About FAM

What is FAM?

FAM [Family & Me] is a new model of foster care designed to meet the needs of youth who have been impacted by or are vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation (CSE).  These youth are often the least likely to be placed in a family setting within the current system, frequently being sent into group homes and historically out of state.  FAM aims to create a new approach to family-based foster care that includes comprehensive training and support for caregivers and allows youth to stay within their communities, connected with the people they love.

What makes FAM different than traditional foster care?

FAM brings together local experts with deep experience working with youth who’ve experienced sexual exploitation. We support caregivers by providing:

  • A shared caregiving model - because we know it takes a village.
  • Supports like family therapy, funding to meet unexpected needs, and round the clock support in times of crisis.
  • Specialized training and ongoing support, including monthly consultation groups with other caregivers to develop strategies for the challenges that arise in the day-to-day.
  • Encouragement in building community and permanent relationships with youth, amongst caregivers, and with biological and chosen families.
  • Emphasis on flexibility and developmentally appropriate expectations, including a focus on harm reduction and trauma-informed care.

We believe all youth in foster care deserve an unconditionally loving family home with generous support within their community.

FAM youth need caregivers like you!

FAM is actively seeking caring and compassionate adults who are deeply committed to supporting teens in foster care. As a FAM caregiver, you will be a part of a life-changing opportunity for youth who have been exploited sexually. Join us in building a nurturing community that offers youth in foster care a supportive home environment where they can heal, belong, and thrive.

FAM caregivers can live anywhere in the Bay Area, though those living in San Francisco are especially in demand.  In addition, FAM caregivers can serve as either primary or secondary caregivers (see “caregiving roles” below and learn more on our FAQ page).  All FAM caregivers need a spare bedroom to meet our health and safety standards, and need to complete our training and assessment process to meet the state’s Resource Family Approval (RFA) requirements.

By becoming a FAM caregiver, you’ll help build knowledge to inform future services for young people impacted by commercial sexual exploitation, in San Francisco and beyond.

Let's make history!

FAM caregivers fall into two categories:

Primary caregivers are the family with whom a youth will primarily live. These caregivers are approved foster families (called resource families in California) and will be the primary people responsible for caring for the FAM youth in their home.  FAM primary caregivers are paid by the county, with extra financial support available through FAM, and are asked to have only one youth in foster care living with them at a time (with some exceptions).  As part of FAM, they have access to much more support than is traditionally available to caregivers in the foster care system. This includes the support of secondary caregivers!

Secondary caregivers are also approved foster families but do NOT have any youth formally placed with them to live. Instead, secondary caregivers spend time with a FAM youth and their primary caregiver(s) at least once a week through meals, activities, or whatever else feels right for them.  Secondary caregivers also keep a bedroom available for the youth to stay at for short periods of time (e.g. a sleepover or weekend) and receive a stipend through FAM. You might think of secondary caregivers as a mentor, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, extended family or a family friend - because youth and families in foster care deserve flexibility and familiarity.

Youth in FAM homes have access to:

  • A safe, family-based home with a “primary caregiver:” a family who is highly trained, well-supported, and generally caring for no other youth in foster care
  • A “secondary caregiver” who offers extra support and who youth can stay with for short periods - this is unique to FAM!
  • High-quality case management and specialized mental health care
  • Permanency planning and relationship support
  • Support connecting with education and extracurricular activities
  • Opportunities to build relationships with the important people in their lives (e.g. biological/extended/chosen family)
  • Continued support and access to services even when not at home, and a warm welcome back to the same home when they’re ready

FAM resource families (both primary and secondary caregivers) have access to:

  • Quality initial and ongoing training on relevant topics, up to the highest level of foster care: Intensive Services Foster Care
  • Shared caregiving through the partnership between primary and secondary caregivers - a first for California’s Foster Care system!
  • Supplemental funding beyond the foster care rate (including a stipend for secondary caregivers, who wouldn’t otherwise receive a foster care rate)
  • Opportunities to build a caregiving support system through learning and consultation groups
  • Family therapy, as needed
  • Support navigating relationships with youth's biological family or other important people in their lives
  • Support if and when youth transition out of their home

FAM operates under the following philosophical principles: 

  • Lifting youth voice and choice: including youth in decisions about their family and future
  • Focusing on strengths: recognizing people are more than the trauma they may have experienced
  • Harm reduction: a focus on reducing risks while recognizing that change takes time
  • Healthy, lifelong relationships and connections to family, friends, community
  • Wellbeing and belonging: a sense of feeling like the needs of your whole self are being met
  • Education and extracurricular activities on youth’s own terms
  • Radical inclusivity with regard to race, gender and sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, and more

Here's how we visualize our model:

FAM Model