Open your heart to a child/youth in foster care

Children in your neighborhood need your help now. To learn more about becoming a resource family attend one of our orientations.

Every month, children in San Diego need a safe, nurturing and loving home.

These children have experienced neglect, abuse or even abandonment. Child Welfare issues arise in families of every race, ethnicity, culture, and age group. Infants, children, adolescents and sibling sets are placed in foster care when their parents are no longer able to ensure their essential well-being. These children need stability in a home with a committed resource parent who will support the child in safely reunifying with their families or establish other lifelong relationships with a nurturing adult through guardianship or adoption.

It takes a community to make a difference in a child’s life! It takes YOU.

What is a Resource Parent?

Any individual, couple, or family who wants to provide care to a related or unrelated child(ren) who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, or otherwise in the care of a county child welfare agency or probation department.

Our greatest need is for resource parents who can care and embrace children who have developmental challenges, medical disabilities, older youth, sibling groups and various ethnic/racial backgrounds. Becoming a Resource Parent is simple, but the process takes time and determination to complete. Resource Family Approval does not guarantee placement of a child.

We look forward in having you join our team in helping to support children and families! Thank you for your interest!

How to become a Resource Family if you live in San Diego

1. Attend a Resource Family Approval (RFA) Orientation meeting

2. Complete and Submit RFA Application forms and supporting documents

3. Complete Background Assessment and Home Environment Assessment

4. Complete 12 Hours of Trauma Informed Pre-Service (TIPS)

5. Complete the Family Evaluation, which includes interviews with all adults and children/youth living in the home.

6. Receive Approval and Written Report

You may be asked to complete and/or provide documentation of the following:

  • Identification for each applicant (usually a driver license or passport)
  • A minimum of two references
  • Employment/income verification
  • Verification of rental agreement or home ownership
  • Health Screening for all applicants
  • Certificate of 12 hours or Trauma Informed Pre-Service Training
  • CPR/First Aid Training
  • Fingerprint verification and Resource Family criminal Record Statement (RFA 01B) must be completed for every adult residing in the home and adults regularly present
  • Home Environment Assessment
  • Adoption specialty classes (If applicable)


What is a Resource Family?

“Resource Family” means an individual or family that a County determines to have successfully met the application and assessment criteria necessary for providing care for a child or nonminor dependent who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, or otherwise in the care of a county child welfare agency or probation department.

Who can qualify to be a Resource Family?

Any adult shall be permitted to apply for Resource Family Approval regardless of age, sex, race, religion, color, political affiliation, national origin, disability, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, actual or perceived sexual orientation, medical condition, genetic information, citizenship, primary language, immigration status, or ancestry.

What are the basic requirements to become a Resource Family?

  • Willingness to partner with the Agency and the child/youth’s family
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Background evaluation for all adults in the home and regularly present
  • Completion of pre-services training
  • Ability to meet State and Agency requirements
  • Proof of income
  • Home Environment Assessment
  • Interviews with family members
  • Submit an application
  • Completion of other tasks as need

Will I have to do training to be approved?


How many children/youth can be placed in my home?

For the first year of your approval, typically you will be approved for a maximum of two dependent children/youth. Additional limitations may apply depending on the size of your home or if you are providing care for a child/youth with special needs. This is assessed on a case by case basis.

Is there a checklist of safety requirements for my home?

Yes. The State Home Environment checklist can assist you in preparing for you home assessment. You can view the State requirement form here.

What is the cost of becoming an approved Family?

The process is free; however, there may be costs on a case-by-case basis.

Questions about adoption?

The first step to adoption is to work directly with the County of San Diego to become approved as a Resource Family. Once you are approved, the expectation is that you will be available to foster, and your goal to adopt will be considered and embraced throughout the process.

Learn More

What is a Resource Parent?

Any individual, couple or family who has been approved through Resource Family Approval (RFA) to foster and/or adopt a related or unrelated child(ren) under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court, or otherwise in the care of a county child welfare agency or probation department. They care for and embrace children of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and abilities until they are able to reunify with their families or reach permanency.

How many children are available to adopt with San Diego County Adoptions?

At any given time, there are typically 30 children in care who are in need of a permanent family. These children do not have relatives or a resource parent available to adopt.

What are the characteristics of children in San Diego in need of an adoptive home?

Our greatest need is for older children of different ethnic backgrounds that present with special medical, behavioral and developmental needs and sibling groups.

What are the requirements to adopt through the San Diego County Adoptions Program?

If you are a resident of California, the first step is completion of the Resource Family Approval process. Some basic requirements include California residency, to be at least 18 years of age or older, be a home owner/renter and demonstrate an ability to meet the household’s financial needs.

