How does Resource Family Approval compare to the approval system it replaced?
Prior to Resource Family Approval (RFA), approval standards varied depending on the applicant. For relatives/non-related extended family members (NREFMs) (e.g. a close family friend), a criminal records/child abuse review was required in addition to a home and ground safety check and an annual review. Nonrelative applicants had to undergo extensive training in addition to the criminal records/child abuse review and home and ground safety check. If an applicant wanted to adopt, a criminal records/child abuse review, home and ground safety check, adoption home study, and submission of applicant references were required. And, if the applicant was applying to be a foster parent through a Foster Family Agency, the FFA had their own set of standards that often differed from the process a family going through the approval process with the county child welfare agency.
Resource Family Approval (RFA), which took effect statewide January 1, 2017, streamlined the approval process. Now, all caregivers, including relatives, NREFMs, foster parents (whether approved by a county or an FFA), and adoptive parents, must meet the same requirements and undergo the same process to be approved as Resource Families. The intent of RFA is to be a unified, family friendly and child-centered approval process for all potential caregivers.
In addition to subjecting all applicants to the same requirements, the psychosocial assessment requirement replaced the adoption home study. Now, if a caregiver wants to adopt, there is no additional home study required at the time of adoption. Resource Family Approval was authorized under AB 340 (2007), reauthorized under SB 1013 (2013) and modified under AB 403 (2015) & AB 1997 (2016).