Happy New Year!

A Review of 2023

133 People attended a Resource Family Approval Orientation Meeting

63 People attended the Pre-Approval Training

11 Community Resource Families Approved

13 Child-specific Resource Families Approved

4 Friends of the Family Volunteers Approved


Marin Supervisors Contribute $500,000 to Help House Maturing Foster Youth

October 18, 2023 - Marin County supervisors set aside $500,000 this week to help a nonprofit that serves foster care children buy an apartment building in Novato.

The Marin Foster Care Association is leading an effort to purchase the 10-unit complex for youths who are aging out of the county’s foster care system.

Read the full article on Marin IJ. (Note:  Subscription required to access full article)


Happy New Year!

A Review of 2022

101 People attended a Resource Family Approval Orientation Meeting

35 People completed the Pre-Approval Training

9 Community Resource Families Approved

9 Child-specific Resource Families Approved

4  Friends of the Family Volunteers Approved


May is Foster Care Awareness Month

On May 10, the Marin County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution proclaiming May Foster Care Awareness Month, prompting Bree Marchman, Division Director of Marin HHS Children & Family Services, to express her gratitude.

“Children & Family Services would not be able to serve our community without the support of our local resource parents and siblings, and we are deeply indebted to their commitments to the welfare of foster children,” she said. 

The resolution recognized those who authentically engage with youth to build lasting relationships. Resource families are often the place where a child can begin their healing journey. Studies show that it takes just one committed adult to make a world of difference in a child’s life. Resource families do more than support the children, they often support the parents on their healing journey as well, helping to reunify families and often becoming integral members of the child’s extended family. When reunification can’t happen, those families sometimes find themselves providing a forever family to a special child. 

Just in time for Foster Care Awareness Month, the Marin Foster Care Association, and Children & Family Services is launching Lunch and Learns, new monthly one-hour, in-person gatherings that will include lunch with foster parents who will share about their experiences and answer questions. The gatherings set up to serve as a casual way to learn more about the foster care system in Marin and how others can help support youth in the community. 

The first Lunch and Learn will be at noon Tuesday, May 31, at the Community Resource Center in San Rafael. Online registration is open.



Gender-affirming care for transgender children is not child abuse

 Marin County Children and Family Services (Marin CFS), along with our child abuse prevention partner the Marin Child Abuse Prevention Council (Marin CAPC), strongly condemns the anti-transgender actions of Texas Governor Abbot.

 Marin CFS responds to reports of suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation. We do not believe that gender-affirming care for transgender children constitutes child abuse; rather, it is a demonstration of love and acceptance. Equating gender-affirming care with child abuse is a direct assault on the purpose of child protection laws and gender-affirming youth and diverts child protection resources from legitimate reports of suspected child abuse, thereby endangering children. Texas’ action will require doctors, nurses, teachers, and other adults who have contact with transgender children to report purported “abuse” to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or face possible criminal penalties.

 Marin CFS and Marin CAPC both remain committed to supporting and protecting children and families in our community. We believe that this proposed action sets a very dangerous precedent for child welfare agencies and providers going forward. It further demoralizes the acceptance and affirmation of transgender youth. 

Marin CAPC has been working diligently to create a comprehensive child abuse prevention plan to support families in Marin with concrete needs, connection and support so that they do not become involved with the child welfare system. Our energy will continue to be directed toward meeting the needs of vulnerable children and parents in our community, which also means supporting the medical and emotional needs of all children, including non-binary and transgender children. 

Bree Marchman, LCSW (she/her), Division Director

Marin County Children and Family Services


Happy New Year!

A Review of 2021

120 People attended a Resource Family Approval Orientation Meeting

54 People completed the Pre-Approval Training

13 Community Resource Families Approved

8 Child-specific Resource Families Approved



Happy 2021!

Marin Voice:

To Prevent child abuse, we need to invest in families by Bree Marchman, Division Director, Children & Family Services

Marin IJ Article


2020 in Review:

120 People attended a Resource Family Approval Orientation Meeting

55 People completed the Pre-Approval Training

6 Community Resource Families Approved

7 Child-specific Resource Families Approved



Meet our Teen Whisperer, Lesia Knudsen

Friends of the Family

Friends of the Family

Marin County Children and Family Services is pleased to announce our new Friends of the Family Program.  The Friends of the Family Program links community volunteers to resource families who can use support.  Fostering children is a rewarding yet demanding calling.  The level of support a resource family has is directly correlated with their success in fostering children and their retention as a resource family.  Many resource families report that they could do more if they had a bigger support network.

You can be part of that support network by offering help with transportation, providing bought or prepared meals during times of transition, and donating goods or services.  There are many ways to become involved depending on a person’s individual interest, resources, and availability.   You let us know how much time you have and how you would like to help.  Volunteers will receive training and support from social workers familiar with the foster care system.

