What You Need To Know About Becoming A Foster Parent In Texas
If you are considering becoming a foster parent in Texas, you likely have a long list of questions. You may be wondering what the requirements are, whether you meet certain criteria, and what training you have to complete. You might also have concerns about the financial aspects of your responsibilities as a foster parent.
Becoming a foster parent can be exciting, stressful, and incredibly rewarding. For you and the child you foster to have the best experience, it is wise to inform yourself as much as possible about being a foster parent. This article will help you understand more about the fostering process in Texas, including:
- The training, screening, environment, and age requirements to become a foster parent.
- Whether you can still become a foster parent if you don’t fit into the traditional nuclear family script, or if you have a criminal record.
- What responsibilities you have to the child or children who are in your care.
What Training And Preparation Are Required For Prospective Foster Parents In Texas?
As a prospective foster parent in Texas, you must participate in state-regulated training through a licensed child placement agency in order to become a certified foster parent. This process generally takes about three months. Beyond the initial classroom training, in-home visits by a worker from the child placement agency will take place, as well as, conversations with references who can speak on your behalf and offer a positive referral.
Can Individuals Or Couples With Different Sexual Orientations Become Foster Parents In Texas?
If you are an individual or couple with a different sexual orientation, you can absolutely become a foster parent. Many children in foster care are of a different sexual orientation as well, and they will do best if placed with families and caregivers who can accept them for who they are.
What Types Of Background Checks And Screenings Are Performed On Potential Foster Parents?
Foster parents participate in an FBI fingerprint background check to screen for potential arrests and convictions for crimes that may present a danger to a child in care. However, it is important to note that a criminal history does not automatically mean you cannot be a foster parent! It is best to talk to a licensed child placement agency who can evaluate your situation on a case-by-case basis.
Is There An Age Requirement For Me To Be A Foster Parent In Texas?
You must be at least 21 years of age to be a foster parent in Texas.
What Financial Considerations Should I Be Aware Of As A Prospective Foster Parent?
The licensing process to be a foster parent is very low cost. Usually, you will only pay a minimal cost for fingerprints or basic home accommodations. The most significant investment is in the time you will spend on training and the commitment to the children you will serve.
Can I Specify The Age And Gender Of The Child I Am Willing To Foster?
You can specify the age or gender of the child you would like to foster. It is best if you have a very broad range, but the state of Texas understands that family dynamics are personal and certain children will do best in specific homes.
What Are My Responsibilities And Obligations Towards The Children Placed In My Care?
As a foster parent, you will provide for the daily care and support of the children in your home. This means you are responsible for obtaining medical care, enrolling the children in school, participating in therapy and mental health treatment, and any other needs a child may have.
Are There Specific Requirements For The Home Environment Where Foster Children Will Be Placed?
Your home needs to be safe and appropriate, and foster children will need a dedicated bedroom. The bedroom can be shared with other children in the home. Beyond that, the requirements are very basic.
As A Foster Parent, Do I Need To Maintain Contact And Relationships With The Child’s Birth Family?
Yes, it is the hope that you will maintain a relationship with the child’s birth family. To be a successful system, the foster care system needs to work with the children and their caregivers to achieve permanency and reunification with the child’s family. This may mean living with other relatives, returning to the parents, or living with non-relatives in their community.
Children deserve to maintain these connections even when they are in foster care, so it is important that, as a foster parent, you keep the doors of communication open. Of course, you still can and should take any steps necessary to keep yourself and the children you are caring for safe in any environment.
Are There Cultural Or Diversity Considerations In Foster Parenting?
Yes, children in care are entitled to observe and practice their own cultural beliefs. These may be different from yours, and you and your family may have to open your minds to alternative beliefs or traditions. Oftentimes, foster families report that this is a positive experience because it opens their own family up to learning and observing new things!
For more information on the Requirements For Foster Parents In Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (903) 964-1122 today.