What do foster and adoptive parents do?
Foster and adoptive parents work as a team with Walden Family Services social workers to help children and youth in foster care grow, thrive and reach their goals. Together you provide for children’s day-to-day physical, emotional and developmental needs while they are in care, and create social and recreational opportunities where children can develop relationships with peers and caring adults.
You help kids manage the trauma that brought them into care, and the grief and uncertainty about whether they will be reunified with their family. You also coordinate visits with kids’ birth parents, siblings and other family members, and role model how to build healthy, lifelong relationships.
How do I become a foster or adoptive parent?
You can become certified as a foster or adoptive parent through Walden Family Services by attending an orientation and free training classes, and successfully completing a home inspection and background check to ensure that you and your home meet child safety requirements. You also participate in an assessment of your home and parenting abilities, commonly referred to as a home study. The home study is used to introduce you to county social workers who help to match you with children in care. Additional requirements may apply.
What are the requirements for becoming a foster or adoptive parent?
- Walden requires parents to be at least 21 years of age, and in good physical and mental health. Many people become foster parents when they are retired or their children are grown.
- Parents who are single or married, straight or LGBT are welcome. All parents living in the home must attend all training sessions and complete the certification process.
- Foster parents must have sufficient income to meet their own current living expenses prior to becoming certified. Adoptive parents must also have sufficient income to meet the financial responsibilities of the child/ren you are looking to adopt.
- You can be a renter or homeowners, as long as you have at least two bedrooms.
- Working parents can make arrangements for children to be supervised by an individual daycare provider, before or after school program, or a fingerprinted individual over the age of 18 (sometimes 21) while they are at work.
What support services does Walden provide to foster and adoptive resource families?
Walden provides a variety of support services for foster and adoptive resource families, including:
- Weekly visits to your home by a master’s level social worker
- Referrals to community resources
- Support coordinating medical, educational, recreational and daycare services for your child(ren)
- 24-hour on-call availability
- Ongoing training
Does Walden provide financial assistance for foster and adoptive resource families to care for children?
Resource families receive a monthly stipend to reimburse the cost of the food, clothing and other day-to-day needs of the children placed in their care.
In addition, the federally-funded Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) provides financial assistance for eligible foster-adopt children who have special needs through age 18. Eligible needs include:
- cognitive, emotional or physical disabilities,
- identification as a member of a minority or ethnic group; and,
- histories that put children at risk for special needs.
Both foster and adopted children are eligible for Medi-Cal benefits through age 21.