What is Foster Care?
Children involved with Child Welfare Services (CWS)
may enter foster care due to abuse, abandonment, neglect and/or because of an
incapacitated caretaker/parent. Resource
Families (formerly known as foster families) open their homes, providing a temporary safe haven for these
children. Resource families provide a
safe, stable and supportive family environment for children who cannot live
with their birth parents. In most cases, the resource families work with Child
Welfare Services to reunite the child with his or her birth parents. Because
foster care is meant to be temporary, once the birth parents demonstrate that
they are able to meet the basic needs of their children and keep them safe,
they are returned to their care. Should the child be unable to safely return to the
parent’s home, Child Welfare Services actively prepares the child for adoption
or guardianship with a permanent family.
Who Are the Children in Foster Care?
There are currently over 500 children in foster care in Santa Barbara County. Children can come into care at any age, from birth up to 18 years. Approximately one-third of the children are 5 and under. The majority of children are school-aged children, including pre-teens and teens. They come from various family backgrounds and many are part of a sibling group of two or more. In Santa Barbara County, the majority of children in care are Caucasian or Latino. Some may stay in care for a few days, and others for an extended time. Most have been neglected, or are victims of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Because of the trauma and disruption they have experienced, some may have special physical, mental, and/or emotional needs. All of these children need a safe, stable and loving resource family to provide the quality care they need to grow and thrive!
Becoming a Resource Family
Every child deserves to have a reliable grown-up on their side. Are you interested in fostering a child? Click to learn more about becoming a resource family and the Resource Family Approval program, or contact the Resource Family Information Line at 1-866-899-2649. You can also visit our website dedicated to information, resources and support for resource parents and kinship caregivers: ourcountyourkids.org.