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Seneca has four types of foster parents/caregivers

1. Foster Parents
Individuals and families who open their homes to a child, teen or a group of siblings. All Seneca Foster Parents receive our comprehensive training and support throughout their foster care service.  Foster parents receive a stipend to supplement the cost of caring for foster youth.

2. Enhanced Foster Caregivers
Individuals and families who care for a child or a sibling set (over the age of ten) for a period of up to six months.  These caregivers undergo our most comprehensive training and are provided round the clock staff support because the young people in their care have experienced significant challenges and need some additional support.  These caregivers receive a significant stipend to supplement their care and housing needs.

3. Respite Caregivers
Individuals and families who want to support foster youth but cannot make the long-term commitment. Respite Caregivers step in for foster parents to look after a young person while the foster parent tends to other matters, such as a business trip, caring for a sick family member or just a night out. Respite Caregivers receive the same high-quality training as foster parents but don’t have to meet the standard housing requirements as respite care can occur in the child’s home.

4. Petaluma COMPrehensive Assessment and Stabilization Services (COMPASS)
This unique program is designed around a neighborhood of specialized resource parents living in single family homes on a beautiful shared cul-de-sac property in rural Petaluma, creating a community of support for youth and families. Individuals or couples care for children who have struggled to live in traditional family settings after past trauma experiences. Seneca provides housing, pays utilities and offers a significant stipend to supplement the needs of each family and youth. Families have access to 24/7 on-site support and daily guidance from Seneca clinicians and behavior specialists. Youth stay for up to 6 months and each family cares for one youth at a time.

Getting Approved to Foster or Adopt

Step 1: Attend An Orientation
Seneca hosts personal orientations for interested individuals and/or families and hosts regular orientations in Sonoma, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties. To get started, complete the form here or call 1-877-380-5300.

Step 2. Get Trained
All prospective parents receive specialty training including CPR and First Aid.

Step 3. Health Screenings & Background Check
All prospective parents pass a health screening and a rigorous criminal background check.

Step 4. Home Assessments
Seneca’s team will visit you at home to make sure it is child-safe and that your family dynamics are able to accommodate the need of a young person.

Step 5. Approval
Once all of the above requirements have been met, you may be approved as a resource parent and begin receiving phone calls about children in need of a home like yours. You'll collaborate with Seneca to make sure the match is right between a child and your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Seneca welcomes individuals who are:

  • At least 25 years old.
  • Of any marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity
  • Renters or homeowners with enough room for at least one foster youth, or are interested in moving into a Seneca home for an Enhanced Foster Caregiver role
  • Able to pass a health and criminal background screening

Seneca Family of Agencies provides excellent support and compensation to foster/resource parents. You are not alone in caring for Seneca foster children. Seneca offers whatever it takes to help you create stability and healing for foster youth.  Some of the benefits we offer include:

  • Weekly home visits from Seneca behavior specialists and clinicians.
  • Generous tax-free monthly stipend
  • 24/7 on-call crisis support from Seneca experts
  • Respite care so you can take a break when needed
  • Monthly foster/resource parent support meetings for foster/resource parents and their foster children
  • Ongoing, free training and skills development
  • Housing and additional stipends are available for specialty programs

Seneca Family of Agencies is a statewide agency in California that serves the following areas:

  • San Francisco Bay Area (all counties)
  • Central Coast: Monterey, Salinas, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo Counties & surrounding area
  • Southern California: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside Counties & surrounding area

Yes! Many of our Foster/Resource parents work full or part time. Retirees are also welcome to apply to become Foster parents.

It is not necessary to be married in order to be a Foster/Resource parent. Seneca welcomes individuals who are single and/or divorced, in addition to married couples and domestic partners.

Seneca works with foster children from infancy to 21 years old and also provides adoption services to those wishing to grow their families. Our broad range of services vary across the state and include foster care for children who have been removed from their home through no fault of their own to children and teens who have experienced high levels trauma and abuse.

Seneca always seeks permanency for its foster children, either through reunification, adoption or legal guardianship. Some children in the foster care system are in need of adoptive families if biological family is unable to care for them. Seneca can facilitate adoptions in these circumstances, and assesses all resource families to the level of adoption from the beginning so that if the need arises, a family can quickly move towards adoption.

Becoming a foster parent is free. However, you may be required to pay for fingerprinting and CPR certifications. The costs associated with adoption through foster care are typically under $400 and both California and the Federal government offer significant adoption tax credits, which may apply so consult your tax professional if you are interested in learning more. Having a foster child enter your home also generally qualifies a caregiver to take state paid family leave from their employment. Some employers also provide additional paid leave or financial support for foster-adoptive families so check with your employer to learn more.

Seneca wants all of our foster/resource parents to be well-prepared.

Our “Pre-approval Training" classes for potential foster/resource parents ensures all of our families are prepared to work with any child, especially those caring for children who have experienced significant trauma and/or loss.

Enhanced Foster Caregivers (also referred to as Professional Parents) are skilled caregivers who provide round-the-clock therapeutic treatment to a high needs young person. Enhanced Foster Caregivers are well-trained and compensated by a significant tax-free living stipend. In many cases, they are offered free housing or an additional housing stipend. Enhanced Foster Caregivers also receive paid vacation between caring for youth, to ensure sustainability. Oftentimes, Enhanced Foster Caregivers have previous experience working with youth or being in professional caregiver roles, like teachers, nurses and EMT's, though this is not a pre-requisite and extensive training and ongoing supports are provided to support this role.  If you feel like you might have the heart to help youth heal, let us know and we can talk more about it.