Relative Placements for Youth

If a young person in your family or extended family is currently detained in Juvenile Hall or in an out-of-home placement, you may request to that your relative be placed with you through the following process:

Step 1: Inform the Probation Department

Lady with phone

It is important that the Probation Department knows you are interested in caring for the young person in your family. The law requires County agencies to give priority to relatives and extend family members who are interested in housing their relatives. 

If you do not know who the Probation Officer assigned to your relative’s case, please call (408) 278-6077 and tell them you are the relative of a young person who is detained in juvenile hall or has been removed from their home. Ask to speak with the assigned Probation Officer.  You will need the young person’s full name and their birth date.

Step 2: Begin the RFA Process

Filling Out Form

If the young person in your family cannot return home and you want the Court to consider your residence as a living option, begin the application process to become an approved resource family and make the transition as soon and quick as possible.

Step 3: Come to the young person's Court hearing

Court room

You may not be allowed in the Courtroom, but you can wait to speak to the attorney representing the young person and request a relative information form (called a JV-285) at Court. This form allows you to give the Court information about the young person and to inform the Court that you would like the young person to live with you. 

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ’s]

    Youth of all ages and all ethnic and economic backgrounds need foster care. It is vital to share that youth in care are first and foremost children. They laugh, they love, they have pets, and they have best friends. Youth in foster care are going through a very hard time in their own families related to concerns which brought them before the Juvenile Justice System. Like adults, youth can be depressed, anxious, fearful, and angry. Some have emotional, medical and/or developmental challenges. They may have delayed social skills and/or special school needs. Like all kids, youth in foster care need stability, comfort, and routine in their lives.

    Resource (foster) parents are urgently needed to care for youth who cannot live and be cared for by their relatives or extended non-related family members. Resource (foster) parents fulfill a vital role in ensuring that youth are safe and nurtured to grow and thrive.  

    Resource (foster) parents are especially needed to care for: 

    • Youth on Probation and under the supervision of a Probation Officer.  

    • Youth with special medical, emotional, developmental, and educational needs.  

    • Youth with substance abuse issues.

    The Juvenile Probation Division (JPD) makes every effort to place youth with resource (foster) families who can provide the right family space for a specific youth. This helps to provide comfort and hope. The goal of JPD and the Juvenile Justice System is to reunify youth with their birth/legal parent(s) if and when it is safe. We need every resource (foster) family to support the goal of reunification while also being committed to providing a permanent home if the birth/legal parents are unable to reunify. This blending of helping youth and parents to reunite while making plans for permanence (adoption or Legal Guardianship) if reunification is not possible is called "Concurrent Planning." You will work closely with the youth’s Probation Officer, the school, therapists, and other professionals. You will also work with the youth’s birth/legal family by giving support to visitation with parents/siblings and the youth’s relationships with extended family. 

    The Juvenile Division works with the Department of Family and Children’s Services to have all resource (foster) families approved within 90 days of submitting a RFA application. The time frame can depend on a variety of factors such as results of background checks, how quickly you complete the Pre-approval training, and Assessment.

    All potential resource (foster) parents must attend Pre-approval Training. This training is 27-hours of instruction. It covers topics such as, the court system, role of the social workers, attachment issues, grief and loss, discipline, and impact of trauma. It also includes types and effects of abuse and neglect. Resource (foster) parents must also complete Pediatric and Adult first aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training. Initial certification must be an in-person hands-on training class and must be completed within 90 days of approval.  

    Fostering a youth is not the same as parenting a child born to you. You will need to support the youth placed in your home around their feelings about their birth/legal family and about being on Probation and in foster care. You will work with the youth’s Probation Officer and other professionals to learn how to work well with the youth’s birth/legal family. You will also work with them to know how to respond to the youth’s behaviors before and after visits with the parents and other people important to the youth, such as brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Resource (foster) parents must complete 8 hours of post approval in-service training every year. There are interesting and useful classes offered throughout the year. The training and support provided by the Department of Family and Children’s Services will help you have the tools to make the placement a success. 

    Resource (foster) family applicants and all the adults who live in their homes or come to the home on a regular basis must submit to a live scan. Federal and State criminal records are checked, as are California child abuse and neglect records. In some cases, child abuse and neglect records in other states will be checked. For applicants who have lived in another state in the previous 5 years, a Megan’s Law check is also performed.    

    Each applicant or adult in the home’s criminal and/or child abuse history are reviewed on a person-by-person basis. If there is criminal or child abuse history, an applicant or other adult in the home will need to work closely with the RFA social worker to complete a criminal/child abuse history exemption. If an exemption for an applicant is denied, the RFA application will not be approved. An exemption for an adult residing in the home or an adult that visits the home often can be denied. If it is denied that adult will not be allowed to reside or visit the home. Also, the application will not be approved until that adult has left the home. 

