Open your heart to a child in foster care

Ready to get started? Start your online registration now.

Why you should become a resource family

San Mateo County Kids need you

 There are San Mateo County Children currently placed outside of the County due to a lack of local families available to foster.  Help us to bring these kids back to our community!

You’ll be supported

San Mateo County 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 child in foster care can be an amazingly rewarding experience. You can make a difference in a child’s life.

Resource families are people from every walk of life who are committed to providing stable, supportive homes for children who have been removed from their parents because of neglect or abuse. Because the Human Services Agency is a Concurrent planning agency we focus on Family Reunification (returning children to their families once their safety has been re-established) and adoption. Concurrently, our social workers prepare appropriate foster placements to become permanent homes, in case it is determined that reunification is not possible.

Resource Families can be married or single, gay or lesbian, with or without children, and from any ethnic or cultural background.

Age requirements are flexible, as long as you are a healthy adult with the energy and desire to care for a child. You do not have to own your home, as long as your rental home is safe and large enough to accommodate your family. You do not have to be wealthy to be a resource family, but your income must be adequate to provide for the basic needs of your family.

How to become a resource family if you live in San Mateo

  1. You’ll work directly with our team in San Mateo County
  2. Fill out the application and collect supporting documents
  3. Complete trainings
  4. Provide references
  5. Pass background checks
  6. Complete home and family assessments with a social worker (3-4 home visits)
  7. Get approved

Foster a child in San Mateo & help your community


After raising three children, we were finally empty nesters. Unlike a lot of folks, the desire to foster far outweighed any thoughts of relaxing together on a beach somewhere. We’ve met many new friends that foster because they want to change someone’s life. Knowing that we are also changing how our story ends is pretty exciting too.

The Brian Family


We have been fostering with the County for a year and a half now, and we absolutely love it! We have had 4 kids come through our home, and each child has been special and wonderful in their own way. It is truly a special experience to be able to care for a child that needs you and to be able to give them love and a safe space. The hardest part of Fostering is not letting your kiddos go, but it’s having faith. We have to have faith that our little ones will be safe and loved when they leave our care. It’s our job to love them, treat them with respect and kindness, and keep them safe while they are with us. We must also support them going forward in all ways possible, whether that means reunification or adoption.

The San Mateo County community of Foster parents is so kind and welcoming and is always there to help you out whether you need advice or a shoulder to cry on. Not only have we been able to parent such wonderful children, but we have also met some of our best friends through Fostering in this county. Fostering is one of the most amazing things we have ever been a part of, and we are looking forward to more kiddos and more love!

The Woerz Family


Currently interning at Stanford University as a Medical Assistant, this remarkable young man has experienced the challenges of foster care… and emerged as an example of resilience.

Jonathan’s Success


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 18-hour Pre-Service Training is provided to all potential Resource Families. Your spouse or domestic partner are strongly encouraged to attend. Classes are held on Saturdays. CPR and First Aid is required. 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.

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

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

Is there a checklist of safety requirements for my home if I want to apply to foster a child?

Yes! You can see the checklist here.

What is the cost of getting approved as a resource family to foster a child?

There is no cost. The process should be free. The only potential expense is getting a finger print clearance, if you are unable to schedule the appointment at our office.  However, we will reimburse you when the approval process is completed.

Ready to get started? Start your online registration now.