Because every child deserves a permanent, loving home
 

Become a Foster Parent

Foster Care and Adoption

There is no more important volunteer role than providing a nurturing and educationally rich home for a child whose family is in crisis. There is no greater reward than knowing that you’ve made a difference in a child’s life. Whether you are single and live alone or you are married and your grown children have left the nest, you could be the ideal foster parent for a child in need of a home. At WCC, we provide the resources and support you need to make a difference in a foster child’s life. Right now, thousands of homes are needed– homes for infants, siblings, older children, children of all ethnicities and ages. And many of these children are in need of permanent homes, in need of permanent families.

Who can be a foster or adoptive parent?

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Foster care provides temporary homes for children who have been neglected or abused and who are under the jurisdiction of the county’s foster care system — the overwhelming majority of children are in the county’s care due to neglect. In situations when it is not in the best interest of the child to remain in his family of origin, finding a permanent family for that child is the priority. WCC works to find and train both foster and foster-adoptive parents for children in the system. We have worked successfully with families from all demographic groups and backgrounds– single, married, gay, straight, people of color, white, divorced, retired, working mothers, etc. Your status is not determinative; your commitment and ability to meet the needs of a child is.

There are practical requirements – i.e. is your house safe and does it have adequate space? Further, your family income must be sufficient to meet your family’s needs, although financial assistance is provided. Medi-Cal is provided for all health and mental health needs as well as a monthly stipend of $877-$1,048 to cover foster child needs. Federal and state adoption tax credits are in place for completed adoptions. As of 2014, the Federal Tax Credit is $13,190 per child. http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/faqs/

If you want to make a difference in a child’s life, if you want to make a difference in your life, we want to work with you and support you.

Last year, there were 56,138 children in foster care in California. Each of these children needs a nurturing foster home where they will be supported, nurtured, and loved, yet there is a severe shortage of foster homes

For more information, or to sign up to attend one of our monthly information sessions, contact Jill Rosenberg at 310-846-4100 ext. 6162 or jillr@westsidechildrens.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process to become a foster or foster-adoptive family?
What are the qualifications to be a foster and foster-adoptive parent?
What do foster and foster-adoptive families do?
Can I foster or foster-adopt?
How does a child become a foster child?
How many foster children are there?
Who are foster children?
What happens to siblings in foster care?
How long do children stay in foster care?
What is the difference between foster and foster-adopt?
Can I choose the ethnicity of the child who I foster or foster-adopt?
Can I choose the gender of the child who I foster or foster-adopt?
Do I have to accept a foster child placement if asked?
How much does it cost?
Why choose WCC?
What are WCC’s services?

What is the process to become a foster or foster/adoptive family?

The three steps to becoming a foster or foster/adopt family through WCC are detailed below. WCC’s friendly, knowledgeable professionals will support you throughout the process.

Step 1: Getting to know WCC

Give us a call! Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is here for you every step of the way. The process begins with an orientation to introduce you to WCC, our mission, and our foster and foster-adopt programs as well as to answer any questions you have. At that point, if you are interested in moving forward with the process, you will complete an application and sign up for one of our MAPP (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) courses.

For more information about the next orientation:
WCC’s foster and foster/adopt information sessions are held monthly, generally on the first or second Tuesday of the month (note: March’s orientation will be held on a Thursday) at 6:00 pm at our Family Strengthening site at 5721 W. Slauson Avenue, Suite 200, Culver City, CA 90230. Please contact Jill Rosenberg at 310-846-4100 ext. 6162 or jillr@westsidechildrens.org for more information.

Step 2: Getting to know you

In order to become certified, all interested foster parents must complete a MAPP course, a total of 24-hours of training, offered four times a year (on 4 consecutive Saturdays or 8 consecutive weeknights) and designed to:

  • Prepare prospective foster parents to care for foster children
  • Prepare prospective foster parents to work with children’s families of origin as they work to reunify with their children
  • Help potential foster parents decided whether becoming a foster parent is right path for them

During this course, WCC will provide facilitate the process for every adult living in the home to obtain a fingerprint background check, including the Child Abuse Index. In addition, the family will be asked to provide background information on each family member.

