Santa Cruz County Foster Care and Adoption


Head Start/Early Head Start

  • Child development program with both home visitors and pre-school centers throughout the county.
  • Resource parents with children age 0-5 automatically qualify for services. Eligibility is not based on resource parents' income. Foster children are prioritized for HS/EHS services.

Hope's Closet

  • Free used clothing, toys and books for resource parents. Hope's Closet always has ample supplies of clothing for kids ages 7 and under. They also have some clothing on-hand for older children. 
  • Generally open Monday through Friday from 11:00am to 5:00pm.
  • Location is 2557A Soquel Drive in Santa Cruz, CA (upstairs above Jellybeanz).
  • For the resource parent who has never been to Hope's Closet, best to call first at (831) 566-1731.

 Mentor Program

  • Mentors are experienced resource parents who have undergone training. They are contracted by our department and report to a supervisor. Mentors provide hands-on guidance to any resource parent in need of support or direction. Most mentor/resource parent communication is carried on an as-needed basis by telephone.
  • Resource Parents are matched to mentors based on age of child cared for, language, location in county, and cultural considerations.
  • Mentors typically reach out to their mentees on a monthly or an as-needed basis.
  • For a resource parent who is struggling for whatever reason, please ask about working with a mentor. Email request to

Meridian Group

  • Free, professional counseling for resource parents wanting help addressing any issue related to permanency. Examples: "The child I had hoped to adopt is reunifying with the birth parents"..."I'm not sure I can commit to adoption"..."I'm adopting a child and need to figure out how to blend him/her in with the rest of my family."
  • Interested resource parents need only call Nancy Virostko at (831)429-7550. Nancy will match the resource parent(s) with a therapist and sessions typically start right away. No referral form needed!

Monthly Stipend

  • Based on individual child's needs

Respite Assistance

  • Respite is designed to provide resource parents with the occasional break, date night, etc. Respite is not intended to function as a sole source of child care.
  • Currently, resource parents can qualify for up to 26 hours per month of respite money paid at a rate of $10 per hour.
  • For more information on respite assistance, email Lydia Benavidez at

Voucher Project

  • Child care payment program - Eligibility is based on total monthly gross income of the family in relationship to the number of family members in the household.
  • Urgent circumstances can lead to a family being prioritized for child care services.
  • For more information, call the Voucher Project at (831) 688-2152.
  • To request assistance, please contact


  • Provides coupons to purchase healthy foods for pregnant women and small children. Resource parents caring for children under 5 years of age automatically qualify. Eligibility is not based on the resource parent's income or assets.
  • Location of Santa Cruz WIC Office is 1105 Water St., Santa Cruz, CA (831)426-3911
  • Location of Watsonville WIC Office is 18 W. Lake Ave., Watsonville, CA in the La Manzana Center (831)722-7121