Rules of the Road

Now that you have gotten started, you need to know the “Rules of the Road.” What are the requirements of RFA? What is discretionary? What policies and procedures will you need to change? How will they change? This toolkit ensures that you can address your operational needs, risk management, continuous improvement, and compliance.

Operational needs — Policies and procedures ensure that fundamental organizational processes are performed in a consistent way that meets the organization's needs.

  • All County Letters (ACL)
    • ACL 19-24: Frequently asked questions regarding Emergency Caregiver (EC) funding for families prior to RFA
    • ACL 18-142: provide guidance as to how an adoption will be completed for Resource Families (RF) and existing foster caregivers.
    • ACL 18-128: Monthly Data reporting template
    • ACL 18-75: Emergency Placement Caregiver funding
    • ACL 18-33: Short Term, Interim Funding
    • ACL 18-02: Conversion of licensed foster family homes (FFH) and certified family homes (CFH) that provided respite services in 2017. 
    • ACL 17-39: The submission, maintenance, access, and review of prior administrative actions that must be considered as part of the RFA applicant process via LAARS.
    • ACL 17-16: RFA Conversion process of all currently licensed foster family homes, approved relatives and Non-Relative Extended Family Members (NREFMs).
    • ACL 16-110: RFA and State Harris Hearings
    • ACL 16-58: Clarifying Instructions for RFA
    • ACL 16-52: Foster Parent Recruitment, Retention, And Support (FPRRS) Funding Opportunity
    • ACL 16-31: Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard (RPPS)
    • ACL 16-10: Resource Family Approval Program
    • ACL 05-38: The Emergency Assistance Program
  • All County Information Notices (ACIN)
    • ACIN I-01_18: Out of County ER placement Assessment Protocol
  • Legislation: AB 340 established a unified resource family approval process to replace the existing multiple processes for licensing foster family homes, approving relatives and nonrelative extended family members as foster care providers, and approving adoptive families. The bill defines a resource family as an individual or couple that a participating county has approved to care for a related or unrelated child who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court or otherwise in the care of a county child welfare agency.
  • Written Directives: The CDSS has issued a Written Directive (version 6.0 effective 4.11.19) and forms (see below) to implement the RFA program. The Written Directives contain the written processes, standards, and requirements for the RFA program. The Written Directives have the same force and effect as regulations and ensure that counties use the same standards. For more information, go to the CDSS website RFA page.

Authority and Code Sections

  • Federal Authority: Title IV-E, Section 471(a)(10) of the Social Security Act requires that the state of California establish a state authority responsible for establishing and maintaining standards for foster family homes and child care institutions which are reasonably in accord with recommended standards of national organizations concerned with standards for such institutions or homes, including standards related to admission policies, safety, sanitation, and protection of civil rights.
  • State Authority. Welfare and Institutions Code section 16519.5 requires the California Department of Social Services, in consultation with county child welfare agencies, foster parent associations, and other interested community parties, to implement a unified, family-friendly, and child-centered resource family approval process to replace the existing multiple processes for licensing foster family homes and approving relatives and nonrelative extended family members as foster care providers, guardians and approving adoptive families. (Added by Stats. 2007, c. 464 (A.B. 340), § 3. Amended by Stats. 2011, c. 32 (A.B. 106), § 69, eff. June 29, 2011; Stats. 2012, c. 35 (S.B. 1013), § 136, eff. June 27, 2012.

RFA Webinars

Forms and Tools from counties