Strengthening VC Families, an initiative of Ventura County Children and Family Services, is asking for families to help children in need by providing safe Emergency Shelter Homes (ESH) for children and youth who need an immediate place to go.

The ESH program provides children, youth, and families with a foundation of respect and support, from special people who can support children and youth by providing a safe place to stay, while birth families receive support so that they can reunify with their children as soon as it is possible.

“We all know the importance of a safe and loving home”, said Arturo Vargas, Manager of Resource Family Approval (RFA). “Folks who step up to offer an emergency shelter home understand how food, warm hearts, and loving compassion heals during times of trauma.

All of us at Children and Family Services — through Strengthening VC Families — know that with our need of emergency shelter homes–this is an important community ask.” “It’s a big ask” but it’s an important ask.

We need families to serve as emergency shelter homes for children and youth who need immediate, short-term care ranging anywhere from 1-60 days. There is compensation for this important work.

The unique demands of being an ESH require a special set of skills and circumstances that include patience, consistency, and a commitment to providing a safe and loving environment for children and youth who have experienced trauma.

Important qualifications for becoming an Emergency Shelter Home:

  • Complete the Resource Family training program, learning about children and youth in trauma.
  • Be empathetic and supportive to both birth parents and the extended family of a child.
  • Be available 24/7 for placement referrals.
  • Have experience parenting children.
  • Have a stable, nurturing home.
  • Own reliable transportation.
  • Have good verbal and written communication skills, bilingual is a plus.
  • Be a member of the professional team of support available to you.
  • Must reside within Ventura County.

“Emergency Shelter Homes provide a safe environment for our children at such a critical time in their lives and this is a very meaningful way to step up and help our community, help our families, and help our children and youth,” said Jaci Johnson, Program Coordinator III in Recruitment at Ventura County Children and Family Services.

If you are interested in helping children and youth in need, please call 805-654-3220 or go to to learn more.

The County of Ventura Human Services Agency, Children and Family Services (CFS) vision is to offer support, hope and opportunity to families and children in need. It is through this vision we have developed Strengthening VC Families approach.

The goal of helping children and youth in Ventura County is to support the whole child, whole family, and whole community through integration and alignment of services. This goal is achieved by increasing preventative work to keep families together, aligning practices throughout the continuum of health and human services, and active engagement with diverse community partners to strengthen families together.