When in doubt, ASK! Contact Barbie Caldwell at (760) 716-4824 or Patty Boles at Straight From The Heart at (760) 744-2240 .  If we don't have the answer we will direct you to the person that does. These are just helpful answers for frequently asked questions. It is always best to clarify issues that you are unsure of by checking your Foster Parent Handbook, or even call your licensing worker, as policies and procedures can change within the County.

1) Can I take my foster child on vacation with me? The answer is yes, in most instances, but plan ahead as you must do several things first, depending upon where you will be going and how long you will be gone. It is best to check with your licensing worker AND your social worker to be sure you have done everything correctly, but here are some examples:

- If you are leaving San Diego County, but traveling to an adjoining County, for not more than 24 hours, (i.e. Disneyland) there are no special requirements. However it is good practice to leave a "courtesy call" for the social worker to let them know where the child will be.

- If you are leaving the County, but will be in an adjoining County, for not more than 72 hours, you will need to notify the social worker and your licensing worker, where you will be and the dates you will be gone, in advance.

- If you are leaving San Diego County for more than 72 hours, you will need a court order (also known as an ex-parte). This is obtained by the social worker, but YOU need to request it. Try to give them at least a two-week notice. Be prepared, they will ask you the exact dates and the physical address and phone number where you will be staying. It is also a good idea to follow up and make sure they have followed through with the request to the court. Check back with them, before you leave, to make sure they have followed through and you have approval to take the child with you. You will not necessarily receive a copy of the ex-parte but the social worker should notify you that they have received it. You then need to notify your licensing worker of the foster child's name, the dates you will be out of town, and the location (you can leave them a message).

When traveling out of town, be sure to take your foster care Placement Papers and Medical Authorization to Treat, in case of an emergency.

2. How long do I have to wait at a visit for the parents to show up? If the parents have not shown up 15 minutes after the scheduled visit time, then you can leave. You may want to leave a message for the child's social worker so that they are aware of the "no-show" visit. Be sure to document it in your Visitation Log.

3. How can I be prepared for my re-licensing visit by my licensing worker? A few things you can do to make sure you are prepared are:

- Have your paperwork in order when they arrive. This makes your visit smoother and quicker. Have the following items ready to show your licensing worker for each person on the license: Valid CPR & First Aid cards, Training Certificates verifying 8 hours of required training for each person, and any special "Training Certificates" for medically fragile kids.

- Also be sure your smoke detectors are working properly, your electrical sockets have covers, that you can show them your medicines are up high, where your first aid kit and fire extinguisher are located and, if you have stairs, be prepared to show that you have a gate, if asked. You will also be asked to show bedroom layouts and sleeping arrangements, for your foster children and your own. Bird baths, water fountains or other bodies of water should be filled with rocks or fenced off, just as pool requirements will be re-checked for compliance. In addition, if you have someone new living with you, that is over the age of 18, or a child that has turned 18 years old since your last licensing check, be sure they have been fingerprinted.

4. What if I cannot find a Medi-Cal provider who is able to do a medical checkup for my newborn infant placement within the first few days, as instructed on my hospital discharge papers? You can call Lori York, Family Nurse Practitioner at the North County Assessment Center at (760) 598-2803. Lori can provide your child with a physical checkup until you are able to get in to your pediatrician. Typically, the hospital nursery will want you to provide the name of a pediatrician, before you leave the hospital with the baby, and you are still required to make that appointment. Sometimes the hospital nurses will make the appointment for you, before you leave to take the baby home.

5. Should I attend court hearings and where can I get Court Forms to submit for a foster child?  Yes, you should attend court and you have the RIGHT to attend court.  We encourage you to actively participate in your foster child's case plan and keeping the court's informed is one of the ways you can do that.  You can obtain court forms and instructions to request De Facto Parent Status (JV295, JV296 & JV299), Caregiver Information to The Court (JV290), or Request for Prospective Adoptive Parent Designation (JV 322 & JV 321) here on this website by visiting the links below. Some of these forms can be filled out directly online and printed out. Others must be printed out and completed manually. We have noted this below. You can visit the link for Juvenile Court Forms website directly for a complete listing of court forms.

Caregiver Information To The Court Form:

JV-290 (English) Fillable Form JV290 (Spanish) Imprima la forma en línea y llene lo. No puede ser llenado en línea.

De Facto Parent Request Forms:

JV-295 (English) Fillable Form JV295S (Spanish) Imprima la forma en línea y llene lo. No puede ser llenado en línea.

JV-296 (English) Fillable Form (Esta forma no está disponible en español.)

