Resource Family Approval

A Resource Family is an individual, couple, or family who has completed the official Resource Family Approval (RFA) process to provide foster care or adoption to a child in the care of DCFS.

Commonly referred to as foster parents, resource families include relatives, extended family members, and non-relatives. Everyone who wants to foster or adopt a child in Los Angeles County must complete the RFA process.

Whether you are the relative of a child in need, a prospective foster parent, or hoping to adopt, the DCFS Resource Family Recruitment and Approval Division welcomes families of all sizes, ages, racial backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, domestic partnership status, medical status, disability status, national origins and beliefs to become resource families.

Ready to become a Resource Family? Start your online application now or call (888) 811-1121 for more information.

Get Started

Download the Resource Family Approval Guide (Toolkit).

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Becoming a resource parent requires flexibility, a good sense of humor, a willingness to grow and learn – but most of all a commitment to provide a safe, stable, nurturing, and loving home for a child.

In order to be eligible to foster or adopt through DCFS, you must be a Los Angeles resident of least 18 years of age, and you must complete the RFA process. You can also choose to foster or adopt through a Foster Family Agency.

Families who do not live in Los Angeles but would like to become a resource family for a child in Los Angeles cannot foster or adopt through DCFS, but you can work with a Foster Family Agency.

DCFS welcomes foster and adoptive parents from all backgrounds! Resource families can:

  • Be single, married, divorced, or living with a partner
  • Live in an apartment, house, and either rent or own
  • Be any race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or culture
  • Be working parents, with appropriate child care

There is no minimum income as long as you can support yourself and provide a safe home for yourself and a child. What’s more, the RFA process is free with the exception of medical screenings. Your RFA social worker can help you identify free or low-cost medical screening options.

How It Works

The RFA process is designed to help you discover whether fostering or adoption is right for you. If you are looking to become a foster parent, adopt, or take guardianship of a child in your care, there are six steps to take to become a Resource Family:

Step 1

Complete the application

Create an account and complete your online .

If you cannot complete the application online, call (888) 811-1121 to begin the process.

Step 2

Attend an orientation

The orientation is an informal meeting for you to learn about the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process, ask any important questions and decide whether you are ready to become a resource family.

 or call (888) 811-1121 to register to attend an in-person orientation.

Step 3

Complete background checks

After submitting your application, you will receive a letter to submit electronic fingerprints, called a LiveScan.

Step 4

Attend Pre-Approval and Pre-Placement training

Prospective Resource Families are required to attend 12 hours of pre-approval and 8 hours of pre-placement RFA training. The RFA training program will provide you with valuable information about the foster care system, the needs of children, and what it means to be a Resource Family. Up to 90 days after approval, you will also need to complete CPR and First-Aid certification, which will be provided to you.

Learn more about RFA Training Requirements.

Step 5

Have a social worker complete the Home Environment Assessment

An RFA Social Worker will schedule a time to meet with you and your family in your home to assess your home’s safety. They will make sure your home passes a basic health and safety inspection and provides a suitable environment for children in the foster care system.

Step 6

Complete a Family Evaluation, which determines your readiness to be a resource family

A RFA Social Worker will schedule an appointment with you and your family to begin the Family Evaluation process. This assessment will assist in determining your readiness to provide a safe and stable home environment for children who cannot safely live with their own families. The purpose of this assessment is to discuss your family’s personal history, interests and lifestyles, childcare experiences, the types of children you feel would best fit in your home, and your strengths and skills in meeting the children’s needs.

Once you have completed the above steps, you will make a decision about the number of children, ages, and child behaviors you feel you are prepared to accept into your family and home. You will then receive a Resource Family certificate of approval. Soon after, you will be contacted by our social workers to discuss the placement of a child or children who match your preferences.

As an approved resource parent, you will  have access to a wide variety of support services to help you provide for the child in your care, including an after-hours warmline, respite care, financial support, and more. Learn more about Foster Parent Resources.

Training Requirements


Community RFA Training Requirements

Trainings for families from the community who want to foster, but who are not relatives or non-related extended family members, are offered by the Community College Foundation.

Before a child can be placed in your home, you must complete 20 hours of training, consisting of:

  • Pre-Approval Training (12 hours): Classes focus on the needs of the child
    Pre-Placement Training (8 hours): Classes focus on self-care and how to be an effective caregiver with prudent parenting standards.

Every year, resource families must complete:

  • Annual Renewal Training (8 hours): also known as “Post-Approval Training.”

Please visit our Events Calendar to view trainings near you. Then talk to the DCFS staff member in charge of your RFA application to register.


Relative Caregiver RFA Training Requirements

Often, children are placed with their relatives before those families are able to complete the RFA process. As such, the training schedule has been adapted somewhat.

If relatives haven’t had a child placed yet but want to become approved preemptively, they may follow the above requirements. However, classes will be offered by other organizations, outlined below.

As soon as possible after placement, relative caregivers must complete the following:

  • Pre-Approval Training (12 hours): Classes focused on the needs of the child. Pre-Approval Training is offered to relative caregivers by community-based organizations, known as Relative Home Assessment Services (RHAS).

Every year, relative caregivers must complete:

  • Annual Renewal Training (8 hours): Also known as “Post-Approval Training.” Post-Approval Training is offered to relative caregivers by Los Angeles Mission College, on, and various Foster and Kinship Care Education (FKCE) programs.

To register, talk to the DCFS staff member in charge of your RFA application. They will be able to register you for the trainings you need.


Ready to become a Resource Family? Start your online application now or call (888) 811-1121 for more information.

Get Started

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