All children need and deserve a safe, loving, nurturing, accepting and consistent place to live where they can thrive and reach their full potential.
To assist children in need, the Resource Family Approval Program (RFA), a state program implemented by the County of Santa Clara Department of Family and Children’s Services, aims to provide a much-needed home for those individuals.
“Our campaign is generally focused on recruiting for older youth because that’s one of the highest needs that the County has,” said Gilbert Murillo, bureau manager for the County of Santa Clara Social Services Agency. “We have four units always ready and dedicated to ensure that families go through the process quickly in order to be the caregivers for these children who need a temporary or long-term home.”
After becoming the newest associate pastor at Los Altos Methodist Church in 2016, Santa Clara County resident Samantha Blewis was given a beautiful home as part of her role with the church, but she was still missing something – a family.
Within a year of getting married in 2018, Sam and Kristi Blewis knew they wanted to find a way to open their home to those most in need of love and support.
“We had relationships with people who had foster youth and those kiddos talked to us about how important it was for teenagers to have a place to go,” said Kristi. “They really helped us to understand that we wanted to foster teenagers.”
Through the County’s resource family program, the Blewis family first welcomed in two foster youth and, soon after, brought in two others.
Although the kids have aged out of the Resource Family Program, all but one decided to stay with the Blewis family, as they continue to be a beacon of love and support to one another.
“There’s not a lot of ways you can directly care about people who are disproportionately affected by the systems,” said Sam. “This is a way that I can directly care.”
A Resource Family is any individual, couple or family who wants to provide care to a related or unrelated child (or children) who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, or otherwise in the care of a County child welfare agency or probation department.
The RFA program also allows for emergency placements with relatives and unrelated extended family members. Once approved, resource families may be considered for foster care, guardianship and adoption placement, depending on the family’s goals.
To learn more about the Resource Family Program, visit the County’s resource family webpage.