What if I do not live in California?

If you live outside the state of California, you must first be approved as a resource/foster parent or have an approved Adoption Home Study from the state where you live. You may send your approval report/Adoption Home Study to us at:

County of San Diego HHSA
Attn: Adoption Placement Coordinator
8911 Balboa Avenue
San Diego, CA 92123

Please also indicate the desired characteristics of the child(ren) you are seeking to adopt, including age, name (if applicable), and gender.

Who can I call about getting started with the adoption process?

Please call the KIDSLine at 1-877-792-KIDS (5437) with any questions you have about becoming a resource parent. You may also call 1-877-423-6788 (1-877-I-ADOPT-U) during regular business hours and speak with an Adoptions Worker about the adoption process.

What does San Diego County Adoptions offer people who adopt?

San Diego County Adoptions is the oldest public adoption agency in California (since 1948). Some of the services we provide are:

  • Finding families for children in need of a supportive, loving, permanent home.
  • Assisting prospective adoptive families through the placement and finalization process.
  • Stepparent Adoptions
  • Independent Adoptions
  • Pre & Post Adoption Support Services contracted through San Diego Youth Services (SDYS) @ (619) 221-8600 ext. 2240
  • Adoptions Assistance Program (AAP) – medical/financial assistance for children with special needs.
  • Free training on a range of topics (adoption, child development, and trauma-informed parenting).

How can I find a San Diego County Adoptions office near me?

We serve all of San Diego County. Our office headquarters are located at 8911 Balboa Avenue, San Diego, CA 92123. You can connect with us by sending an email to or calling (877) 792-5437.

How long does it take to complete the adoption process?

The length of time from when a child is placed in your home to when the adoption is finalized can vary depending on the length of the Resource Family Approval process, court processes and the specific needs of the child(ren) placed in your home. The assigned Adoptions Worker for the child(ren) placed in your home will walk you through the process and inform you of additional steps based on your particular situation. Some requirements may include:

  • Adoption preparation classes
  • Training to further support the needs of a specific child
  • Submitting copies of additional documents other than what is required for RFA

How do I get matched with a child(ren) for adoption?

San Diego County has an Adoption Placement Committee that meets to discuss children needing an adoptive placement and approved families that best match the needs of these children. The information of families that best match are shared with the child’s Adoption Social Worker for review and consideration in the selection process.

What is an Adoptive Telling?

An Adoptive Telling is a written report that documents comprehensive information known to the County about a child in need of a permanent home. Adoptive Tellings are presented by the children’s Adoption Social Worker to a family that is being considered for potential adoptive placement before the family commits.

What is a First Meeting?

A first meeting is an introductory visit between the child and selected prospective adoptive family. This visit usually takes place at the child’s current placement or a location familiar to the child. This visit can often be very exciting, yet filled with some level of anticipation or anxiety for both the family and the child. The child’s Adoption Social Worker will have prepared the child to meet the family and will be present at the first meeting as a trusted adult to support the child and introduce the family.

How long does the transition take?

The length of the transition varies depending upon the age of the child, their needs, and the family’s readiness. You will be working with the Adoption Social Worker on the transition plan. The transition plan requires flexibility and patience on the part of the prospective adoptive parent(s) to assure that the process is as comfortable as possible for the child.

What is the Stepparent Adoption process and cost?

For information on how to file a stepparent adoption, please go to the website and select “Juvenile”, then “Adoption.”  The “How to Adopt a Child in California (ADOPT- 050 – INFO)” form on Stepparent/Domestic Partner Adoptions provides an overview of all the forms needed to complete the process.  Submit the completed forms to the Juvenile Court at 2851 Meadowlark Drive, San Diego, CA 92123 or 325 South Melrose, Vista, CA 92081 to file them with the Court Clerk.  The fee is $270.

What is an Independent Adoption and does San Diego County Adoptions offer this service?

Yes, San Diego County Adoptions completes independent adoptions. An independent adoption is when birth parents select the adoptive parents and voluntarily place the child directly with them. Custody is transferred directly between the parents usually with the assistance of an attorney. In addition, an Adoption Services Provider (ASP) is required when the child is not related to the applicant(s), which generally is an additional fee of $800 – $2,000. Cases are initiated upon the Agency’s receipt of a stamped conformed copy of a petition that has been filed at Juvenile Court. The fee for this type of adoption is $4500 or $1500 for families with a valid home study. There is a sliding scale for lower income families. Independent Adoption petitions are filed with the Juvenile Court Clerk at 2851 Meadowlark Drive, San Diego, CA 92123 or 325 South Melrose, Vista, CA 92081.