If you live in Merced County and you are open to both adopting and fostering…
The first step is to get approved as a Merced County Resource Family, and you will work directly with the County of Merced.
Once you are approved, the expectation is that you will be available to foster, and your goal to adopt will be embraced and considered throughout the process.
What is the cost of adopting a child from foster care in Merced County?
If you go through the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process with Merced County, you will not incur expenses for your home study or background clearances. You may have to pay for medical clearances through your provider, however these expenses can be reimbursed after the adoption is finalized.
If you work with our partner agency Family Builders to become a foster parent, you will pay for background clearances and any additional charges for medical clearance through your provider. These expenses can be reimbursed after the adoption is finalized.
How long does the process take to adopt from foster care?
This will depend on the individual case of the child you are adopting. The timeline is extended if the parent is engaged in efforts to reunify/ plan contested in court.
Do I always need to foster before I can adopt?
There are some children whose birth parents’ parental rights have been terminated and these children can be adopted more readily.
For children whose birth parents still retain parental rights, every effort has to be made to reunify a child with their birth parents before a child could be adopted. There is a need for the child to be placed in foster care in the interim while the social workers work with birth parents to engage them in reunification efforts. The social worker is also focused on identifying a permanent home for the child if reunification does not happen. As a Resource Family with Merced County, you can expect to be the foster caregiver of a child who may return to live with their parent or with a family member. You can also expect to be the foster caregiver of a child you may adopt.