    Age requirements are flexible as long as your health status and energy level can keep up with the needs and activities of a child/youth living in your home.  

    The youth’s assigned Probation Officer provides support through monthly visits to the resource (foster) family or more often if needed. They also give support through regular phone calls, and useful information and encouragement. They also support the family and ensure that any unique challenges the resource (foster) parents face are addressed by the Probation Department. The Probation Officer also provides referrals to community services, respite care, and childcare for working resource (foster) parents. Federal and State foster care reimbursement programs provide funding for the care and supervision of youth in foster care. Resource (foster) parents receive a reimbursement check on a monthly basis for each youth placed in their home. There is a standard basic rate paid, and youth may be eligible for special care increments based on medical or emotional/behavioral issues that are documented by a treating professional.  Other funding beyond the basic rate is available for resource (foster) families caring for teenagers.  

    Resource (foster) parents also benefit from the services and programs through the Kinship, Adoptive and Foster Parent Association (KAFPA). The KAFPA resource center is located at the Department of Family and Children’s Services building in downtown San Jose. KAFPA does have a low yearly membership fee however, being a member of the group is not required to engage in many of the programs and trainings offered. Upon being approved as a resource family, you will get a free membership for the first year you are a resource parent. The KAFPA center is where many of the trainings given to resource (foster) parents are held. On-site is the Director of KAFPA, a resource specialist, resource (foster) parents who volunteer, a resource library and a clothes closet. KAFPA also sponsors many special events for resource (foster) families through the year. 

    Other benefits for youth in foster care include the following: 

    • Medical Coverage – Most youth qualify for the State medical insurance program, Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal pays for medical, dental, counseling and other health related expenses. Some youth are covered by their birth/legal parent’s insurance.  

    • Clothing Allowances – When a youth first enters care, an initial clothing allowance is provided based on the age of the youth. Although part of the monthly basic care and supervision rate is intended for the purchase of clothing, an annual clothing allowance is also provided. More funding for clothing due to unusual or unforeseen situations is also available.  

    • Child Care Program – A childcare reimbursement program is available for working resource (foster) parents of young children.   

    • Respite Care Program – Resource (foster) parents can receive reimbursement for respite care to attend in service training or handle a family emergency. Respite care can also be used simply to take a “break” from the daily demands of parenting. Some resource (foster) parents find their calling in being respite care providers for their fellow resource (foster) parents.  

    • Liability Insurance – Santa Clara County provides liability insurance for resource (foster) parents. This insurance covers both property damage and bodily injury to third parties attributable to the actions of a youth placed in their home. In addition, it also provides limited insurance coverage if a youth causes damage the resource (foster) parent’s property.  

    • Special Funds – The youth’s Probation Officer can request special funds to meet a foster child’s unique social, emotional and recreational needs.  

    • There are emergency funds provided to resource (foster) families who take youth on an emergency basis. These funds are to cover immediate needs of the youth, such as toiletries, food, and clothing. 

    California State law requires that a family/individual be approved under the Resource Family Approval Program to care full-time for an unrelated child under the age of 21. See more information on the RFA program and the RFA written directives:​

    The Probation Department works with the Department of Family and Children’s Services to approve families who want to care for youth in foster care. There are also Foster Family Agencies (FFA) who contract with the State to approve and monitor resource (foster) families as well.

    No. There may be some cost for getting your home ready to meet health and safety standards. For example, you must have enough sleeping space, although a youth is generally not required to have his or her own room. Your home must have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Water and sewage systems must meet state guidelines. Weapons, harmful chemicals, and medicines must be locked up or kept out of reach. When caring for children under 10 years of age or youth who have disabilities, swimming pools and other bodies of water must be covered or fenced in. 

    The Juvenile Probation Division (JPD) and Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) may share confidential and/or personal information with another County, department, or foster family agency. This information is shared for the purpose of the Resource Family Approval Program, or for the purpose of placement of youth with a resource (foster) family. JPD and DFCS take confidentiality very seriously for its resource (foster) parents and the youth in foster care. The youth’s assigned Probation officer and /or your RFA social worker or recruiter can provide more information about confidentiality and consent to share your personal/confidential information.  

    When you share your home with a youth in foster care, the youth’s family will learn something about you and your family through the youth. You may also share about yourself with the youth’s family as you interact with them around the youth. The youth’s Probation Officer will also give a basic information about your family to the birth/legal parents once a youth is placed in your home. You will be provided key information about the youth’s family that is needed for you to know and understand. This is so that you will know how to provide the best to care to that youth. Ideally, a youth will benefit greatly from seeing their resource (foster) family and birth/legal family respecting one another and working together. In this way, the youth will receive the best care and quality parenting. 

    Resource (foster) parents may be married, single, separated or divorced, LGBTQ or same-sex families, and any religious background. They may own or rent their home or apartment. They must also have enough space for an added youth.

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