What is Foster Care?

Foster Care is an important safety net service for approximately 300 children each day in Santa Cruz County. Foster Care provides a temporary safe haven for youth who cannot stay in their homes because of abuse, neglect or their parents’ inability to provide adequate care.

Foster children can be any age and from any background. Foster homes are especially needed for sibling sets, teenagers and young adults. We are also always on the lookout for loving caregivers for children with special medical, educational, behavioral, and/or emotional challenges.

In most cases, foster parents find themselves providing stable loving homes for children on a temporary basis while the children's parents work with the court and Family and Children's Services to safely regain custody of their children.

Sometimes, foster parents will provide permanent homes for children. If the court system determines that it is not safe to return a child to the birth parents, the foster family may have the option of either adopting the child or becoming the child’s long-term guardian.

What kind of families are we looking for?

We are looking for people who will open their hearts to our children. Successful foster parents can be any one of us: single, married, divorced, with children or without children, LBGT, young or old, homeowner or renter. What’s important is your ability to provide a stable, loving home for children.

Foster Care Fact Sheet

To be a foster parent you'll need to:

  • Participate in a licensing process, which involves background checks and home assessments.
  • Work and collaborate with a team of various social service professionals. 
  • Help your child through the grieving and adjustment process that comes with being removed from his/her birth parents’ home.
  • Be flexible and able to adjust to the unexpected or unknown.
  • Engage your child in services designed to address any special needs he/she may have.
  • Help your child develop positive feelings about his/her family of origin.
  • Provide your child with a safe, loving, comfortable place to live.