Become a resource family to foster a child

Ready to get started? Start your online application now.

Why you should become a resource family

Merced kids need you

There are over 500 Merced County children and youth in foster care. They need loving and supportive homes in their community.

You’ll be supported

Merced provides financial reimbursement as well as medical, mental health and educational support. We’ll be with you every step of the way.


Opening your heart to a foster child can be an amazingly rewarding experience. You can make a difference in a child’s life.

How to become a resource family if you live in Merced County

  1. Attend orientation
  2. Fill out Resource Family Application
  3. Home Inspection
  4. Training Program
  5. Home Study Interviews
  6. Complete Resource Family Approval
  7. Child placed in home as foster child

How to become a resource family if you do not live in Merced County

If you live outside Merced County and would like to be a resource family for a Merced foster child, you’ll need to work with a Foster Family Agency.
See below for agencies that work frequently with Merced County.
Approachable FFA (
Rainbow Valley FFA (
Creative Alternatives FFA (
Promesa (


What is a resource family?

A “resource family” is the name California gives to caregivers who either foster a child or adopt a child from foster care. Resource Family Approvals — also known as RFA — is a method of certifying care providers for the care and supervision of children, youth, and non-minor dependents in the foster care system.

Who can qualify to be a resource family?

Anyone can qualify! We accept heterosexual couples, same sex couples and single individuals.

Will I have to do training to be approved?

Yes. A 12-hour Pre-Service Training is provided to all potential Resource Families. Your spouse or domestic partner would also be required to attend. Classes are held a variety of times including, weekdays, evenings, and Saturday. CPR and First Aid is required. Specialized training to care for children ages 0-3 is mandatory. Additional training is provided year round and Resource Families are invited to attend. A minimum of 8 hours of training each year is required to maintain current knowledge and encourage growth as a care provider.

How many children can I have in my home?

You can have a maximum of 6 children, including your own biological children or other minors living in the home. Additional limitations may apply if providing care for children with high medical needs.

How will the RFA process affect me if I am already a Licensed Foster Parent?

If you decide that you want to care for a child who is a relative or a non-related extend family member (NREFM), you will not be required to complete the training portion of the RFA process. You will be required to complete the:

  • Application process/forms
  • Permanency assessment
  • Fingerprint requirements

How will the RFA process affect me if I am already a Relative Care Provider?

If you are currently a Relative or NREFM care provider and the child in your home goes AWOL for more than 14 days and then returns to your home, you will be required to complete the RFA process. The youth could stay with you as an emergency placement pending completion of the RFA. Also, if you choose to accept another placement (foster, relative, or NREFM), you will have to complete the RFA process, if not completed before.

I don't live in Merced County. How do I foster a child in my own county?

If you do not live in Merced County and want to foster a child, please contact the Department of Social Services in your county to learn more.

Ready to get started? Start your online application now.