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How to Become A Foster Parent in Texas

Should I Become a Foster Parent in Texas?

Foster parents play an important role in the care and support of at-risk children all over Texas. There are various reasons why some children might need foster support. The primary cause is often the biological parents’ inability to provide for the needs of their children due to poverty, drug abuse problems, mental or physical health issues of their own, homelessness, chronic unemployment, etc.

For such children, the foster system tries to provide an enabling and loving environment by setting them up with qualified foster parents. Foster care can be of a variety of types such as kinship support or adoption, temporary care, conventional foster support, emergency shelter and medical help, etc.  

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services oversees the foster care system in the state. If you are interested in taking a foster child under your wing, then the information provided in this guide will help you.   

Education

No obligatory requirement

Requirements

At least 21 or older; financial stability; responsible adult; adequate home.

License/Certification

CPR/First Aid Certification (Mandatory)

 

Experience/Training

Previous foster parenting experience is not a binding requirement but is considered a positive. Training programs (PRIDE) managed by the TDFPS are available.

 

Key Skills and Abilities

Active listening, clear communication, self-evaluation, open-mindedness, patience, behavioral management, ability to deal with new and unexpected challenges, persistence, calmness under pressure.

 Source: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS)

Being able to listen with empathy and communicate well at all times is the most important skill that any good foster parent must have. As a caregiver for a foster kid, you will need to maintain proper communication with different parties such as the child’s biological family, school staff, relevant foster agency and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Therefore, excellent communication ability is a must. Other than that, you must be a self-aware, financially independent, patient, open-minded and persistent individual.

Steps to Become a Foster Parent in Texas

To become a foster parent in Texas, you must follow the procedure outlined below.

  1. Information Meeting

The TDFPS regularly conducts information meetings with prospective foster parents where they are explained the requirements and other relevant information. These requirements are as follows.

  • You must be at least 21.
  • You have to be a responsible adult and financially independent.
  • Must share complete information about your lifestyle and background.
  • Must complete an application. Assistance will be provided by the TDFPS staff.
  • Should be willing to allow a home evaluation which will include meetings with each member of the household.
  • Undergo a detailed background investigation.
  • Commit to attending free-of-cost training programs (at least 20 hours annually) to understand the problems of neglected and abused children.
  • Must have enough sleeping space for all children (including your own) in the house.
  • Accept and adopt a non-physical discipline approach.
  • Should not have more than 6 children in the home. This includes your own kids and the foster children under your guardianship.
  • Allow for health, fire and safety inspections of your home.
  • All pets around the place must be properly vaccinated.
  • Obtain First Aid and CPR Certifications.
  • Undergo TB testing as mandated by your local health department for all members of the household.
  1. Preparation and Selection

Once you fulfill the requirements explained in the previous step, you will be invited for meetings with the TDFPS staff. The possibilities of fostering a child and other related matters will be discussed in detail.

  1. Training

The TDFPS runs a training setup known as PRIDE (Parent Resource Information Development Education) for people who want to become foster parents. This will help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to raising children.

PRIDE is a 35-hour training program that focuses on the inherent competencies of a prospective foster parent. It is conducted by an experienced adoptive/foster parent along with an agency staff member. Other training requirements include:

  • Universal precautions.
  • Psychotropic medication.
  1. Family Home Evaluation   

A detailed study of your home and everyone already in it will be carried out to decide if you have what it takes to become a foster parent.

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