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About Us

Our County. Our Kids. is a program of the County of the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services (SB DSS), Child Welfare Services Division (SB CWS). Our County. Our Kids. is the resource parent and kinship caregiver information, resource and support program at SB CWS.

What is a Resource Family?

Children that cannot live with their biological parents enter foster care and are placed with Resource Families. Resource Family is the term California uses to describe families who provide out-of-home care for children in foster care. Children involved with Child Welfare Services (CWS) or Juvenile Probation may enter a Resource Family due to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, abandonment, neglect and/or because of incapacitated caretaker/parent is unable to provide care and supervision to the child. Other times, a child or youth on Juvenile Probation is not able to return to a parent’s home because his or her parent are not equipped to support the Juvenile Probation treatment plan.

Resource families include individuals, couples and families. They may be related to the child, they may be kinfolk that have a familiar or mentoring relationship with the child, or they may be community members with no previous relationship with the child. Whenever a safe out-of-home placement is needed, Child Welfare Services (CWS) and Juvenile Probation make diligent efforts to identify, evaluate and consider relatives, family friends and kinfolk i.e. those closely tied to the family as the primary placement option.  When this is not an option, the child will be matched with a Resource Family that does not have a previous relationship with the child and is ready to meet the child’s unique needs.

The process to become an approved Resource Family home is the same for community members, relatives, and kin. An important goal in the approval process is to assist families so that they are able to support children to remain connected with their community and culture, and work with the other members of the professional team to support the child in developing to his or her best potential. Resource Families work together with CWS staff and the child’s family to successfully return the child to his or her parents. In the event a child cannot safely return to their biological  parents, a Resource Family is the first choice to adopt the child.

Anyone, be it relatives, kin or community members desiring to provide out-of-home care for a child who is under the supervision of the Child Welfare Services or Juvenile Probation, must complete the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process. In Santa Barbara County, prospective Resource Parents are supported in the RFA process by Specialists whom are part of the SB DSS RFA Unit. Resource Families are members of the Child Welfare and Juvenile Probation Teams, and work collaboratively with the Professional Team to provide a safe and stable family environment for children who cannot live with their birth parents. Resource Families play a critical role in the life of children in out of home care.

Click here to learn more about becoming a Resource Parent.

Our Mission

Our County. Our Kids. (OC.OK.) is a program of the County of Santa Barbara Department of Social Services (SB DSS), Child Welfare Services Division (SB CWS). OC.OK. is the Resource Family (formerly known as foster homes) and kinship caregiver recruitment, support and training program at SB CWS. We strive to create an inclusive environment that encompasses the variety of human experience, and reflects the rich diversity of Santa Barbara County. We endeavor to identify and prepare homes to that will provide our kids with loving and nurturing homes that reflect the diverse and rich social, cultural, ethnic, faith and gender identity experiences that create the rich tapestry of children and youth in foster care, the community of Resource Families and Santa Barbara County as a whole. In order to achieve our goals, Our County. Our Kids. is committed to working inclusively with the community at large, enlisting the support of the diverse range of residents and community groups in Santa Barbara County, to identify and recruit quality Resource Families, and provide care and support to our Resource Families and Our Kids in foster care, so that they may thrive and achieve their best potential.

Our Vision

OC.OK.’s vision is to continuously provide safe and stable Resource Families that will love and support children and youth in foster care. We believe that children and youth can overcome adversity and reach their best potential.  We envision children and youth who are emotionally, physically and mentally healthy, as well as socially integrated, safe and financially self-sufficient individuals who contribute to a thriving community.

This vision requires that OC.OK. strive to remain solution focused and maintain partnerships and collaborative relationships with Foster Care Stakeholders in the community that support the commitment of Juvenile Probation and Child Welfare Services to help children and families achieve self-sufficiency.

Our County. Our Kids. supports SB CWS and Juvenile Probation’s commitment to children, youth, young adults and families achieving self-sufficiency, by:

  • Focusing our efforts to build support networks and lifelong relationships around our children and youth in the Resource Family system.
  • Working with families and prospective mentors by helping them determine if they are ready to provide a lifelong connection.
  • Support long-term, caring relationships that lead to stable team of adults invested in improving the outcomes for children, youth, and young adults.
  • Working to prepare Resource Families so that they can meet the needs of children under the supervision of Child Welfare Services and Juvenile Probation

Our Objective

The objective of Our County. Our Kids is to recruit and support homes that will provide quality Resource Family care to children and youth in foster care. Quality Resource Family care is about promoting a network of support and sharing around Resource Families, and begins with the recognition that Resource Parents and other supportive adults in a child or youth’s life knows:

  • Who to contact when they need information and resources
  • That they have the opportunity to share ideas or concerns with both service providers and fellow Resource Families
  • That they are a respected member of the child or youth’s Professional Team at Juvenile Probation and Child Welfare Services.

