The VTR Foster Family Agency (FFA) approves families, provides supportive services and therapeutic care for children and youth ages birth to 17 years old and Non Minor Dependents (NMD) ages 18 – 21 years old in Fresno, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, and Tulare Counties. The youth are either dependents of Social Services or delinquent juveniles placed by Juvenile Court order.
VTR FFA provides therapeutic services to children and youth who are victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment or have a history of delinquent behaviors. Professionally trained social workers provide trauma‑informed practices, intervention, advocacy and personalized care to create a foundation for success.
VTR FFA social workers recruit, approve and train potential Resource Families. Once approved, these families receive ongoing training, support, and supervision while they provide a loving and stable environment for children and youth to grow and thrive.
Resource Family Approval (RFA)
RFA is the family-friendly and child-centered caregiver approval process that combines elements of the previous foster parent licensing, relative approval, and approvals for adoption and guardianship.
Becoming a Resource Family (Foster Parents)
Whether a family is interested in providing temporary foster care or a permanent plan of adoption, they must first become an approved Resource Family. There are many prerequisites to becoming an approved Resource Family. The most important is the desire to provide a loving and stable home to a child or nonminor dependent in need. Once that desire to serve is established, the Resource Family must possess the ability and willingness to do the following:
- Meet the needs of children and nonminor dependents..
- Make use of support resources offered by the Foster Family Agency or by a support structure in place, or both.
- Support the case plan for a child or nonminor dependent, including reunification, and help prepare a child or nonminor dependent for permanence, or provide provide permanency through adoption or legal guardianship. Click here for more information abut Adoption services.
- Honor the natural connections of a child or nonminor dependent.
- Prepare a child for adulthood or to prepare a nonminor dependent for the transition to independent living.
In addition, there are specific qualifications required, as discussed in detail in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
What is Resource Family Approval (RFA)?
RFA took effect in California in 2017 and changed the way individuals who desire to be foster or adoptive parents are approved. It is streamlined process that helps to eliminate the duplication of existing processes. The approval standards are now the same for all caregivers regardless of the child’s case plan. It includes a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, home environment check and training for all families, including relatives. Families are better prepared to meet the needs of vulnerable children and youth in the foster care system. The initial comprehensive assessment also allows for a seamless transition to permanency.
What are the qualifications required to become an approved Resource Family?
Whether a family is interested in providing temporary foster care or a permanent plan of adoption, they must first become an approved Resource Family. There are many prerequisites to becoming an approved Resource Family. The most important is the desire to provide a loving and stable home to a child or nonminor dependent in need. The applicants must be at least 18 years of age, in good physical and mental health, and shall submit a completed application, which includes (but is not limited to):
- Proof of identity.
- Department of Motor Vehicles report on the applicant, and all adults residing or regularly present in the home who may frequently transport the children or nonminor dependents.
- A health screening by a health professional.
- If employed, verification of current employment.
- Verification of the applicant’s current income and disclosure of expenses.
- Documents verifying that the applicant owns or rents the home in which the applicant resides or has written permission to reside at the residence by the owner of the home.
- A home and health safety assessment.
- Character references.
- A thorough background check.
An applicant shall participate in a family evaluation and complete pre-approval training. An applicant may be required to complete other activities related to their ability to be approved as a Resource Family.
What does the comprehensive assessment process look like?
The comprehensive assessment includes a home environment assessment, background check assessment, and permanency assessment, which includes a family evaluation. A Family evaluation includes minimum of two face-to-face interviews with any applicants and a minimum of one separate face-to-face interview of all other individuals living in the home. A written report is completed from this assessment, which includes a psychosocial evaluation.
What is the first step to becoming a Resource Family?
The first step to becoming a Resource Family is to attend an orientation. The orientation will provide detailed information on the specifics about the requirements to become a Resource Family, the duties of the Resource Family after approval and a trained professional will answer any specific questions from interested families.
What are the required trainings?
Initially in order to become a Resource Family through Valley Teen Ranch each applicant must complete the following trainings/certifications individually:
- Trauma Informed Parenting Workshop through Valley Teen Ranch. This training is offered three times per year and focuses on trauma-informed parenting. The curriculum is Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: A Workshop for Resource Parents from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
- Pediatric First Aid, CPR, AED.
- Safe Sleep and Abusive Head Trauma Class- *this class is REQUIRED if you wish to care for children under the age of 4 years old.
- Basic Water Rescue- *this class is REQUIRED only for those who have pools, spas or other bodies of water on their property.
After initial approval, each Resource Parent will need to complete a minimum of 8 hours of training annually.
Can I work full-time and be a Resource Family?
You must be financially self-reliant to qualify as a Resource Family. Foster children and nonminor dependents have many court ordered services, which may include, but are not limited to visitation, teaming meetings, and therapeutic services. Resource families are also responsible for transportation to health-related services, school, extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities. Therefore, families should consider the ages of the children and their level of needs before taking placement. You can also utilize respite care providers approved through Valley Teen Ranch to care for your foster children in your absence.
What population does the Foster Family Agency serve?
Valley Teen Ranch Foster Family Agency serves all children and nonminor dependents age’s birth to twenty-one-years old regardless of age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, physical or developmental ability, mental capability or ambulatory status. A family should take into consideration age, gender and ethnicity preference as well as the total capacity for their home. The family should also consider any special needs or considerations, temperament characteristics, challenging behaviors, attachment issues, stress related behavior, medical/developmental/emotional factors, learning/school issues, sexual behaviors and sexual orientation/identification.
Can I adopt the foster child placed in my home?
Some children are placed with an approved Resource Family with the intent of adoption. Other children may become eligible for adoption if reunification with their birth parents is not successful. The Resource Family Approval has streamlined this process so that the Resource Family will be pre-approved for adoption should they chose to provide a permanent plan of adoption for a youth in their home.
“Being a foster parent means putting your very heart on the line again and again while praying that it won’t get broken. Our FFA family knows this and gave us never- ending encouragement, support and love. The whole team at Valley Teen Ranch played their part in the bigger design and now that our adoption journey is coming to an end we can look back and clearly see the moments that brought us to where we are. All of these moments made us stronger as a family and we wouldn’t change a thing!”
-Justin & Keirsten
-The Moore Family
License # 107000324
Assembly Member Ting, C. F. (2019, February 21). AB-995 Transitional Housing Program-Plus. Retrieved from California Legislative Information: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB995
CA.GOV. (2019). Department of Social Services. Retrieved from Resource Family Approval Program (RFA) : http://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Resource-Family-Approval-Program
For more information, please contact FFA@valleyteenranch.org