What is a Professional Parent? | Uplift Family Services

Professional parents are a critical component of the California foster care and adoption system. A professional parent offers children and teenagers a loving home, a safe environment to grow, and guidance through times of great change in their lives. These things are important for any child or teen to thrive as they transition into a permanent family placement and adulthood.

professional parent with teenage boy

What is a Professional Parent?

A professional parent is someone who offers support to children and teens during times of transition in their lives. There are two types of professional parent programs at Uplift Family Services: Placement Support Services (PSS) and Uplift Wraparound. The goal of these programs is to connect with these specific children and teens while helping them prepare for a permanent family placement.

Placement Support Services is a short-term program, typically only lasting up to 60 days. PSS focuses on stabilizing children of any age before joining a family.

Uplift Wraparound (a combination of our standard wraparound and Matrix programs) is meant to act as a longer bridge for teenagers and young adults ages 13-20 who need higher levels of care before we find a permanent placement for them. This program can span up to six months with a professional parent. During Uplift Wraparound, teenagers receive specialized, short-term care from a professional while replicating the stability of a permanent home until the teen is ready for their family placement.


The Importance of Professional Parents

Professional parent programs are connected to our higher acuity specialty mental health programs and operate under the concept that every child and teenager needs a family and that family is the key to their success. Professional parents provide the bridge to permanent placement for children and teens who may be struggling in certain areas while delivering specialized services tailored to each individual.

In California alone, there are nearly 56,000 children in the foster care system, yet no two are the same or require the same level of care. Not only are individualized programs necessary to meet each child where they are, but having an abundance of resource parents with varying levels of expertise and abilities is also crucial. In order to reach the ultimate goal of a permanent home placement, many steps must be taken to prepare each individual child and teen.

Without professional parents, a gap in services would exist for children and teens who do not have an ideal permanent home match yet, or need more time to prepare for one.

How to Apply

Currently, professional parenting with Uplift Family Services is only offered in Santa Clara County. However, there are professional parent programs throughout the state and country.

If you live in Santa Clara County and are interested in becoming a professional parent you can start your resource parent application through our easy online portal. Once you have created a basic account, a resource family recruiter will get in touch to help you through the process and answer all your questions. Do not worry if you are unsure if you’re ready to commit to becoming a professional parent. You can sign up to have your questions answered or even learn more about other types of foster care and adoption through Uplift Family Services.

Professional Parents are offered a generous stipend, specialized training, weekly support meetings, 24-hour crisis support, and flexible respite time. Respite time includes 48 hours of time each month and 4 hours of self-care time each week.

Uplift Family Services is proud to operate under a “no eject no reject” policy for any children. This means that we will never turn a child or teen away and can rely on our network of certified resource parents. In return, professional parents are fully supported to ensure that the placement of the child is maintained.

To learn more about the process of becoming a professional parent, read the story of Lupe Chapa Green’s experience of becoming a professional parent or the inspiration behind Grace Towns moving from foster care to professional parenting.