Phone: (805) 781-1700 | Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Foster Care

What is Foster Care?

Foster care is a temporary out-of-home living arrangement for abused or neglected children for whom the Court has ordered dependency. Foster children are all ages and have varying needs. Foster children and are cared for by Resource Families.

What is a Resource Family?

Resource Family is the new term California applies to caregivers who provide out-of-home care for children in Foster Care.

Resource families include individuals, couples and families. They may be related to the child, have a familiar or mentoring relationship with the child, or no previous relationship with the child. The term Resource Family is now used to describe all types of caregivers, rather than the various terms of Foster Parent, Adoptive Parent, Relative, or Non-Related Extended Family Member.

Resource Families play a critical role in the life of children in out of home care. When out-of-home placement is needed to keep the child safe, Child Welfare Services (CWS) makes diligent efforts to identify, evaluate and consider relatives, family friends and those closely tied to the child as the primary placement option. If a relative or other close adult cannot be located, CWS makes efforts to place the children with an already approved Resource Family that is able to keep them connected with their community and culture. Resource Families work together with CWS staff and the child’s family to successfully return the child to their parents.

As of November 1, 2013, all Resource Families are approved up front to be a potential adoptive home if the family and the Department agree adoption is in the best interest of the children. Approval up front as an adoptive home does not obligate you to adopt the children placed in your care. The decision to adopt is a complex one that must take into consideration the needs of both the family and the child. If you are interested in adoption, speak with your assigned Social Worker and he/she will work with you to determine if adoption of the child placed in your care will be part of the child’s case plan.

What Are The Steps To Become A Resource Family?

1. Make initial Contact with Department at (805) 781-1705 to receive an Information Packet.
2. Enroll in PRIDE classes. PRIDE classes must be completed before home approval can be given.
3. Work with your assigned home approval Social Worker to complete all required paper work, evaluations, and training. Your Social Worker will work closely with you each step of the way.

What is PRIDE?

PRIDE means Parent's Resource for Information Development and Education. PRIDE is the educational component in the Resource Family Approval process. PRIDE is 5 days of classes that include:
  • Application documents
  • Health
  • CPR training
  • Background
  • Interactive panels of birth parents
  • Department staff presentations
  • Community partner presentations

PRIDE is designed to strengthen the quality of Resource Caregivers by providing a framework for understanding how to work with the Department of Social Services, and how to care for children who have experienced trauma.

This series of classes must be completed in order for the Resource Family Approval process to continue.

Download our current PRIDE Schedule.

Adoption

What is Adoption?

Adoption is a legal process which permanently gives parental rights to adoptive parents. Adoption means taking a child into your home as a permanent family member and caring for and guiding children through their growing years and beyond. Adoption means providing them the love and understanding they need to develop their full potential.

Before a child can be placed in your home, Federal and State law requires that Department of Social Services approve your home so that you can become a Resource Parent.

What is a Resource Parent?

Resource Parents provide a substitute family life experience to children in our community who, for a temporary period of time, cannot be with their own families.

Resource Parents provide approved homes that offer stable, positive home environments for infants, children and teens, who for various reasons are unable to live with their family.

Resource Parents are professional parents who enjoy parenting and are willing to share their home, time, energy, and love with children who cannot remain safely in their own home because of abuse or neglect.

As of November 1, 2013, all Resource Parents are approved up front to be a potential adoptive home if the family and department agree adoption is in the best interest of the children. Approval up front as an adoptive home does not obligate you to adopt the children placed in your care. The decision to adopt is a complex one that must take into consideration the needs of both the family and the child. If you are interested in adoption, speak with your assigned Social Worker and he/she will work with you to determine if adoption of the child placed in your care will be part of the child’s case plan.

What are the steps to become a Resource Parent?

1. Make initial Contact with Department at (805) 781-1705 to receive an Information Packet.
2. Enroll in PRIDE classes. PRIDE classes must be completed before home approval can be given.
3. Work with your assigned home approval Social Worker to complete all required paper work, evaluations and training. Your Social Worker will work closely with you each step of the way.