JV-299 (English) De Facto Information Pamphlet JV-299S (Spanish) De Folleto Facto de Información de Padre

Request For Prospective Adoptive Parent Designation

JV 325 (Information Pamphlet) JV-321 and JV-322 Fillable Forms (This request can only be made if biological parental rights have been terminated - Download the JV 325 Information Pamphlet or Visit the Straight From The Heart webite for more information on when you can file this form.)
If you need help completing any of these forms, please call Barbie Caldwell at (760) 716-4824 or Patty Boles at (760) 744-2240.

6. Who may I use to do respite for my foster child? The answer is one of several and depends on whether or not you intend to pay the respite provider.

- For periods of not more than 23 hours you may use the "Prudent Parent Babysitting Law" to use babysitters who are not required to be fingerprinted by the County. However, you need to use your prudent judgement as you are still responsible for the child while they are not in your care. You may not use County funds to pay these providers.

- For more than 24 hours of respite, the respite provider must be fingerprinted and approved by the County, whether or not you will be paying for the respite. This can be done in one of 3 ways: 1) You may use another licensed foster care provider or 2) The respite provider is fingerprinted to your Foster Home License (fingerprints approved and in your licensing file) or 3) They are an approved respite provider through the San Diego Center For Children, who presently administers the respite contract for the County. Their phone number is (858) 277-9550 Ext. 300.
Note- A licensed foster home may not exceed their license capacity while they are performing respite for an additional foster child, for a period of more than 24 hours. And, if your foster child is deemed "medically fragile" then the respite provider muste be qualified to care for a "medically fragile" child.

7. What is DSEP?

DSEP also known as The Developmental Screening and Enhancement Program is a multi-agency collaborative effort designed to address the developmental and behavioral needs of children, ages 0-5 years. Every child entering the San Diego foster care system, that falls within this age group, is automatically referred to DSEP. Their services are provided, free of charge. Many of their partners, such as San Diego Regional Center, California Early Start, Rady's Childrens Hospital & Health Center are listed individually on our Special Needs Resources page, where you can find out more information about these organizations.

8. What do I do if I leave a message for my social worker and don't get a return call?

Just as you are expected to return calls to anyone involved in your foster child's case in a timely manner, social workers are expected to return call to you in the same timely manner.  If you have not received a return call within 24 hours, you should contact the social worker's supervisor, who will either assist you or have the social worker call you back.

9. What if I run out of the Health Visit Form or have not yet received my Health Passport that includes the Health Visit Forms?
You can download a blank Health Visit Form from our website.  Click here to download the form.  Just remember to fill in the child's name and date of birth.  After your health provider completes the form, simply return it to the Health Passport Clerk at the office where the child's case is handled.

10. What do I do if I suspect child abuse in a home?  As a foster parent you are what is known as a mandated reporter.  All suspicions of child abuse must be reported.  Call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-344-6000More information on the Child Abuse Hotline can be found at

11. What if I have a friend or relative who is interested in becoming a foster parent?  Refer them to the Kids Line

12. I have not yet received a reimbursement check for my foster child, who do I call?  It can take up to 45 days for you to receive your first reimbursement check and then it should come monthly, thereafter.  For questions about foster care payments, contact your Eligibility Worker (also known as Eligibility Technician or ET).  If you do not know who is assigned to your child's case, you can call a county number to find out.  Visit our County Contacts page to get this and other frequently needed phone numbers.

13. Who do I notify if my foster child is injured or hospitalized?  You must notify both the child's social worker AND your licensing worker.  You may leave a message on their voicemail if the injury occurs on the weekend.  If your child is injured badly or hospitalized at night or on the weekend, call the Hotline and report it.  It is your responsibility to notify ALL parties.  Do not take the word of someone else that they will do it for you.  It is your sole responsibility for your own protection. 

14. Can I communicate via email with my social worker?  Although you may be told otherwise, email is the "safest" method of communicating so that you have your record that you communicated.  However, you may not use any identifiable information in an email such as the child's name or date of birth.  A suggestion is to put in the subject line "My foster Home" or something to that nature, then in the content refer to the child as "the child placed in my home".  Foster parents emailing social workers do not pose a virus threat to the County system as some have heard.  Their security systems in place make it safe and we suggest you do it.

15. Can I travel to Disneyland with my foster child without obtaining permission?  The answer is YES.  You may travel to an adjoining County for up to 48 hours without asking permission to do so, unless there is a need of the child that would make it unsafe for them to go with you.  As a "courtesy" you should notify the child's social worker when you leave town with a foster child.  For trips to extended counties, the social worker needs to be consulted and an ex-parte may need to be obtained depending on how far you are traveling and how long you will be gone.

16.  What is the difference between the child's social worker and my licensing worker?  The child's social worker (Child Welfare Services CWS) manages the child's case and needs to be kept informed of anything happening that pertains to the child.  Your licensing worker (Foster Home Licensing FHL) manages your facility, which is a licensed foster home and needs to be aware of anything that happens in or changes that involves "your facility".  They are two separate entities with two separate roles.