foster parents who can support them in the best way possible. Different types of foster care includes conventional foster care, medical assistance, temporary shelter and care, adoption or kinship care and emergency care, etc. 

Providing foster care to a deserving child is quite a noble thing to do. If you believe you have what it takes to do that, then the information provided in this piece will help you.


No hard and fast obligation.

Age Requirement

Older than 25


Mandated by the California State Foster Parent Association (CSFPA)


Previous foster experience, though not mandatory, is often considered a plus.


Key Skills and Abilities

Open and honest communication, active listening, calmness under stress, behavior management, self-assessment, ability to take on and deal with unique challenges, patience and perseverance.

Source: National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) and California State Foster Parent Association (CSFPA)

Good communication skills and the ability to listen well are essential for foster parents. While caring for a foster child, you will need to maintain regular and effective liaison with the kid’s biological parents, staff from the concerned foster agency, personnel from the child’s school and the relevant state body that oversees all matters related to foster care.

Furthermore, if you want to become a foster parent, then you must also have the ability to reflect on your own behavior, have a personality and possess the capacity to not be overwhelmed by unexpected challenges.

Steps to Become a Foster Parent in California

In order to become a foster parent in California, you must meet the requirements mentioned below. Once you have all these bases covered, you can then contact a foster care agency that looks after at-risk children in your city/town/county.

  1. Must be older than 25.
  2. Should have a regular source of income to support your own and the child’s needs.
  3. Ability to take care of the emotional and developmental needs of the child.
  4. Should be able to provide full-time care and support to the kid.
  5. Must have an adequate home with at least one bedroom available.
  6. Pass a comprehensive criminal background check.
  7. Have the ability to easily and effectively work within a team.
  8. Should have a car with valid insurance and a clean report from the California DMV.
  9. Must be able to maintain some flexibility in your own schedule to fit in the child’s therapy, medical appointments and court-directed visits.
  10. Clear the Home Safety Check mandated by the California Department of Social Services.
  11. Complete all state licensing and certification requirements to become a foster parent.

All the details in this regard can be found on the websites of the California Department of Social Services and the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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