Become a resource family to foster a child

Ready to get started? Start your online application now.

Why you should become a resource family

SF kids need you

Almost 1,000 children in SF are in foster care. We have a shortage of resource families, so most children need to be placed outside of SF.

You’ll be supported

SF provides financial reimbursement as well as medical, mental health and educational support. We’ll be with you every step of the way.


Opening your heart to a foster child can be an amazingly rewarding experience. You can make a difference in a child’s life.

How to become a resource family if you live in San Francisco

  1. You’ll work directly with our team in San Francisco County
  2. Fill out the application and collect supporting documents
  3. Complete trainings
  4. Provide references
  5. Pass background checks
  6. Complete home and family assessments with a social worker (4-6 home visits)
  7. Get approved

How to become a resource family if you do not live in San Francisco

You’ll need to contact and work with a Foster Family Agency. Tell the agency that you are interested in fostering a child in San Francisco. See below for 2 agencies that work frequently with San Francisco.
Seneca Family of Agencies at 1-877-380-5300
Alternative Family Services at 1-800-300-1022

Foster a child in San Francisco & help your community


I’ve been a foster parent for fourteen years. I’ve taken care of eight children so far. Watching them develop, reunifying kids with family, and knowing that I had something to do with that — all that makes me feel good. It’s wonderful to be a foster parent.

Lorraine Hanks, foster parent of 14 years


What is a resource family?

A “resource family” is the name California gives to caregivers who either foster a child or adopt a child from foster care. Resource Family Approvals — also known as RFA — is a method of certifying care providers for the care and supervision of children, youth, and non-minor dependents in the foster care system.

Who can qualify to be a resource family?

Anyone can qualify! We accept heterosexual couples, same sex couples and single individuals.

Will I have to do training to be approved?

Yes. A 12-hour Pre-Service Training is provided to all potential Resource Families. Your spouse or domestic partner would also be required to attend. Classes are held a variety of times including, weekdays, evenings, and Saturday. CPR and First Aid is required. Specialized training to care for children ages 0-3 is mandatory. Additional training is provided year round and Resource Families are invited to attend. A minimum of 8 hours of training each year is required to maintain current knowledge and encourage growth as a care provider.

How many children can I have in my home?

You can have a maximum of 6 children, including your own biological children or other minors living in the home. Additional limitations may apply if providing care for children with high medical needs.

How will the RFA process affect me if I am already a Licensed Foster Parent?

If you decide that you want to care for a child who is a relative or a non-related extend family member (NREFM), you will not be required to complete the training portion of the RFA process. You will be required to complete the:

  • Application process/forms
  • Permanency assessment
  • Fingerprint requirements

How will the RFA process affect me if I am already a Relative Care Provider?

If you are currently a Relative or NREFM care provider and the child in your home goes AWOL for more than 14 days and then returns to your home, you will be required to complete the RFA process. The youth could stay with you as an emergency placement pending completion of the RFA. Also, if you choose to accept another placement (foster, relative, or NREFM), you will have to complete the RFA process, if not completed before.

I don't live in San Francisco. How do I foster a child in my own county?

If you do not live in San Francisco and want to foster a child, please contact the Department of Social Services in your county to learn more.

Are there any places for me to get a low cost health screening or low cost health coverage?

Yes! In fact we created a list of resources for low cost health screenings and low cost health coverage.

Is there a checklist of safety requirements for my home if I want to apply to foster a child?

Yes! You can see the checklist here.

What is the cost of getting approved as a resource family to foster a child?

There is no cost. The process should be free. The only potential expense is getting a medical clearance, but we have low cost or free options for families here.

Ready to get started? Start your online application now.