Interested applicants will work with Marin County Children and Family Services and the Marin County Volunteers Program to become approved as a Friend of the Family.  The assessment process varies depending on the level of involvement a prospective participant will have and may include a background check and an interview with a social worker.  For more information and the application, visit Friends of the Family.


Instant Familhy - Purchase tickets .

In honor of National Foster Care Month in May, please join us for a screening of Instant Family, a movie inspired by actual events from the life of writer/director Sean Anders. This is presented by CFI Education in partnership with Marin County Children and Family Services. A panel discussion with members of the Marin fostering community will follow. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Marin Foster Care Association. To purchase tickets, click on the picture.

Happy New Year!

Here are some fun facts about 2018:

118 People attended a Resource Family Approval Orientation Meeting

71 People completed the Pre-Approval Training

10 Community Resource Families Approved

8 Child-specific Resource Families Approved


November is National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month—an annual campaign sponsored by the Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to encourage communities to support the thousands of children across the country in need of permanent families. In Marin County, there are 25 youth age 16 - 20 in foster care who are at risk of aging out of the system without fundamental emotional, legal, and/or financial support.

As many as 50 percent of youth who age out of foster care are likely to become homeless. This year, National Adoption Month is providing resources on how the voices of older youth can help professionals ensure “forever families” for teenagers in foster care. 

Former foster youth, Molly, entered the system at age 15 with her brother and is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work at Columbia University.  “I have been working towards my goal of becoming a social worker for many years and am so grateful that I had the support of so many people in my community who knew I was just as capable as any other teenager,” she says, “Another reason I was able to achieve so much success is that I was able to stay in the same homes as my brother.”  30% of the Marin children in foster care are a part of a sibling group.  Molly says that teens “need foster parents who are willing to have long term relationships with kids even after they move or go to college, are capable of loving a foster child as if they are their own, believe in their abilities to succeed academically and are willing to support them in maintaining relationships with siblings and other family members.”

If you would like to learn more about fostering opportunities in Marin County, you are invited to attend an Orientation meeting.  For schedule and to register, please visit:  Orientation


Annual Training Hours

Krista Hopper-Pasillas, MSW
RFA Unit Supervisor

Resource and Foster Parents are required to take 8 hours of continuing education each year.  During the annual visit, the RFA Worker will request documentation of participation in training. Training is a great way to help caregivers develop their knowledge and competency in areas in which they may be unfamiliar or to help deal with new situations as they arise. Caregivers are encouraged to participate in training that stretches them to learn new skills or to help with circumstances that may have been challenging. Based on discussions with the caregiver, an RFA worker may suggest specific training topics as well. Specific training needs may also be identified as part of the resolution of a complaint allegation. There are many training resources available to caregivers to help meet this need, a few of which are highlighted below.

Foster Parent College

The California Department of Social Services recognizes that your time is limited and wants to help ensure that accessing training is as easy as possible. CDSS has partnered with www.FosterParentCollege.com to provide free training available to caregivers 24/7. Foster Parent College is an online source that contains interactive multimedia training courses on a multitude of pertinent topics of interest to resource and foster parents, such as Supporting Normalcy, Noncompliance and Defiance, and Physical Health Needs of Foster Children, just to name a few. Marin County caregivers can get access to FPC by emailing a request to lfields@marincounty.org. An added bonus of FPC is that RFA Workers can log in to see what training caregivers have participated in, so there’s no need to send certificates in!

Mom’s/Dad’s Night Out

MFCA hosts these evenings as an opportunity for community, support and education on various topics. Watch the newsletter for more information on dates and topics! CFS grants one hour of training time for attending a Night Out and allows 3 of the 8 annually required hours to come from attending these events.

Just in Time Training

The Quality Parenting Initiative’s Just in Time Training is another excellent source for online training. As the name implies, it is designed as a resource to be available to caregivers as they are dealing with a specific parenting challenge. Participating in these trainings is not trackable through the website so caregivers will need to keep a log of any training attended to provide to their RFA Worker. Visit http://www.qpicalifornia.org/pages/Video.shtml to see a list of available training topics.

For questions about whether a particular event or training will satisfy your training requirements, please discuss it with your RFA Worker.


May is National Foster Care Month

May 3, 2018

May is National Foster Care Month, a time to acknowledge the resource parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent connections, and attain safety and well-being.  It is also a time to focus on ways to create a bright future for the more than 430,000 children and youth in foster care nationwide.   Marin County currently has 85 children in out-of-home care, also known as foster care, and nearly 35% of them are placed in homes outside of Marin.  We need more homes in Marin so we can bring these youth back to our community.   If you would like to learn more about fostering opportunities, please join us at an Orientation.  The monthly Orientations are facilitated by a social worker and a resource parent who will discuss the application process, the training and support available.

