The Angels Difference

Process | Commitment

Interested families/individuals must attend an information session before applying to become a Resource Family (family who fosters).

Session attendees will:

  • Hear directly from current / former families / caregivers about the realities of foster care
  • Understand the vital need for more families who will foster in our community
  • Learn why we focus solely on children five and younger and place only one child or sibling set with each family
  • Understand the vital role love, stability of care and trauma informed parenting plays in the health and development of children in foster care
  • Understand that as an approved resource family you will care for each child placed with you until they return to their biologic family or are adopted by a forever family
  • Understand our commitment to provide round the clock guidance and support to our families 
  • Have a clear understanding of the process to become an approved resource family to include: required background investigations, home site inspections, psychosocial reviews and administrative paperwork requirements

Upon becoming an approved resource family, each family is required to take at least one respite (short term / less than 10 days) placement of a child(ren) who is already in care with another Angels family. This important final step provides our newly approved families the opportunity to experience foster care first hand and ensure it is a path they desire to follow. Upon successfully completing a respite placement, each newly approved family now becomes available to take a placement of their own.

Four to six months is the typical length of time it takes to become an approved Resource Family. Families who make completing the approval process a personal priority are often able to complete it in less than six months.

     
     

    SUPPORTING OUR FAMILIES WHO FOSTER

     
     
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    What is a Resource Family?

    A Resource Family is a Foster Family, but as of January 1, 2017, and in support of Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), the State of California has implemented a new children-centered and family friendly review and approval process; replacing and combining elements of foster parent licensing, relative caregiver approval, guardianship approval and adoption approval.

    RFA or Resource Family Approval together with CCR work to increase capacity across the entire continuum of foster care placement options to better meet the needs of vulnerable children in home-based family care. 

    The new approval process does the following:

    • Prepares families / caregivers to better meet the needs of children placed in foster care through the trauma informed model of care
    • Unifies approval standards for all families / caregivers regardless of the child’s case plan
    • Provides children a more seamless transition to permanency (reunification or adoption) 
    • Eliminates duplication of existing processes
    • Provides approved families / caregivers to transfer between California counties and Foster Family Agencies without having to start the entire process over
    • Provides a process for annual review / update of an approved family’s / caregiver’s qualifications

    We Are Here For You

    At Angels, your success in caring for infants and toddlers in foster care is our top priority. We provide you with the support, guidance and means necessary to ensure you experience all of the rewards fostering has to offer.

    Clinical Case Managers

    Angels Clinical Case Managers (CCMs) are the foundation of the individualized service we provide. Our Angels families routinely develop close relationships with their CCM and credit them with being the main reason they are able to foster again and again. 

    All of our CCMs have graduate degrees in either Social Work or Family and Marriage Therapy, are licensed clinicians (LCSW or LMFT) or are pursuing their license, and possess extensive experience in child development and therapeutic support.

    Your Clinical Case Manager will provide help and support in the following areas, and more:

    • Prepare for your home certification and support ongoing licensing compliance
    • Help match your family with a child (or sibling set) according to the needs of the child(ren)
    • Visit your home regularly (weekly) to answer questions and provide needed advice and guidance
    • Assist you in maintaining records on the health and progress of your child(ren)
    • Be available via email, text message and phone as needed. An on-call CCM is available after-hours and on weekends
    • Support your family through any challenges that may arise

    Additional Support

    Angels holds a monthly support group meeting at our office for our parents who foster. These groups are facilitated by our CCMs and childcare is provided (space available). CCMs can connect families to more specialized training throughout the year both at our office and other locations. We have other monthly meet-ups, facilitated by Angels staff at different parks around the county to discuss a variety of foster care topics. In addition, there are several informal meet-ups around the county facilitated by our experienced parents who foster.

     
     

    LOVE COMES IN MANY FORMS

     
     
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    Love Comes In Many Forms

    Angels is proud of its diverse team of resource parents, many of whom have been fostering infants and toddlers for years. We recognize that families come in many different forms: traditional two-parent families, single parents, same-sex couples, and retired and widowed people. We welcome people who don’t have children of their own, as well as those with their own full house.

    We welcome San Diego County residents of all races and ethnicities, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, and ages (preferably over 25).