Lastly, one of WCC’s licensed clinical social workers will perform a family assessment, or “home study,” to ensure that your home and your family are prepared for a foster child to join you. The social worker will conduct individual and family interviews and walk with you through your home to show you what needs to be done to satisfy state regulations. This home study is a perfect opportunity for you to ask any questions or bring up any concerns that you may have.

This process of certification can take anywhere from three to six months from the time you begin the MAPP course.

Step 3: Making connections

We love helping to build happy, loving families for children in need. WCC carefully matches the needs of each child with the strengths of our certified foster parents. The length of time this step takes depends on the stated criteria of the foster parents.

For more information about the next orientation:

WCC’s foster and foster/adopt information sessions are held monthly, generally on the first or second Tuesday of the month at 6:00 pm at our Family Strengthening site at 5721 W. Slauson Avenue, Suite 200, Culver City, CA 90230. Please contact Jill Rosenberg at 310-846-4100 ext. 6162 or jillr@westsidechildrens.org for more information.

What are the qualifications to be a foster and foster-adoptive parent?

Foster children need stable, nurturing, loving adults to care for them. WCC is proud to work with families of any race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or marital status.

In order to become a certified foster parent, you must:

  1. Be at least 25 years of age
  2. Successfully complete the “Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting” (MAPP) training course
  3. Complete a family assessment (home study) with one of WCC’s licensed clinical social workers
  4. Complete and comply with the safety awareness checklist for the home
  5. Have fingerprint and child abuse index clearance (This must be done for anyone living in the home who is over the age of 18)
  6. Have a physical examination, including TB clearance (This must be done for anyone living in the home over the age of 18)
  7. Designate a primary baby-sitter who must also have fingerprint and child abuse index clearance, as well as general medical and TB clearance on file with Westside Children’s Center
  8. Successfully complete First Aid and CPR certification, including infant CPR
  9. Provide proof of sufficient income to meet the needs of the family
  10. Provide evidence of car insurance and California liability minimum
  11. Complete a safety check of all automobiles that will be used regularly to transport foster children
  12. Provide a recent DMV printout (If requested, WCC can access on your behalf this for a small fee)
  13. Provide copies of current driver’s licenses
  14. Provide proof of a safe and appropriate car seat
  15. Provide the agency with three written references
  16. Sign and agree to maintain a minimum of 15 hours of in-service training per parent, per year
  17. Sign and understand all additional policies, procedures, and agreements set forth

For more information about the next orientation:

WCC’s foster and foster/adopt information sessions are held monthly, generally on the first or second Tuesday of the month at 6:00pm at our Family Strengthening site at 5721 W. Slauson Avenue, Suite 200, Culver City, CA 90230. Please contact Jill Rosenberg at 310-846-4100 ext. 6162 or jillr@westsidechildrens.org for more information.

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What do foster families do?

A foster family provides a safe, supportive, loving home to child(ren) who have been detained from their families due to substantiated allegations of neglect or abuse. A foster family serves as a safe harbor for children while their family receives family strengthening services, such as counseling and therapy. The goal of foster care is to provide children with a safe, nurturing environment while their parents of origin: improve their ability to care for their children remove any threats to the child’s safety and well-being from the environment and, ultimately, reunite with their children
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Can I foster or foster-adopt?

Foster children need stable, nurturing, loving adults to care for them. WCC is proud to work with families of any race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or marital status.
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How does a child become a foster child?

Foster children are children (of all ages) who have been separated from their families of origin due to neglect and/or abuse and are in need of a safe, nurturing home.

