Thousands of children in California’s Foster Care System require temporary out-of-home care

By Jan Dalske

There are estimated to be over 65,000 children in our state, and over 3,000 in the Sacramento area, who require temporary out-of-home care due to parental neglect, abuse, or exploitation. The largest percentages are African American and Latino children. Some may stay in foster care for just weeks, but, many of them will remain there for years. The children are of all ages and have a variety of needs, most importantly they need a stable home. They can no longer remain with their birth parents.
Foster parents provide a supportive and stable family for children who cannot live with their birth parents until family problems are resolved. In most cases, foster parents work with social services staff to reunite the child with birth parents. Foster parents often provide care to many different children. You must be certified to become a foster parent. Adults from the age of 18 to retirement age are welcome, as long as their health, energy, and desire are appropriate.
A license is required to operate a foster home. The process requires a licensing worker to visit your home and meet with you and other family members. Minimum personal, safety and space requirements are required by law. Foster parents work with social services staff to determine the type of child best suited for their home. There may be health issues. Some families may have preference for a boy, and some prefer girls. Foster parents receive a monthly payment to feed, clothe, and meet the material needs of the children placed in their care. Medical and dental coverage is provided through the Medi-Cal program. Foster parents who work outside the home must make appropriate child care arrangements.
The preferred placement of children who require out-of-home care is with relatives. If securing a home with relatives is not a possibility, foster parents and other caretakers can provide a supportive and stable environment for children who cannot live with their birth parents until family problems are resolved. In most cases, the foster parents and care providers work with social services staff to reunite the child with birth parents. Foster parents often provide care to many different children.
Children who require out-of-home care generally come under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The juvenile dependency process involves a series of hearings and case reviews which may result in foster care placement, including placement with relatives. County placing agencies have indicated a particular need for foster homes that will provide homes for adolescents, for homes that have enough room to permit siblings to stay together, and for homes that may be used on an emergency shelter basis.
In some cases, children may require more intensive structured care. These children may be placed in licensed community care facilities that may have from six beds to more, or, in a much larger institution. These group homes offer individualized treatment. To become a group home provider, contact your local county welfare office.
In addition to children placed in foster family homes and group homes, foster family agencies provide another placement resource. Agencies are licensed to provide certified family homes for children who require more services than are provided in foster family homes, yet these homes are less structured than group homes.
Paradise Oaks Youth Services (POYS), a local Foster Family agency has been providing foster care services since 1993. They continue to certify foster families who are committed to providing safe and caring homes for foster children. All prospective foster parents interested in becoming certified with POYS must go through a screening and certification process. They will receive training, and be supported and monitored to ensure compliance with accreditation and Community Care Licensing standards.
If you are interested in learning more about their program, they can be reached at 916-550-2841.

Leave a Reply