StoriesFoster Parent vs Resource Parent

You’ve likely noticed that on our website, we refer to the caretakers we work with as resource parents, not foster parents.  

That’s because, in 2017, the state of California shifted the designation it uses to refer to those who foster a child in their home. At the same time, the state updated its training and certification processes to better prepare caretakers.  

So what’s the actual difference between foster parents and resource parents, besides the name? Essentially, it boils down to one thing.


Resource Parents Are Prepared to Both Foster and Adopt a Child 

Prior to 2017, California’s foster parents were trained and certified only to successfully foster at-risk children. This encouraged those caretakers to think of themselves as just temporary guardians. It also prevented them from easily adopting a child if they wanted to. 

Under the resource family approval process, all families who complete resource parent certification are approved to not only foster a child, but to seamlessly transition into becoming that child’s permanent guardian. This encourages resource parents to think of themselves not just as “ports in a storm,” but as families who could welcome an at-risk child into their home forever. 


But, Resource Parents Do Not Have to Adopt a Child  

However, resource parents do not have to adopt a child. Many resource parents function solely as foster parents. Many choose only to adopt. The new resource parent certification simply ensures all caretakers are prepared to successfully nurture the children they work with – whether as foster parents or permanent guardians. 


The Difference Is Not That Big 

So don’t get scared of the “resource parent” designation. Resource parents perform largely the same function as foster parents. They’re just better prepared to make the switch to permanent guardianship. 

You can choose to only foster a child, or you can choose to welcome a child into your home permanently. Either way, we can make the path to resource parenting easier. Schedule an orientation if you’re interested in becoming a resource parent!

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