Resource families are kinship or relative caregivers, foster parents, respite providers, and/or adoptive parents. They care for children and teens served by the child welfare system. They are a “resource” to the child or teen and often to the primary family. Resource parents may give care for as briefly as a day or as long as a lifetime.
Resource parents do all the daily tasks that any other parent would, providing children and teens with support and guidance and making sure that their basic needs are met. However, resource parents do much more than simply provide the basics of caregiving. They play an essential role in protecting and nurturing children and teens that have experienced abuse or neglect. Resource parents help young people heal after trauma and loss during challenging times in their lives. They work to ensure that children and teens have safe permanent families by helping them return to the primary parents or relatives through a process known as reunification.
When reunification with a child’s primary family is not possible, resource parents help the child or teen transition to an adoptive home or help them develop the skills needed to live independently. Often, resource parents fill the role of a lifelong family themselves for children who have been in care.
Resource families work closely with agency staff and other professionals, honor cultural ties, and partner with primary families to help children and teens achieve healing, belonging and stability.