Foster Parent Self-Assessment Quiz

Whether you are an older adult or a younger adult, single, or married, a working or a stay-at-home-parent, a home owner or renter, adoption or foster care may be a good option for you. The questionnaire below will help you determine if foster or adopting is the best choice for you now. If you answer Yes to the statements below, you are ready to begin the process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent.

I am 21 years old or older
Foster/adoptive parents must be 21 years old or older; single or legally married and must have a valid driver’s license (you may be divorced or widowed).

Am I in good health?
Being a parent can be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for foster/adoptive children. All those living in your home must have a health statement completed by a physician showing that you are free of communicable diseases.

My home is safe
During the home study, a safety inspection of your home will be conducted. You must have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.

I am open to working with children who have moderate behaviors
Many children have experienced trauma and loss and can react by running away, stealing, lying, or with physical and verbal aggression.

I am open to working with biological families
Typically, foster-to-adopt children have visits with their biological siblings, biological parents, and relatives. Sometimes foster parents may need to supervise visits.

I have not had a case of child abuse or neglect
All potential foster/adoptive parents are required to submit to background checks prior to certification including other states where an applicant has resided.

I have adequate income
You do not have to be wealthy to become a foster/adoptive parent. However, you must have enough income to meet your own family’s needs and be able to demonstrate that you can financially support an additional child for up to 6 weeks without financial reimbursement. During the certification process you will be asked to provide proof of income and to review family expenses.

I am able to attend training
Foster/adoptive parents must complete training and all required paper work. Parents must commit to continuing training and workshops. Additional training is important to making the relationship a success.

No adult in my home has been convicted of a crime
If you or any adult living in your home has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, you cannot become a foster/adoptive parent. Each adult member in your household over age 18 will be fingerprinted.

I am ready to begin a home study now
You are ready to begin the home study if your life and home are stable. “Stable” means that you are not about to move and are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties or making any major life changes in the near future.

Who can I talk to about the next steps?
You can contact us at 323-417-1440 or email us to find out about becoming a foster parent.

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Photo by Marjorie Salvaterra

Meet Crystal a sweet, kind-hearted, intelligent girl who knows what she wants in life and a top priority for her is to have a forever family! Crystal is a well grounded young lady who can engage in a deep conversation, but is also light spirited and playful.

She likes to be active and is a sports lover by nature, she enjoys playing and watching any sport. Crystal’s favorite subjects in school are math and science and her dream is to one day become a veterinarian so that she could be surrounded by animals all day long! Her love for animals is obvious as her eyes lit up when she saw dogs at the photo shoot.

Although Crystal has been through a lot of grief and loss, her resiliency shines through and the hopes of having a forever family that can help her achieve her full potential!

Special thanks to the Children’s Action Network and the Heart Gallery LA for use of their photos. CAN uses the power of the entertainment community to increase awareness about children’s issues and to make them a top priority in everyday life.

If you’re interested in fostering Helen or other kids like her, please Contact Us.

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Jasmin, Josie, Jennifer and Emmanuel are very attached to one another and share an undeniable sibling bond.

Jasmin (2005) is very outgoing, has strong communication skills and can easily express herself. She is extremely personable and makes friends easily. In school, Jasmin performs well and has made average academic progress. She is strong-willed and is learning to follow instructions and with supportive services she is learning to manage her behaviors appropriately. Jasmin likes to play handball, hula hoop and jump rope. She also likes a competitive game of soccer. Jasmine’s love for nature is exhibited in the delight she receives from a nice walk or hike.

Josie (2007) is a very friendly, pleasant and kind kid. She plays nicely with her friends and gets along with others well. She is very talkative and will wow you with her broad vocabulary. Josie is quite artistic and loves to paint and color. She takes pride in her artwork and loves to have it on display. She also likes to read, tell jokes, dance and sing.

Jennifer (2010) is active, full of energy and can be very affectionate. She is very inquisitive and eager to learn new things. Jennifer is learning to trust others with information and at times can be quiet and reserved. However once she feels comfortable, she will easily engage. Jennifer loves to play with all kinds of toys and seems particularly attached to her stuffed animals.

Emmanuel (2012) is an active, happy and energetic little boy. Emmanuel is learning self-help skills and loves to do things independently. He is also learning to be a better listener and manage his feelings and emotions when things do not go his way. Although he has some delays in speech, he is eager to talk and is able to say three to four word sentences. Emmanuel loves to play with his toy cars, trucks, and balls and enjoys being outdoors! He also likes Sponge Bob and Thomas the Train.

If you’re interested in fostering Jasmin, Josie, Jennifer, and Emmanuel or other kids like them, please Contact Us.

