Sonoma County Foster Care Licensing Process
Any person taking care of a child who is not a close relative is required by California State Law to have a foster care license. This includes caring for a child that will potentially be adopted by the caregiver, but who is not yet legally free for adoption.
For those interested in adoption, the adoption approval process will be included in Italics in places where it is distinctive from the foster care licensing process.
To apply for a Foster Care License proceed as follows:
- Call Family, Youth & Children’s Services (707) 565-4300 and ask for Foster Care Licensing. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and will receive general information in the mail about foster parenting along with an invitation to the Foster Care Orientation meeting.
Persons planning to work with State Adoptions need to attend the Adoptions Orientation in addition to the Foster Care Orientation. Call Adoptions at (707) 588-5000 for information regarding State Adoptions approval process.
- Attend Foster Care Orientation and be sure to sign in to validate attendance. The Foster Care licensing application packet is available at the meeting to take with you to complete.
- Complete the application to the best of your ability. Call your Licensing Social Worker to arrange an appointment for an office interview. Bring your completed application form to your interview.
If possible, complete the Adoptions application simultaneously with the Foster Care application.
- Prior to licensing, each applicant will need to have a health form completed by a doctor or Family Nurse Practitioner. You also should provide a family picture, verification of current CPR and First Aid certification, and autobiographies prior to licensing. You will need a well test if your water comes from a well. Everyone in the home 18 years of age and older will need a TB clearance.
Foster Home Licensing can accept copies of Adoptions health clearances.
- BACKGROUND CLEARANCES: Applicants should be fingerprinted by LiveScan by appointment only after the intake interview. There is a $12.00 fee per person to process the clearances, so be prepared to present cash or bring a money order payable to the Department of Justice. Everyone 18 years old and older, living in the home will need to complete background clearances.
Adoptions need to have their own clearances done effective 3/29/00.
- Attendance at the 9 week Partnerships in Parenting (PIP) course at Santa Rosa Junior College is required prior to the placement of a child. (Call 527-4999, mailbox 1197 for current class information). If possible, attend while the application is in process. There is no charge for the class.
Attendance at PIP is also required by State Adoptions prior to the placement of children in your home.
- During the licensing process, applicants are interviewed as part of the assessment process. The "home study" interviews are required by both Foster Care Licensing and State Adoptions.
- The pre-licensing home visit is done by appointment. The Licensing Social Worker will inspect the home for appropriateness and safety and review the foster care regulations with the applicant. The Foster Care Licensing process takes 2 - 3 months to complete. Any paperwork not completed initially is due within 60 days of application. Final approval of the application for licensing rests with the supervisor of the Licensing Unit.
The Adoption approval process can take from 3 to 6 months to complete.
To avoid discouragement please remember:
Receipt of a foster care license does not automatically mean a child is placed in the home immediately. Substantial effort goes into the "match" process and it may be a period of time before a suitable match can be made, whether it is for adoption or foster care.