BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT PROCESS | application, classes, home study, and more!
How to Become a Foster Parent in Texas
A foster parent is someone who cares for a child when the state has removed that child from their natural family for some reason. Being a foster parent is incredibly rewarding. If you can afford supporting one or more children, and you can meet the basic requirements, you could become a foster parent. If you are interested, read this article to learn about becoming a foster parent in Texas.
Understanding the Role of a Foster Parent
Think about the foster care system and the needs of the children.In Texas, as well as the rest of the country, the foster care system works to provide temporary homes for children who have been removed from their families due to abusive or neglectful situations.Children in the foster care system have often suffered from severe abuse or neglect and have not experienced a nurturing and stable environment.This can often lead the children to develop physical and/or mental health problems.Foster care should provide these children with a positive experience and a healing process.
Evaluate the costs associated with being a foster parent.Once you are certified as a foster parent in Texas, the State will give you a monthly stipend for certain expenses associated with caring for a foster child.In Texas, your monthly stipend could range anywhere from around 0 to around ,760 depending on the needs of the foster children and how many foster children you have.However, before you are certified, you will be required to pay for certain expenses associated with applying to become a foster parent.
- For example, you will be required to pay for your medical checkup and TB testing, CPR and first aid certification, and criminal background check. In addition, you will have to pay for your travel expenses associated with getting to all of the various meetings and trainings.
Appreciate the responsibilities of being a foster parent.Before becoming a foster parent, you need to realize the responsibilities of being one. Those responsibilities include:
- Providing daily care for children;
- Advocating for children in schools and communities;
- Keeping caseworkers informed of the child's progress and problems;
- Making efforts to reunify the child with their parents;
- Providing the child with a positive role model; and
- Helping children learn life lessons.
Recognize the role of the state in foster parenting.As a foster parent, you will be required to open up your home and your personal life to the state of Texas. At various times, both before and after you are certified as a foster parent, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ("DFPS") and other agencies may require you to provide information to them. This often includes reports about the foster children you will be taking care of and working with caseworkers to help reunite the children with their biological parents.
Applying to Become a Foster Parent
Meet the basic requirements of being a foster parent.If you want to be a foster parent, you will have to meet certain basic requirements in order to be accepted.The following are Texas' basic requirements you will need to meet:
- Be at least 21 years old;
- Have adequate sleeping space;
- Agree to discipline children nonphysically;
- Vaccinate all pets; and
- Complete 20 hours of training every year.
Contact your local office of DFPS.If you meet the minimum requirements, contact DFPS and receive information about their informational meetings. This informational meeting is the first required step in becoming a foster parent.If you do not know where your local office is or when meetings are, look . There you will find multiple contacts who can give you all of the information you need.
Attend the informational meeting.This meeting will introduce you to the scope and basic requirements of being a foster parent in Texas. At this meeting you will be encouraged to ask questions and learn as much as possible about the Texas foster care system.If you need information about when and where meetings take place, look .
Meet with DFPS and complete an application.Once you have attended the informational meeting, you will be invited to meet with DFPS staff in order to complete and submit an application.This application will be filled out in person and the DFPS staff will be there to help you.
- You will need to divulge information about your lifestyle and background.
- In addition, you will be required to give a number of references, including both relatives and non-relatives.
- If necessary, you will need to submit proof of your marriage or divorce.
Submit to a criminal background check.Once you have completed the application, you will be required to sign certain forms that will allow DFPS to investigate your criminal history, which will include any history abuse or neglect.
Earn and maintain CPR and first aid certification.All foster parents are required to obtain and maintain both CPR and first aid certification.
Complete your required medical check and TB testing.In addition to everything else, you will need to get a physical exam, including a tuberculosis test.This testing is to ensure you are physically and mentally able to care for the children that will be placed in your home.
Get selected by DFPS to move forward.Once you have completed all of the requirements, DFPS staff will look through your application package. They will determine whether you meet the minimum requirements necessary to become a foster parent.If you do, you will be contacted with the good news and you will be given the opportunity to move forward in the process.