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Photo by Anne Richardson-Daniel

Helen (2003) is a very sweet and loving little girl. Despite the losses she has experienced, she is determined and resilient. Helen is well behaved, outgoing and likes having fun with her friends. She also enjoys playing her violin and listening to music. Helen’s favorite singer is Ariana Grande and her favorite sport is basketball. She enjoys playing and watching a good game.

Helen attends middle school and recently completed 6th grade. Despite the new challenges that middle school has to offer, she enjoyed it and did well academically. Helen is benefiting from therapeutic services and has a very clear understanding of why she is in foster care. Helen wants a loving family that will nurture and provide her a safe and stable environment.

Special thanks to the Children’s Action Network and the Heart Gallery LA for use of their photos. CAN uses the power of the entertainment community to increase awareness about children’s issues and to make them a top priority in everyday life.

If you’re interested in fostering Helen or other kids like her, please Contact Us.

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In the backyard, Jackson is putting the finishing touches on his army fort made of sticks and leaves while his brother, Peyton, sits nearby flipping through his new favorite book. Dad keeps an eye on his kids through the kitchen window as he is preparing dinner. A typical evening in a suburban New Jersey town.

In 2017, each family is unique in its structure and its beginning, and for the Edge household, it all started on a spring day in Iowa in 2002. Daniel was in veterinary medical school in Ames and had just met a guy online, gone on a few dates, and soon he and A.J. began dreaming of their future together.

“During our first year of dating, a lot of our early conversations were about kids,” Daniel revealed. “We both had a desire to be Dads, and A.J. was pretty adamant about only wanting one child. But life often has other plans, and it is a pretty great story on how we became the parents of our two boys.”

That story really starts in 2005, when in anticipation for starting their family, A.J. legally changed his name and took Daniels’ last name, Edge. According to A.J., “It was four years before we could legally marry in Iowa, and we reasoned that when we adopted a child it would be easier if we all had the same name. That was the first step in our journey to become a family.” The two would eventually marry in 2009.

Continue reading These Two Dads Would, “do whatever it takes to build our family.”

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A letter from Southern California Grantmakers:

With racial, ethnic, religious, and political divisiveness rising across America, organizations across the country, prompted by an effort by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, are calling for a National Day of Healing on Tuesday, January 17. The goal is to spur efforts to heal the wounds created by racial and other biases and to build an equitable and just society in which all people thrive.

Building off of recent conversations at our Annual Conference and other programs, Southern California Grantmakers is proud to announce support for this effort and invite people to participate in whatever ways you choose—both on the day itself and in the days and months to follow.

10 Things You Can Do to Help Heal Southern California

  1. On January 17, join Community Coalition for an open forum with colleagues from a diverse group of organizations focused on racial healing. This conversation will take place 10:00 am to 11:30 am at 8101 S. Vermont Avenue.
  2. Get to know someone of a different racial, ethnic, or religious background. Ask them to share something about their history and culture and share something about yours.
  3. Start a thought provoking conversation or share inspiring resources through your social media posts with questions like “What does racial healing look like to you?” or “How can racial healing help our country become more vibrant?”. Post a short video addressing why racial healing is important to you. Use the hashtags #TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation), #TheDayToHeal, and #DayOfRacialHealing.
  4. Recognize your own biases – we all have them! Try taking the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. Once you know your biases, you’ll be better equipped to resist stereotyping and look for the good in each person.
  5. Visit a local museum to explore the diversity around us. Check out the Annenberg Space for Photography’s IDENTITY exhibit (through 2/26) and lectures and exhibits at the Museum of Tolerance, Chinese American Museum, Japanese American National Museum, California African American Museum, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes; and the Dream Resource Center, among others.
  6. Watch a film about the impacts of racism and discrimination in our country and our modern world. Consider Hidden Figures, Defamation, Loving, 13th, Dreamer, A Better Life, He Named Me Malala, Breathin: The Eddy Zheng Story, Grab, Moonlight, The Case Against 8, and evenZootopia (to spark discussion with children). We also recommend reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, Trustbuilding by Rob Corcoran.
  7. Explore how race and racism have shaped Southern California specifically. Consider reading Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s by Gerald Horne, The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California by Wendy Cheng, Mendez v. Westminster: School Desegregation and Mexican-American Rights by Philippa Strum, Southland by Nina Revoyr, and Twilight: Los Angeles ,1992 by Anna Deavere Smith. You can also attend a performance of the upcoming production of Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum to experience the cultural and political context of Chicano life in 1940s.
  8. Be a tourist in your own community: visit some lesser known sites of local civil rights history with the alternative guidebook, A People’s Guide to Los Angeles by Laura Barraclough. You can also visit the Harada House in Riverside County.
  9. Think about the diversity within your neighborhood, workplace, local school, house of worship, etc., and initiate conversations about where and why there might be a lack of inclusion.
  10. Imagine what a healed Southern California community would look like and commit personally to work for racial healing and equity; volunteer with or support organizations that focus on healing and equity.