     

    What Our Families Are Saying:

    “The call to foster a child was not an easy one for us to answer. The thought of loving a child who might leave our home was definitely a fear. But, we didn’t let that uncertainty drive us, we let the fear of a child not having the opportunity to know what love is drive our decision to foster. What a truly wonderful experience it has been.”

    – Chad & Kylie

    “We wondered if seeing foster children come and go from our home would affect our children. We realized, yes, it would, but not in the way we originally thought. Fostering teaches them about love, caring and service.”

    – Paul & Rachel

    “When we said goodbye, we were expecting a dramatic moment, but he locked eyes with his biological mother and went straight into her arms. We knew we had done our jobs well because we didn’t just help a child, we helped a family stay connected during a difficult period and now it was time to step out of the way.: 

    - Martha & Lisa

    “After teaching for more than 40 years, I retired and was looking for a way to use my experience to help children. I went into fostering knowing what I could give to a child, but what I didn’t realize was what the child I had for 19 months would give to me. The Angels staff guided me throughout the process; we are the caring village that makes all the difference in these babies lives.”

    – Patty

     
     

    ADDITIONAL WAYS YOU CAN HELP

     
     
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    Become a Respite Family

    A respite family is a fully approved resource family that focuses on supporting other families who foster for a period of a few days up to two weeks. Our greatest need is for families who can provide respite care for sibling sets, for children with special needs, and during the regular work week. To learn more, email Elizabeth Perlin at eperlin@angelsfoster.org.

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    Special Projects

    • Coordinate a drive for diapers, formula, clothing or other items specifically for children newborn to 5 years of age. You can always find out what our latest needs are by checking our Amazon Wish List.

    • Have your community or church group host a morning, afternoon, or evening out for parents who foster.

    • Host a “party for a purpose” where proceeds benefit Angels Foster Family Network.

    To learn more, email Lani Barnes at lbarnes@angelsfoster.org.

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    Community Ambassador

    Organize / host an outreach event to help us find more families who will foster children in need. Invite us to speak to community groups you are associated with. To learn more, email Lani Barnes at lbarnes@angelsfoster.org.

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    Social Media

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & LinkedIn to help spread the word about Angels Foster Family Network.

     


    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    + How is Angels different?

    Angels parents/families:

    • Foster only one child or sibling set at a time.
    • Focus specifically on children five and younger who have been placed in foster care
    • Willingly commit to the stable care of the child and agree to keep them until permanency (family reunification or adoption) occurs.

    • Consider it a privilege to parent a child in foster care and do so as a contribution to the community

    • Receive in-depth training related to children 5 years of age and younger

    • Are carefully screened and matched to the child to ensure stability of care. (Traditional foster care does not rule out short-term placements and children may experience an average of three placements during their first year in care.)

    • Receive weekly visits and support from their Angels Clinical Case Manager, who is available for parent visitations and court dates, as needed

    • Appreciate their Angels Clinical Case Managers carry smaller caseloads and are focused only on the support of our children and families

    + Why should I become a Resource Family with Angels?

    • Caring for children five and younger in foster care is all we do
    • There are many wonderful organizations who consider it a privilege to parent a child in foster care and do so as a contribution to the community

    • Foster one child or sibling set at a time

    • Receive in-depth training related to children 5 years of age and younger

    • Agree to care for a child until permanent placement is decided

    • Are carefully matched to the child to ensure that this placement is the best and only placement. (Traditional foster care does not rule out short-term placements and children may experience an average of three placements during their first year in care.)

    • Receive weekly visits and support from their Angels Clinical Case Manager, who is available for parent visitations and all court dates, as needed

    • Appreciate that their Angels Clinical Case Managers carry smaller caseloads and are focused only on the support of our children and families

    + Is Angels a county-run foster care agency?

    No. Angels is non-profit charity, licensed as a foster family agency (CCL #374603866) by the State of California and operates independently but in close cooperation with the Child Welfare Services Department of San Diego County.

    + What are the requirements for becoming an Angels parent who fosters?

    Basic requirements include:




    • Attend an Information Session

    • Fingerprint and child abuse index clearance

    • Medical Doctor's approval to care for young child(ren), TDAP vaccine, and TB test

    • DMV printout, current auto insurance, and driver's license

    • Successful completion of our specialized training program

    • Home study including several in-depth family interviews

    • Must be 21 years of age (our preference is 25 years old)

    + Can single individuals be certified/approved to care for a child in foster care?