Other Helpful Contact Information

Resource Family Development and Support Team

Development and support of our Resource Families is provided by the Resource Family Approval Unit (RFA) and Our County. Our Kids. Both Our County. Our Kids. and the DSS RFA unit are led by a dedicated team of Child Welfare professionals committed to helping families access supportive services and programming for their households – that is the children in their care and for the families themselves. The RFA unit guides and supports relatives and non-relatives through the different steps of the RFA process. These steps include a background check, assessment of your home, a preservice training series that addresses topics related to working with the Juvenile Court and CWS as well as working with emotionally distressed children and youth, and a permanency assessment that will help you determine your best role in the Santa Barbara County Resource Family Program. Click here for information on the Resource Family Approval Program. Our County. Our Kids. and CWS and Juvenile Probation provide information on ongoing training on topics that are pertinent to your role as a Resource Family.

The ability to deploy quality Resource Families is a primary concern for SB DSS and Juvenile Probation. We are committed to ensuring that Resource Families are able to access the necessary support and information that will allow them to provide our children and youth with a safe and stable home environment. We are also committed to supporting Resource Families’ capacity to obtain answers to questions and concerns, and navigate the Child Welfare or Juvenile Probation systems.

Therefore the leadership at Our County. Our Kids. and the RFA Team is ready to answer your questions and receive your concerns:
Program Manager at Child Welfare Services: Marianne Reagan
Program Manager at Juvenile Probation: Brian Swanson
Resource Family Approval/Licensing Unit Supervisor: Leticia Alvarez
Adoptions Supervisor: Premi Singh
Resource Family Recruitment, Training and Support Coordinator: Gustavo Prado

Other Useful Telephone Numbers

Our County. Our Kids.: (866) 899-2649

Main numbers to the CWS Regional Offices:
• Santa Barbara: (805) 681-4551
• Lompoc: (805) 737-6065
• Santa Maria: (805) 346-7127

Becoming a Resource Family: (866) 899-2649

Adoptions: (866) 899-2649
Financial eligibility for Family Members (foster child funding and heath care)
• Santa Barbara: (866) 404-4007
• Lompoc: (866) 404-4007
• Santa Maria: (866) 404-4007

To Report Suspected Abuse:
• Santa Barbara: (800) 367-0166
• Lompoc: (800) 367-0166
• Santa Maria: (800) 367-0166

Independent Living Program:
Shannon Bell
FCNI ILP & THP-Plus Supervisor
805.602.8747 • sbell@fcni.org

Lisette Navarro
FCNI ILP Coordinator
805.602.1565 • lnavarro@fcni.org

Heidi Thompson, MSW
Santa Barbara County DSS ILP Coordinator & TAYS Unit Supervisor
805.346.7127 • h.thompson@sbcsocialserv.org

www.TAYconnected.com: ILP information for Youth in Foster Care and Transition Age Youth.

Medical Needs

CenCal Health (Medi-Cal questions and providers): (800) 421-2560

Women, Infants and Children (WIC):
Santa Barbara: (805) 681-5275
Lompoc: (805) 737-6400
Santa Maria: (805) 346-8450

Medi-Cal providers
• Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics: (844) 594-0343
• Santa Maria Community Health Centers: (866) 614-4636
• Lompoc Community Health Center: (866) 614-4636
• Santa Ynez Tribal Health: (805) 688-7070
• Children’s Health & Disability Prevention (CHDP): (805) 681-5130
• Cencal Health: (800) 421-2560

Quality Parenting Initiative

The Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) is one of Our County. Our Kids. approaches to strengthening the quality of care provided to children and youth living in Resource Family. The goal of QPI is to develop a systematic approach to recruiting and supporting high-quality caregivers in our community and improving the quality of care for children in Resource Family by redefining the expectations of and support for fostering parents.

When QPI is successfully implemented:
• Families have a voice and are capacitated to meet the complex needs of children or youth in their care. In this manner families have a voice in issues that affect the children they are caring for and the way the system treats children and families, and are able to effectively work with the system to meet the needs of the children in their care.
• Resource families, agency staff and birth parents work as a team to support children and youth.
• Resource families receive the support and training they need to work with children and families and know what is expected as well as what to expect.
With your help, and working in partnership with community programs, as well as the RFA Unit and Our County Our SB Kids, we can develop a Quality Parenting Initiative that will meet the needs of children in our community and improve information sharing and partnership between agency staff and Resource Families.

Our Partners

Living in partnership is central to raising healthy children and families. It takes a village and an entire county to provide the resources and support children in Resource Family need to thrive. Santa Barbara County is blessed to share a strong and engaged partnership of providers and communities.

Our County. Our Kids.is guided by a partnership team comprised of leaders from the following organizations. We meet quarterly to develop strategies and address concerns in order to recruit new fostering families and improve the quality of care and support children and caregivers receive. If you would like to join our partnership team, please contact us.

Our County. Our Kids. Partnerships:
Allan Hancock College Lompoc
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria
Angels Foster Care
Arrow Child & Family Ministries
California Youth Connection
Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA)
Casa Pacifica
Changing Faces Residential Programs
Family Care Network, Inc.
Gateway Four Square Community Church, Solvang
Guardian Scholar
Koinonia Family Services
Lompoc Unified School District
Santa Maria Bonita School District
Santa Barbara City College

Visit Us

Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services, Child Welfare Division
• Santa Barbara:
234 Camino del Remedio
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
(805) 681-4551

• Lompoc:
1100 West Laurel Ave
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 737-6065

• Santa Maria:
2125 South Centerpointe Parkway
Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 346-7127

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