Our region is fortunate to have many groups committed to justice and reconciliation. Next Tuesday’s National Day of Healing, which follows the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and precedes the presidential inauguration, is an opportunity to broaden and deepen our personal and joint commitments, and begin our own journeys toward healing the wounds that divide us. You are encouraged to reach out to Southern California Grantmakers and share other resources and opportunities for community healing. SCG is committed to this endeavor and will continue to weave this critical issue into our ongoing programming and initiatives.

If there is one thing that I have learned from the tremendous power, wisdom, and caring of the SCG family, it’s the truth of these words from Maya Angelou: “When you do nothing you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

Thank you for taking the time to consider how you—together with your fellow SCG members and so many others nationwide—can help bring healing to our communities.


Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers

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Lontho is one of those people that everyone wants to be around. He is full of energy and optimism that fill any room he enters. Your initial impression of him is that he doesn’t have a care in the world and that life has been good for this young man of 18 years. As is most often the case, first impressions can be deceiving.

Born in Pennsylvania, as an infant Lontho went to live with his grandmother in Sierra Leone. Never fully bonding with his family or community in the African country, he returned to his birth family in Philadelphia as a young boy, only to face physical and emotional abuse. Shortly thereafter, he entered the foster care system where he was moved through numerous foster families, never truly feeling like he belonged anywhere.

The older he became, the less likely it would be for Lontho to join a permanent, forever family. But this teenager never lost hope in himself or his situation. He had recently confided in friends that he was gay, and even reached out to his birth parents to tell them. Lontho remembers they were not supportive, stating, “They definitely were not cool with it, and I think that if I had actually been living with them, they would have kicked me out.”

Continue reading Older Foster Youth Find Hope In Life Skills Program

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Over our five-year history, RaiseAChild has grown from three foster and adoption agency partners in Southern California to twelve partners today. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and specifically the Adoption and Permanency Resources Division, was one of our founding partners in the recruitment of prospective parents for the 30,000 children in the L.A. County foster care system.

Starting January 2017, State Assembly Bill 403 will bring major changes to California’s child welfare system. In essence the new legislature aims to move foster children out of group homes, creating an even greater demand for foster and adoptive parents, in turn, making our partnership with DCFS more important than ever.

Introduced by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), AB 403 phases out the way treatment and services are currently provided at group homes in favor of measures geared toward providing greater support to foster families. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will be charged with establishing and administering new accreditation standards and payment rates for group homes and foster family agencies.

Continue reading New Year, New Law

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Since founding RaiseAChild, I have had the great fortune to travel our nation to meet and speak with thousands of LGBT people curious about becoming foster and adoptive parents. Over these five years, I have learned to anticipate a list of common questions about building a family through the foster and adoption process. I do my best to correct myths and provide truths about the three most common questions involving the costs, the risks, and the children. However, it is the more private questions and concerns that some LGBT people hold back that I want most to address.

Ten years ago, the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law published research showing that 50 percent of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians wanted to raise a child. The study went on to estimate that two million GLB people were interested in adopting. So today, with the number of children in the nation’s foster care system growing to 425,000, a continuing upward trend over the past three years, the RaiseAChild team constantly challenges ourselves to improve methods to encourage and support more people in our LGBT community to build more families for these children.

Continue reading What’s Keeping You From Becoming an LBGT Parent?

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Independent Line Producer

Kama Kaina first was introduced to RaiseAChild by his social worker as he and his husband were going through the process of adopting their son. The support and knowledge they received was immeasurable and is ultimately why he accepted the invitation to serve on the RaiseAChild Board of Directors.

Kama is originally from Hawaii but moved to Florida when he was young. He attended Florida State University and moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduation. Kama has worked in the television industry for almost 10 years as a Line Producer. Some of his most recent projects include “Unlocking the Truth” for MTV; where three cases of possible wrongful convictions were documented and “24 Hours of Reality” for the Climate Reality Project; a 24 hour live broadcast on the effects of climate change with host Al Gore.

Kama also volunteers with KidSave, an organization that helps find mentors, hosts and foster/adoptive families for children age 9 to 17. He also enjoys watching sci-fi movies and cooking dinner for his family, which includes his husband and young son. They also have two dogs named Dexter and Leeroy.

*Correction, Kama and his husband are the proud parents of one son, not two as previously stated.

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