    Yes. Angels does not discriminate against individuals who meet all of the qualifications to become an Angels parent. We recognize that parents and families come in different shapes and sizes, and we respect everyone's desire to care for a child.

    + How long does the process take to become an Angels family?

    As with all things in foster care, every case is different and each family will go through the process in different time frames. Four to eight months is the typical length of time it takes to become an approved Resource Parent / Family. Families who make completing the approval process a personal priority are often able to complete it in six months or less.

    + Where do children served by Angels come from?

    Children come to Angels after they have been taken into protective custody by County of San Diego Child Welfare Services.

    + Do Angels children have contact with their birth parent(s)?

    All children in foster care have court-ordered reunification plans. Angels parents are responsible for making sure that the children are available to visit with their parents as ordered by the court. As a resource family you will coordinate / arrange the visits with the biological parents and ensure they fit everyone's schedule. Visits are held at the Angels office or in a public place such as a park, community center, or library. Visits are never held at the home of the resource family or biological family.

    + Who is with me at the visits?

    Resource parents supervise each visit and along with providing a written summary. For your first visit and if needed, your Angels Clinical Case Manager or other Angels Staff member will be present to assist with establishing the expectations and requirements for visits.

    + How long will a child stay with us?

    A phrase you will come to understand is that every case is different. Reunification with biological family is the primary goal of the County, the Court and Angels for every case. However, these biological parents must comply with the court's orders to regain custody, so the length of placement varies. At Angels, we ask that our resource families commit to caring for the child or sibling set until a final placement decision is made. This may take up to two years but most often occurs in ten to twelve months.

    + I thought only older children needed foster homes, is this true?

    Forty percent of the children in foster care in San Diego are under the age of five. This is the largest group in foster care, and the most vulnerable.

    + I have heard that children in foster care have medical issues, how often is this true?

    Some children have medical issues, and some do not. The most common issues we see are neglect, malnutrition, physical abuse, in-utero drug exposure and abandonment, though this is not always the case. When there are issues, we have found that a loving and nurturing environment restores children to optimum health very quickly.

    + Does the county provide medical coverage?

    Medi-Cal provides medical and dental coverage for each child placed in foster care.

    + Will I receive any compensation for caring for an Angels child?

    Resource parents/families receive a stipend payment from Angels funded by federal, state and local sources to cover / defray the expenses (clothes, food, diapers etc…) of providing care to a child in foster care. Angels Resource Parents / Families view their commitment as a contribution to creating a healthier and better community. Children in foster care are also automatically eligible to receive assistance through the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program.

    + How much support will our family receive while we have a child in our home?

    Angels is here to support you every step of the way and never want you to experience anything in foster care without being able to speak with us or have our support. Our Angels Clinical Case Managers are available 24-7 to offer guidance and experienced Angels parents also often mentor new families. Additional trainings and support group meetings are offered throughout the year.

    + Can Angels families ever adopt the child(ren) in their care?

    Yes. When reunification efforts are unsuccessful, children may become eligible for adoption. There is no requirement for you to adopt a child you have cared for and many of our families choose not to adopt. However, many of our families are also open to growing their family through adoption. As every case is different, we never know ahead of time which child/children will reunify and which ones will be made available for adoption.

    + If I solely want to adopt should I foster through Angels?

    Most likely not. If your sole purpose is to adopt we are not the agency for you. Fostering a child brings incredible joy and emotional heartache and is not for the faint of heart. It is certainly possible to adopt through fostering a child but there is not guarantee as to when and where this might happen.

    + May I read stories from other Angels parents about their fostering experience?

    Yes, click here.

    + Can I help even if I don't have the time or resources to be a parent who fosters?

    Yes. Your tax-deductible contribution to Angels will help us continue to place infants and toddlers in loving homes. Angels depends on the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. Click here to learn more about contributing to Angels.

    + How is Angels funded?

    Angels is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization funded through contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. We also receive funding for basic program costs from public sources. All contribution funding received is used to recruit, train, and support Angels families and their children in care.