Resource Family Approval

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The Resource Family Approval (RFA) Program is a family-friendly and child-centered caregiver approval process that combines and replaces elements of the old foster parent licensing, relative approval, and approvals for adoption and guardianship processes. Resource Families provide placement for children, youth, and young adults (non-minor dependents from 18-21 years old) who are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, or otherwise in the care of a county child welfare agency or probation department.

The mission of Tuolumne County Foster Care is simple: “Our Kids, Our Community, Our Team.” Tuolumne County Resource Families are given the unique opportunity to support the children and families in our community. By allowing our children to stay locally, each child is given the opportunity to continue attending his or her school, maintain social and familial relationships, and thrive in familiar surroundings at a time when his or her life is uncertain. As a full partner in the Foster Care Team, the Resource Family plays a vital role in the success of a child.

Our kids need you. Will you join our team?

Resource Family Role
The role of a Resource Family is to demonstrate excellence in parenting in a nurturing, supportive environment while preparing the foster child for reunification with his or her birth family. Resource Families are part of a team who supports the child by embracing all members of the child’s life, often providing support to the child’s biological family, and acting as a lifelong connection to promote a healthy and positive change. This allows the Resource Family to promote stability and permanence for the child throughout his or her life. When reunification with the birth family is not possible, the resource family prepares the child for the next steps of permanency, which may include adoption.

Resource Family Requirements
To become an approved Resource Family with the Tuolumne County Department of Social Services, applicants must:
  • Be a resident of Tuolumne County
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Attend an RFA Orientation
  • Complete 12 hours of Pre-Approval Training
  • Submit an RFA Application
  • Submit fingerprints to Live Scan and consent to additional criminal background checks, including DMV. (Live Scan Fingerprinting is required for all adults living in the home and minors 14 or older with a criminal history.)
  • Cooperate with any necessary criminal background exemption requirements
  • Participate in a home health and safety assessment to ensure the home and outdoor space meet required safety standards and make any required corrections
  • Participate in at least two face-to-face interviews (interviews are required for ALL persons living in the home) in order to complete a comprehensive family evaluation, which assesses your readiness to be a Resource Family
  • Be CPR and First Aid certified (preferably for adults, infants, and children)
  • Complete and submit all other required paperwork/documents
  • Meet all other RFA requirements
Once approved, Resource Families may be considered for Foster Care, Guardianship, and Adoption placements and are also able to provide certified respite care for other Resource Families.

RFA Orientation 
Orientations are an informal meeting for you to learn about what is expected of becoming a quality caregiver for children in our community and how to apply. Please come prepared to ask as many questions as needed to feel comfortable with the process. There is no commitment required by attending an orientation.

Orientations are held via Zoom on the second Tuesday of each month. Please click this flyer link for more information and how to RSVP.

Contact us by email at or by phone at (209) 533-7351 if you have any questions. 

RFA Application
Start your RFA journey online by clicking on the Binti link below.

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Hard copy applications available upon request.

RFA Pre-Approval Training
RFA Pre-Approval training is offered monthly through the Columbia College Foster and Kinship Care Education (FKCE) Program. Relevant topics are explored throughout 12 hours of training, divided into six modules, now held via Zoom. Each module is two hours. Participants must complete all six modules in order to satisfy the pre-approval training requirements of becoming a Resource Family caregiver.  

If you have already completed an RFA Orientation and are ready to begin RFA Pre-Approval Training, please contact RFA Social Worker, Erika Imbesi Burton at or FKCE Program Specialist, Danielle Brouillette at or (209) 588-5169 for more information and to sign up.

RFA Annual Post-Approval Training
Free Online Opportunities:

Foster Parent College **We must create your account in order for the classes to be free. We then also have access to your certificate(s) of completion.

QPI California "Just in Time" Video Library **Unlike Foster Parent College, we do not have access to your progress on these courses. You must download any completed certificates and provide them to your RFA Social Worker in order to receive post-approval training credit.

Training Opportunities for Transitional Aged Youth   
Independent Living Program
ILP Interest and Contact Information Form--Submit to the Department of Social Services office, located at 20075 Cedar Rd. N. Sonora

Additional Columbia College Resources

GED Classes
Life Strategies Class Schedule

Emergency Medical Responder Flyer

Exploring Technical Trades

Hospitality Program

Medical Terminology Flyer

RFA Written Directives

CA Partnership Plan

Helpful Links
California Department of Social Services RFA internet page

Resource Family Approval Guide

Columbia College FKCE Webpage

CDSS Foster Youth Wellness Website

Contact Us
Social Services Supervisor, Rachel Sargent:
RFA Social Worker, Erika Imbesi Burton:
RFA Social Worker, Aubrey Walker-Love:
RFA Social Worker, Kyle Medeiros:
Contact the entire RFA Team at