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Welcome to Our County. Our Kids.
Our County. Our Kids. is the resource parent and kinship caregiver information, resource and support program at Santa Barbara Department of Social Services (SB DSS).

Whether it’s due to reunifying with parents, adoption, or stepping into self sufficiency, children and youth need a family or a caring individual, that will guide and support them as they prepare for, and encounter life, both while they are part of the system, and after they leave the system through adoption of by emancipating. SB DSS invites you, to consider providing a home or becoming a supportive adult for one of our Our County. Our Kids. children or youth. You can become part of the community that will provide the many children and youth in Santa Barbara County, connections with a kinship network, the person or persons that can give our children, youth and young adults the best opportunity possible to achieve their goals.

What is a Resource Family?

Resource Family is the term California applies to families who provide out-of-home care for children in foster care. Resource families include individuals, couples and families. They may be related to the child, have a familiar or mentoring relationship with the child, or no previous relationship with the child. The term Resource Family describes all types of caregivers, rather than the various terms; Foster Parent, Adoptive Parent, Relative, or Non-Related Extended Family Member.

The purpose of a Resource Family is to provide a child with a feeling of safety, permanence, and well-being. When out-of-home placement is needed to keep the child safe, Our County. Our Kids. makes diligent efforts to identify, evaluate and consider relatives, family friends and those closely tied to the family as the primary placement option. When relatives cannot be a placement option for the child, Our County. Our Kids. makes efforts to actively recruit and support Resource Families that are able to keep them connected with their community and culture. Resource Families work together with Our County. Our Kids. staff and the child’s family to successfully return the child to their parents. The purpose of a Resource Family is to provide a child with a feeling of safety, permanence, and well-being while parents address the issues which first led to the child being placed in foster care. By providing the child a safe and permanent home setting, a Resource Family helps a child prepare to return to his her parent, or to be adopted by a loving Resource Family.

The Need For Resource Families

Santa Barbara County has over 450 children in need of out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect.  There is an on-going need for finding and maintaining resource families who can support children and their families in their own communities. It is the goal of Child Welfare Services (CWS) to place a child in a home as quickly as possible. CWS believes that the best environment for a child is a family home environment, rather than emergency shelter or a group home. Our greatest challenge is to find resource families who will share their home with sibling groups, pre-teens and teenagers, and children with special medical, emotional, developmental and educational needs.

Deciding to become a Resource Family is an important decision and should be carefully considered. Resource Families are an extremely important part of the Child Welfare Services team in meeting the needs of youth in out-of-home care. In many cases the attachment formed with these children will be long-lasting and your impact on them during this time is crucial to their development.

Click here to learn more about becoming a resource family.

Why do children enter Resource Family?

Children enter Resource Family for a number of reasons.  In Santa Barbara County, the majority of children removed from their homes is due to general neglect. General neglect is when a parent or caregiver fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision.

Child Welfare Services is available to children and their families when children are victims of, or at risk of, neglect, abuse (emotional or physical), illegal drug exposure, sexual exploitation, or parental absence.


Responsibilities of Resource Families

Resource Families will:

  • Make efforts, as team members with the children’s caseworkers, toward reunifying the children with their birth families. Resource Families make a lifelong commitment to be a part of these children’s lives, regardless of where they are.
  • Provide daily care and nurture of children in Resource Family
  • Advocate for children in their schools and communities
  • Keep children in their school of origin whenever possible
  • Inform the children’s caseworkers about adjustments to the home, school and community, as well as any problems that may arise, including any serious illness, accidents or serious occurrences involving the children
  • Provide a positive role model to birth families.
  • Help children learn life skills.

Does this sound like a mission you could undertake? Find out more about becoming a Resource Family.

Review the list of responsibilities, steps and requirements for fostering and adoption to see if you are eligible.

Look through Children and Family Service’s support services as well as those of our local Foster Family Agencies (FFAs).

Decide on the level of care you could provide. If you are unable to commit to Resource Family or adoption, check out other ways to help here.

Contact Our County. Our Kids. or one of our FFA partners with questions and to help you take the next step – Resource Families training!
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