Making the decision to become a foster parent is a wonderful and brave thing to do because you are opening up your home and investing your time and love into a child that you have to build a relationship with from scratch which is both hard work and very rewarding.
To ensure that the children go to suitable, loving homes there are some steps that you have to take to prove that you are the right fit. Keep in mind that becoming a foster parent is a process and it will not happen overnight, but it will be more than worth the wait!
In the state of Texas, the steps that you are required to go through can take up to three months to complete which is not that long considering the impact that it will have on your and others’ lives once it has been completed.
In this guide, we will talk about how to become a foster parent in Texas so that we cover all of the aspects that you can prepare for to make the process run as smoothly as possible.
The first thing that you should do in this process is to find out that you have the qualifications and meet the requirements of a foster parent.
In Texas, the requirements are that you need to be at least 21 years of age, are either employed or retired, are financially stable. Being emotionally and physically healthy is another important requirement that you must meet.
You must also pass a background check and home study. The background check will make sure that you have no history of breaking the law and abuse of a child or adult. If you do have a criminal history, you need to have proof of rehabilitation.
The home study will check to see if your home is suitable for a child which will take into account the safety of interior and exterior aspects. They will want to see a home that is clean, safe, and big enough for all occupants.
If you meet all of these requirements, then you will need to move on to the next phase which is the verification process.
This consists of the application and the background check which are the parts of this overall process that can take up to three months, but this is because they must be thorough to ensure the safety of the child.
For the application itself, you should call around the local foster care agencies so that they can talk you through their specific application process.
Sometimes they will email you a digital copy for you to fill out before bringing it to them, they will also state what other documents they will need from you to move on to the next phase.
The next thing you must do is learn as much as you can about childcare and this can be done through the training and orientation classes that the foster care organization will provide for you.
It is required in Texas that you attend them and if you don’t, you won’t be able to move on with the procedure. In these classes, the training they will cover is:
- Child Welfare teaches you about basic health and safety as well as how to be emotionally supportive, which is what a lot of foster children will need from you when they make the adjustment into your family. This course must be completed within the first 30 days of being approved.
- Domestic Violence is another course that you will do that will teach you how to see the signs of domestic violence and what the correct way to respond to it is.
- CPR/First Aid will teach you how to save a life, what to do in order to prepare for emergencies and how to navigate the situation
Meeting with a Specialist
After you have attended the training and have successfully completed it all, you are now required to meet up with a foster care specialist who will talk you through the licensing agreements as well as the overall process of becoming a foster parent.
This stage is dependent on the foster care organization that you have gone with. It is an incredibly helpful time to ask as many questions as you need with the faith that you will be given correct, informed answers.
It is time for the organization to check out your home by a home study worker who is a licensed professional who knows exactly what to look for.
The Texas safety and parenting guidelines must be met in this stage and if they are, you will be given a foster care license that you must take to court where you will be given the final stamp of approval from a judge.
During this time, you will also likely be sat down and asked questions regarding your physical environment, finances, discipline practices, and marital relationships, even though it has already been covered in the application process, sometimes they will still go over it with you to make a final check.
In this stage, your caseworker will ask you what type of child or children you are willing to accept into your home. This includes how many children, what ages, behaviors, and gender among some other things.
Once both of you have come up with a clear profile, it will be added to the organizations’ records so that they can refer to it when they have children looking for homes.
The final stage of the process is when the organization finds a child that fits your requirements and vice versa so that the correct match is made.
You should put into practice some of the ways that you can make the adjustment for the foster child easier, this would have been taught to you during the courses earlier.
This means having all the basics ready for the child which includes having some nice clothes ready that are in the right size, personal care items such as a toothbrush, supplies for school, and some tasty food.
Make it clear from the get-go that you are there to provide for them and to give them a comfortable, happy home that they likely haven’t had for a while if ever.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Expected of Me as A Foster Parent?
This is dependent on the needs of each individual child but generally, you are expected to provide a safe, loving, and nurturing home.
It’s also important that the home has structure and boundaries as this is just as beneficial for the child because it helps them prepare for society when they get older.
Does The Child See Their Birth Parents?
This is also dependent on each child’s circumstances, but most children have a visitation with their birth families if the parental rights have not been removed.
To summarize, how to become a foster parent in Texas is challenging in the way that you have to go through some extensive background checks and training but it’s the way it should be so that only the children go to the best homes.
You are given sufficient support and guidance by the organization throughout the whole process so don’t worry if it still sounds a bit daunting.
When you are paired with your foster child, you will be thankful that you went through the process, and three months of applications and courses is a small price to pay for lifelong memories.