Frequently Asked Questions About Our Program

Here are the most common questions we receive from our prospective parents:

What is a Resource Family?

“Resource family” is the new term for “foster family”. This change is part of the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) launched in early 2017 by the State of California. The goal of CCR is to create better outcomes for children in foster care. CCR includes:

  • A trauma-informed model of care to better prepare families and caregivers
  • Uniform assessments, checks, and training for all resource families
  • A seamless transition to permanency for each child

The approval process for families who foster has also changed. The new Resource Family Approval (RFA) does a better job of meeting the needs of vulnerable children in home-based family care. It includes the following:

  • Unified approval standards for all families and caregivers
  • Streamlined transfers for resource families moving between California counties or changing Foster Family Agencies

Is Angels a County-run foster care agency?

No. Angels is a licensed, private Foster Family Agency (FFA), operating independently, but in cooperation with County of Santa Barbara, Department of Social Services. Angels is licensed by Community Care Licensing (CCL) with the State of California, Department of Social Services.

How is Angels different from other foster care arrangements?

Angels parents:

  • Are permitted to foster only one child (or sibling group) at a time. Other foster parents are allowed to foster up to 6 children at one time (including their own children).
  • Must provide a full-time parent (or similar child care arrangement) in the home. Other agencies permit both foster parents to work outside the home and the children are cared for in daycare or preschools.
  • Are thoroughly screened and trained before receiving their foster child. Other foster programs do not offer in-depth training specifically focusing on the needs of infants and toddlers.
  • Agree to care for one child until a permanent placement can be made and are carefully matched to the child to ensure that the first foster placement is the best and only placement. Other foster care programs allow for 30-day placements and most children experience a minimum of two placements before their first birthday.
  • Receive regular visits and support from their assigned Angels social workers, who also attend all court dates and assist with parent visits. In addition, Angels provides support to Angels families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any urgent situations that may arise.

Where do Angels babies come from?

Angels receives child referrals from County of Santa Barbara, Child Welfare Services. All Angels children are residents of Santa Barbara County.

What makes Angels parents so special?

Angels parents are compassionate and conscientious individuals with a deep love of children, a track record of positive parenting, and the financial ability to provide for an additional child. In addition, Angels parents view fostering as an opportunity to contribute to society by making a difference in the life of one child.

How is Angels funded?

Angels is 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization funded through private donations from individuals, philanthropic foundations, and government funding. All funding received is used to recruit, train, and support Angels families and their foster children. The Angels Board of Directors are volunteers and receive no monetary compensation. Learn how you can help by donating.

What are the requirements for becoming an Angels parent?

Please visit our page on Angels Fostering Requirements.

I thought only older children needed foster homes. Is this true?

One in four foster children enters the system before his or her first birthday. Newborns make up the largest percentage of this group.

I have heard that court-dependent babies have medical issues. How often is this true?

Typically, the medical issues Angels babies face are related to neglect, abandonment, malnutrition, physical abuse, or in-utero drug exposure they may have experienced. Responsive and nurturing families are the one very important remedy for these maladies.

Does the Child Welfare Services provide medical coverage?

In addition to the monthly stipend you will receive, every child receives Medi-Cal coverage.

Will I receive any compensation for taking in an Angels' child?

Angels does not pay its parents to care for children and prospective parents should view their involvement as a philanthropic contribution to a healthier generation. However, Angels families do receive the standard reimbursement of approximately $923/month from Child Welfare Services to cover expenses such as diapers, clothing, and other necessities. Families may also receive assistance for additional food costs through the Women Infants Children (WIC) program. All medical and legal expenses are covered directly by the State of California.

Do Angels’ infants and toddlers visit with their birth parents? Where are the visits held?

All children placed in foster care have court-ordered reunification plans, which includes visitation. Typically, visits are initially two hours each, twice per week. The visits are supervised by Child Welfare or Angels staff and are usually held at the Child Welfare Services offices. Visits never happen at the home of the foster parents. Foster parents’ names and addresses are confidential and never provided to biological family members.

What is involved in your training program?

Angels Foster Parent classes are conducted by Angels social workers and expert speakers on medical, developmental, and psychological issues, including caring for drug-exposed babies, understanding the signs of appropriate and inappropriate attachment, and intervention strategies. Additionally, trainees participate in on-line training sessions and complete independent study work, focused on self-reflection and application of training class materials. Training is typically offered every other month for prospective Angels foster parents who have approved applications. Training is held in the evenings and specific locations and times will be announced to approved attendees.

How long might we expect to parent an Angels child?

Each child’s situation is different. The Juvenile Court offers reunification services to all biological parents. However, parents must comply with the court's orders to regain custody so the length of placement varies. At Angels, we ask that our foster families commit to keeping the child until a decision is made about the child's final placement. At that time, the child will either be reunited with his/her biological family or available for adoption. If the option to adopt arises, and your family is interested, Angels will support you through the process. The infants and toddlers placed with Angels families typically remain a dependent of the court for 12-18 months.

Can Angels families ever adopt their Angels baby?

Yes. When reunification efforts with biological families are unsuccessful, Angels children become eligible for adoption and many Angels families choose to adopt. Learn more about adoption.

How much help will our family get after a child is placed in our home?

Angels is here to support you every step of the way, by answering your questions or guiding you to the proper resources for help. Our social workers are always available to offer support on a daily or emergency basis and "seasoned Angels parents" often mentor new families. Friends of the agency make generous donations of many baby products for our families to utilize.

May I read comments from other Angels parents about their fostering experience?

Yes, please see our Angels Voices page.

Can I help, even if I don't have the time or resources to be a foster parent?

Yes. Your tax-deductible contribution to Angels will help us continue to place young children in crisis into loving homes. Learn more about donating. Or you can donate your time and talents as a volunteer. We have a number of events and fundraisers throughout the year where you can serve on a committee, help with spreading the word, or be an event host. Learn more about volunteering. If you would like to use your leadership skills and community connections to help shape policy and build capacity for Angels Foster Care, you might also consider serving on our Board of Directors. Please contact Holly Carmody, our Executive Director, to discuss board leadership positions.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information about foster care, community services for children, and child development in general on our Resources page.