What is Pride?

PRIDE means Parent's Resource for Information Development and Education. PRIDE is the educational component in the Resource Family Approval process. PRIDE is 5 days of classes that include:
  • Application documents
  • Health
  • CPR training
  • Background
  • Interactive panels of birth parents
  • Department staff presentations
  • Community partner presentations

PRIDE is designed to strengthen the quality of Resource Caregivers by providing a framework for understanding how to work with the Department of Social Services, and how to care for children who have experienced trauma.

This series of classes must be completed in order for the Resource Family Approval process to continue.

Download our current PRIDE Schedule.

Child Welfare Services

What is Child Welfare Services?

Child Welfare Services includes a broad spectrum of programs that serve to protect the children in our community from abuse and neglect.

Child Welfare Services’ first priority is to help parents find ways to keep their child safe in his or her own home with services and/or supervision when possible and appropriate. If the child cannot remain safely in his/her home then Child Welfare Services will work to identify a home where the child can live while his/her parents work toward reunification.

Where do Children go when they cannot stay in their home?

The first preference is to locate a relative or other adult with whom the child has a close relationship. Anyone who wishes to provide care for a foster child is required to complete the Resource Family approval process (see FAQ: What is a Resource Family?).

If a relative or other close adult cannot be located, the child will be placed in the home of a family who has already completed the approval process. These are families that have a desire to provide a supportive home for children in need.

What is Reunification?

Reunification occurs when a child who has been removed from the home of his/her parents is able to return home after all safety concerns have been addressed and the Court agrees that Child Welfare Services no longer needs to be involved with the family.

The primary goal of Child Welfare Services is to reunify children with their family as quickly as possible. Child Welfare Services is committed to providing birth families with the resources, training and support they need to make the changes required in order to reunify with their children. The length of time a family can work toward reunification varies greatly depending on the age of the child, specific family circumstances, and any previous involvement with Child Welfare Services.

Each family will work with their assigned Social Worker to develop a reunification plan that outlines what the expectation of the family is, and what type of services will be provided and how long they will be provided for.

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse and neglect, as defined in the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), includes: physical abuse, sexual abuse (including both sexual assault and sexual exploitation), willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, and neglect (including both acts and omissions).

What is a Mandated Reporter?

Mandated reporters are individuals who are mandated by law to report known or suspected child maltreatment. They are primarily people who have contact with children through their employment. Such individuals may include:
  • Social workers
  • Teachers, principals, and other school personnel
  • Physicians, nurses, and other health-care workers
  • Counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals
  • Child care providers
  • Medical examiners or coroners
  • Law enforcement officers

Click here for the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) list of Mandatory Reporters.

How do I report Suspected Child Abuse?

If you are not a mandated reporter, you can call the 24-hour Child Abuse Reporting Hotline at 805-781-KIDS (5437) or 1-800-834-5437.

Remember, reporting your concerns is not making an accusation; rather, it is a request for an investigation and assessment to determine if help is needed. The identity of those who have reported suspected child abuse is kept confidential.

As a mandated reporter of child abuse in San Luis Obispo County, if you suspect child abuse or neglect, YOU MUST:
1. Immediately call Child Welfare Services (CWS) 24-Hour Child Abuse Reporting Hotline at 805-781-KIDS (5437) or 1-800-834-KIDS.
2. Complete and file this report: Suspected Child Abuse Report (SCAR) Form 8572. The Social Worker you speak with when calling the CWS hotline will inform you where to fax/email the SCAR form.
3. Retain a legible copy of the SCAR Report YOU are responsible for making this report. DO NOT ALLOW your supervisor/principal to make the report for you or assume because another co-worker has some of the same information that they will make the report.
4. Do not attempt to investigate, conduct interviews or interfere with the information you hold.
5. Remember that you are to report SUSPECTED abuse – you are not required to have witnessed or have complete proof of the incident. You are obligated by law to report what you observe or what you are told that caused suspicion the child is being physically, sexually or emotionally abused or neglected.

When in doubt, call CWS and get their input about the scope of your report.
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