Preparing to Become a Foster Parent
Attend Parent Resource Information Development Education ("PRIDE") training.Once you have been selected, you will have to be trained. Your training will start with a 35-hour competency-based training program called PRIDE training. The training classes are taught by Child Protective Services staff and real foster parents.The classes will provide you, the prospective foster parent, with information about caring for foster children.Specifically, you will discuss child attachment, loss and grief, discipline and behavior intervention, effects of abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, working with the child welfare system, and the family effects of fostering a child.
Complete universal precautions training.This training will discuss the approaches to infection control to treat all human blood and bodily fluids.This includes providing a basic understanding of bloodborne, common modes of their transmission, and methods of transmission.
Participate in psychotropic medication training.This training will discuss the safe and effective use of psychotropic medications by children.In order to be successful, you will need to complete the training, get at least 70% of the questions right on your post-training test, print the certificate you receive, and provide it to DFPS.
Submit to a family home study.The last step in training will be a home study.A caseworker will visit your home to discuss your personal history, family interests, childcare experiences, the types of children you would fit in with, and your strengths and skills.In addition, the caseworker will check your home to make sure it meets the requirements about comfort and safety (e.g., adequate bedroom space and safety precautions for younger children).
Welcoming Your Foster Child
Discuss the process with your placement coordinator.Once you complete training, you will begin the process of getting children placed into your home.To begin, a placement coordinator will visit and provide you with information about different children.At this stage you should feel free to ask questions and voice your concerns.Placement decisions will be based on:
- The child's strengths and needs;
- The skills you have as a foster parent; and
- The child's prospects for permanency with family placements.
Accept a child into your home.Once a child is found that fits in with your situation, they will be placed in your home. The child will be brought to your home and you will be responsible for them at that point.
Support the child for as long as necessary.Once the child is in your home, you have the responsibility to care for that child for an indeterminate amount of time. Be sure you understand what needs to be done if you do things with the child like go on vacation. If you have any questions or concerns while the child is in your home, look for great resources and information. Do not forget to stay in contact with DFPS staff and be sure to fill out any and all required forms.
- For example, you may be required to keep records of the money you spend on the child and information about any traveling you may do with the child.
QuestionWill I have difficulty adopting if I am an atheist?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou shouldn't. There are no religious requirements for adoption.Thanks!
QuestionI am recently divorced. Are singles considered to be foster parents?Top AnswererYes. You will be evaluated on many different aspects. Financial stability, emotional stability, maturity, ability to give care, your daily and weekly schedule, ability to provide a safe and stable home, ability to deal with emotional stress in the child, etc. The idea that only couples can adopt has long been abandoned, though you may still find it to be a concern. They will ask questions about how you will act if you meet a new partner. Are you able to give up a chance of love if you feel your new partner is not a good match with your adopted child?Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the difference between foster to foster, and foster to adopt?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFoster to adopt means you are adopting that foster child, as opposed to just fostering him/her.Thanks!
QuestionCan I live in an apartment and still foster?Top AnswererOf course. The agency will assess whether you are able to provide for the child placed in your care. If you have the financial means, are mature enough to take care of a child, and have the physical space to accommodate a child, then sure, why not.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the cut off age for fostering? I am 61, am I too old?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you are not too old. My family friend is in her early 60s and fostered a sibling pair in east Texas. As long as you are physically able to do the requirements of childcare and the home study you should be okay.Thanks!
How can I become a foster parent if I am married and my spouse doesn't want to go through the training?
Are there regulations on what information on a background check will cause a denial to become a foster parent?
Do you still get a stipend check after you adopt?
How can I become a foster to adopt in a different Texas town than I live in?
Is it still possible to foster a child or qualify for adoption if I have a record of negligence with CPS?
Video: 5 Things No One Tells You About Becoming a Foster Parent
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