Welcome to Our County. Our Kids.
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 in foster care, and after they leave the foster care and return to their parents, are adopted or emancipated. SB DSS invites you, to consider providing a home or becoming a supportive adult for one of our children or youth in foster care.
You can become part of the community that will provide children and youth in foster care 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, such as Community homes that are ready to care for a child in foster care, Kinship homes such as relative and nonrelative extended family, and Adoptive 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 or her parent, or to be adopted by a loving Resource Family. 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.
Why do children enter Foster Care?
Children enter Foster Care for a number of reasons. In Santa Barbara County, the majority of children removed from their homes are due to general neglect. General neglect is when a parent or caregiver fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision.
The Need For Resource Families
Santa Barbara County has over 380 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.
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 nurturing 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.