County of Marin Health and Human Services

Foster Care

Children who need foster (temporary) homes are of all races and from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Most of the children are school age. Some are sisters and brothers who do not want to live apart. They have experienced separation from family and the effects of abuse or neglect, but they are still growing and learning and can blossom in a family able to offer them safety.


The child welfare staff members protect children from abuse and neglect, and work with birth families to help them keep their children safe. When children must be removed from their birth families, they are placed in temporary foster homes. In most cases, birth parents are provided with services for six to eighteen months to help them reunify (reunite) with their children.

Foster Care Opportunities

Become a Foster Parent: As a foster parent, you open your home to a child(ren) needing temporary care. On average, children usually live with their foster families from three to twelve months. Children enter foster care because their biological families are presently unable to take care of them. Foster families provide loving and stable homes until the children can be reunited with their own parents or move on to an alternative permanent home. Adults of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and families of all compositions are needed. You may be single, part of a couple (married or not), male or female, and of any sexual orientation. You may rent or own your home. A small monthly stipend is provided to help offset the cost of meeting the children's basic needs.

Getting Started

Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent is invited to an orientation. Co-facilitated by a social worker and a foster parent, information regarding the children and their needs as well as an account of what it is really like to be a foster parent will be presented.

Schedule of Orientations on Foster Care

Month Date Year Day Time Location
(all locations are on the Marin Health and Wellness Campus)
January 19 2017 Thursday 7:00-8:30pm 3250 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 107, San Rafael
February 15 2017 Wednesday 7:00-8:30pm 3250 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 107, San Rafael
March 14 2017 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3250 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 107, San Rafael
April 20 2017 Thursday 7:00-8:30pm 3250 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 107, San Rafael
May 17 2017 Wednesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
June 13 2017 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
July  20 2017 Thursday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
August 22 2017 Wednesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
September 13 2017 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
October 19 2017 Thursday 7:00-8:30pm 3240 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 110, San Rafael
November 15 2017 Wednesday 7:00-8:30pm 3250 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 107, San Rafael
December 5 2017 Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm 3250 Kerner Blvd., Rm. 107, San Rafael

Requirements for Foster Parents

It all starts with the willingness to open your heart and home to a child who needs you.

There are, however, some very basic requirements that need to be met by all families interested in foster care, or in fost-adopt parenting. This list is brief and encompasses the most common conditions that must be met in order for a license to be issued.

  • Your residence must be located in Marin County and must meet basic health and safety standards established by the State of California.
  • The home must have sufficient bedrooms so that adults and children have separate bedrooms. Children may share a bedroom. Adults may share a bedroom with one to two children under age two.
  • Rooms commonly used for other purposes (e.g., dining room, hallway or garage) cannot be used as a bedroom by any member of the household.
  • Each applicant must have sufficient income to meet his or her own family's financial needs.
  • A criminal record check will be conducted on each applicant and adult in the foster or fost-adopt home.
  • Adult caretakers must be in reasonably good health and free of communicable diseases, especially TB. TB tests are required.
  • Each licensed home must have a working (land line) telephone; alternatively a cell phone must be available to children for emergency purposes.
  • The main caretakers of the children and any other member of the household over the age of 18 who might provide care for the child must be certified in CPR and First Aid. We can assist you in locating an appropriate class.

Who can become a Foster Parent

  • Be over 21, in good physical and emotional health.
  • You may be married or single.
  • Have the necessary skills, stamina and patience to deal effectively with children who may have emotional or physical problems.
  • Have sufficient income to support your own family without relying on foster care payments.
  • Obtain a state foster care license. That process includes providing references, health clearances, and fingerprints, plus in-home visits from an agency worker.
  • Work as a cooperative team member with other children's service specialists including agency workers, court representatives, and health care professionals.
  • Be accepting of the temporary nature of foster care. This means supporting efforts to reunite foster children with their families, or when that is not possible, preparing them to move on to a permanent home.

Training and Application Process

Caring for children as a foster care parent is a rewarding and challenging experience. We therefore provide families with emotional and financial support as well as professional training. When someone chooses to be a foster care parent they become a very important member of a team of professionals who are dedicated to the welfare of the children.

Before a child can be placed in a home, potential foster care parents must obtain a license to provide care to foster children. The first step in obtaining a license is to attend an orientation held by Marin County (see above).

Then, all foster and fost-adopt parents are required to complete an introductory training.  The weekend training will be offered by College of Marin’s Foster and Kinship Care Education Program at no cost to participants.  It will be held in the Miwok Cluster, building 16, upstairs in room 212, on the Indian Valley campus of the College of Marin, located at 1800 Ignacio Blvd, in Novato. Weekday trainings will be held at Huckleberry Youth Programs, 361 3rd St G, San Rafael, CA 94901.


  • Friday 6:30-9, Saturday and Sunday 9-3:30
  • January 20, 21, 22 AND February 4, 2017 
  • April 28, 29, 30, AND May 13, 2017
  • August 11, 12, 13 AND August 26, 2017
  • November 3, 4, 5 AND November 18, 2017
  • February 16, 17, 18 AND March 3, 2018
  • May 4, 5, 6 AND 19, 2018

Weekday *Note different location from weekend.

  • Mondays & Wednesdays 6-9:30 pm
  • 2017
  • March 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 23, 27
  • June 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26
  • September 25, 27 October 2, 4, 9, 11, 16
  • 2018
  • January 8, 10, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31
  • March 19, 21, 26, 28, April 2, 4, 9

Next Steps

  • Complete an application
  • Participate in an 21 hour introductory training program
  • Become certified in infant and child CPR
  • Pass criminal record and child abuse index clearances (fingerprinting)

In addition, we provide ongoing training and support, designed to enhance the ability of the foster care family to meet the complex needs of our children.

Financial Support

Financial assistance is also available for individuals who become foster parents.  Every child receives Medi-Cal to meet medical and mental health needs.

Basic Foster Care Rates

The basic monthly amount paid for eligible children in foster family homes is based on the child's age. The rates effective July 1, 2013, are:

Age Basic Monthly Rate
0-4 $688
5-8 $744
9-11 $783
12-14 $820
15-19 $859

*Additional financial support may be available depending upon the needs of the child.