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has a child abuse hotline through which mandated “reporters” (social workers, teachers, school personnel, physicians, counselors, law enforcement officers, etc.) report allegations of neglect and/or abuse. DCFS responds to the call and makes a determination about whether the report is substantiated or unsubstantiated. If it is determined that the child(ren) are at further risk for abuse by staying in the home, DCFS will remove (detain) the child(ren) and look for an appropriate relative with whom to temporarily place the child. After exhausting those options, DCFS will then search for a family in the community that has been certified as a foster family.
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How many foster children are there?

  • In California today, one out of every 50 children (over 56,000) is living in foster care. (kidsdata.org)
  • In 2012, each week more than 200 children in Los Angeles County were removed from their home due to neglect or abuse. (LA Times)
  • In Los Angeles County, more than 13,000 foster children are waiting for adoptive families. The vast majority of these children are in foster care due to neglect.

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Who are these children?

Foster children range from infants to teens and come from families of diverse backgrounds. However, there is a disproportionately high number of young children (0-5) who need foster homes. The majority of foster children in Los Angeles County are children of color.
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What happens to siblings in foster care?

If it all possible, siblings are kept together in one home. When there is no home available for all siblings, tragically they are sometimes split up into different homes. There is a tremendous need for families who can take multiple children.
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How long do children stay in foster care?

The length of a child’s stay in foster care varies greatly, case by case. Some children live with foster families for a few days, others a few years. In our experience, the average length has been approximately one year.
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What is the difference between foster and foster/adopt?

WCC’s process ensures that all of our families are dually certified to both foster and adopt depending on their interest.
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Can I choose the ethnicity of the child who I foster?

Yes, you can specify the ethnicity that you feel comfortable incorporating into your family. Foster children represent all ethnic backgrounds found in this country. However, there is a great need for families to provide homes for children of color. In Los Angeles, the vast majority of children are of African-American or Latino decent. The fastest growing population of foster children in Los Angeles County is Latino.
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Can I choose the gender of the child who I foster or foster/adopt?

Yes, you can specify the gender that you feel most comfortable incorporating into your family.
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Do I have to accept a foster child placement if asked?

WCC carefully matches children in need of families with certified foster parents based on the stated criteria of the foster parents. When WCC contacts you with a child who might be a good match, you will have the opportunity to make the final decision.
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How much does it cost to become certified?

WCC’s orientation, MAPP training, and home study are provided at no cost. Prospective foster parents are responsible for paying for the fingerprinting, TB tests, and CPR and First Aid certifications.
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Why choose WCC?

WCC is a non-sectarian, non-profit organization that has been supporting foster children in Los Angeles County since 1987. Because of our extensive range of child development (See: Early Education Program) and family strengthening (See: Strengthening Families) work, our friendly, knowledgeable, highly-trained staff, are equipped to support you every step of the way. In addition to the information, tools, and strategies you will receive during our MAPP training course, our agency is structured to provide your family with extra supports (See: Comprehensive Services), such as access to our full time nurse, adoption attorneys, mental health services, special needs advocates, post-adoptive services, support groups, and a variety of other resources.
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What are WCC’s services?

The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) contracts with WCC to provide foster care and adoption services. Because of the expertise we have gained from our 25 years of working with children referred by DCFS, we know what it takes to ensure they get the care and support they need to grow up to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. We know how to recruit, train, match and support foster parents who provide safe, nurturing homes for children who are not safe with their families of origin. This process includes background checks, home visits, and a seven-week class during which prospective foster parents are given information to equip them to understand and support foster children who might be placed in their homes.

When reunification is not in the child’s best interest, permanency becomes the primary concern. In these situations, WCC moves quickly to avoid multiple placements, and ensures that children thrive in loving, permanent adoptive homes. In fact, over 95% of our foster children are either adopted by their WCC foster family or return to their biological family. Once an adoption is complete, WCC continues to provide services, such as post-adoption support groups, home visiting programs, case management, parenting education, access to legal expertise and other services that help adoptive families succeed and thrive.
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