Another way to support the local foster community is to participate in the Marin Foster Care Association’s 4th Annual Walk on Sunday, May 20th.  MFCA's annual Walkathon provides crucial funding for our educational programs, tutoring and enrichment, clothing, supplies, advocacy and support for foster children and the loving families that open their hearts and homes to Marin children.  The Walkathon is a kid, stroller, wheelchair, and dog-friendly 1-mile loop on beautiful Shoreline Trail in San Rafael. Registration begins at 2:00pm at 103 Shoreline Parkway in San Rafael (between BMW and Home Depot). There's lots of fun for everyone, so please come out and support foster kids in Marin! Register or donate here: https://secure.qgiv.com/event/935231/

Marin Children and Family Services appreciates the service and dedication of our resource families.  We have 4 families that have been providing foster care for over 20 years, and some that have just begun their journeys.   We thank all members of the foster community for their support of Marin County youth.


Level Of Care Presentation

In case you missed it, please click here to view the Level of Care presentation held by Krista Hopper-Pasillas, Marin County RFA Supervisor, on April 26, 2018.

Joins us at  https://join.me/MarinCoRFA


New Info on Respite Care

by Krista Hopper-Pasillas, MSW

The Resource Family Approval program has brought with it many changes, some of which provide great benefits to Resource Families and seek to remove barriers for them. One of these changes involves the guidelines governing the type of care and supervision a Resource Family may rely on for support, or what is typically referred to as respite care.

The Resource Family Approval Written Directives, Version 5, actually differentiates between three types of support; Occasional Short-Term Babysitters, Alternative Caregivers, and Respite Care Providers.

Occasional Short-Term Babysitters

  • Can provide care for up to 24 hours
  • Can be under 18 if mature enough to handle the care of the child
  • Can provide care in their home or the Resource Family Home
  • Does not require a background check
    • Prudent Parent Standard Applies

Alternative Caregivers

  • Can provide care for more than 24 hours (no outer limit is specified)
  • Must be over 18
  • Can provide care in their home or in the Resource Family Home
    • Prudent Parent Standard Applies
  • Requires a Criminal Records Clearance by CFS

Respite Care Providers

  • Can provide care for up to 72 hours
    • Can be extended up to 14 days in any one month with CFS approval, if necessary to preserve the placement
  • Are licensed foster parents, approved relatives, or approved Resource Families
  • Provide care in their own home

Some Things to Consider
Allowing Resource Parents the ability to apply the Prudent Parenting Standard when selecting an Occasional Short-Term Babysitter or when determining whether an Alternative Caregiver’s home is appropriate increases flexibility and removes red tape for caregivers in leveraging available supports. Caregivers should consider the best interests of a child when making these determinations. In addition, because there is no CFS home inspection in these situations, caregivers should take steps to ensure the home is absent of hazards that endanger the health and safety of a child.

The removal of the limit on the amount of time a child can spend with an Alternative Caregiver is another step that was taken to make it easier for a caregiver to leverage their support system in meeting the needs of a child.  It is best practice for Resource Parents to identify a few people in their lives who may fill this role in the future, and proactively have them obtain a clearance with CFS. CFS cannot guarantee that last minute requests will be processed in time to accommodate a need, so get Grandma, Auntie or Neighbor cleared today!

Finally, these changes technically only apply to Resource Family Homes, as they are stated in the RFA Written Directives and not in the regulations governing licensed foster homes. At Marin CFS, we like to operate with a little common sense, and are enacting some changes during the RFA conversion process. If your home was certified through an FFA and has not yet converted to a Resource Family Home, your agency may choose to apply these changes differently. In fact, FFAs do have the ability to enact their own internal policies and procedures, so please be sure to check with your agency social worker about their requirements. However, you may use this information to advocate for common-sense guidelines that increase your ability to leverage your support system!


Changes on Funding

Resource Family Approval has been officially rolled out across the state for a little over a year, and what a year it has been! While beneficial in so many ways, the implementation of RFA has had some unintended consequences. For example, federal funding for foster care is not available until a family completes the full approval process. This can be challenging for those relatives who take placement of a child on an emergency basis. In Marin County, we have been committed to funding the majority of placements that occurred on an emergency basis. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said across the state. Follow the link below to read about some challenges that have occurred in other parts of the state, and what has been proposed to the legislature to address those concerns.

CA: California bills target lengthy foster-parent approval process
Chronicle of Social Change - March 07, 2018
As the state implements broad changes to its child-welfare system through the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), one of the biggest challenges has been moving foster parents and relative caregivers through a new approval process.


Krista Hopper-Pasillas, MSW

Marin County - Children and Family Services