Fostering a child can be an incredibly rewarding but sometimes challenging experience. You become responsible for your foster child’s wellbeing and will need to be prepared to provide adequate support. However, you also have the opportunity to provide that child with a safe and loving space to grow until they are adopted.
If you’re wondering how to become a foster parent in Texas, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve outlined the steps for this process and helpful resources you can turn to if you have additional questions.
How to Become a Foster Parent in Texas
Learning how to become a foster parent in Texas is a unique experience for every individual. Your personal experience may vary slightly depending on the foster care organization you work with. However, we’ve outlined a few of the general steps that most individuals must take to foster a child.
1. Review Qualifications
Before you begin, it’s important to make sure that you are eligible to foster a child in Texas. To become a foster parent in Texas, you’ll need to:
- Be 21 years or older*
- Be employed or retired
- Pass a background screening
- Maintain financial stability
- Undergo a home study
*Note: Some adoption or foster-to-adopt agencies may have a unique age requirement. For example, A World For Children requires that foster parents be 24 years or older to apply.
Throughout the process, you’ll need to provide additional information or documentation, including training certifications. Once you’ve determined that you are eligible to become a foster parent in Texas, you can begin the application process.
2. Complete Application
Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you can submit an application to become a foster parent. During this stage, you’ll want to contact local foster care agencies to learn exactly how the application process works and what information is required. Some locations may also have a pre-application process that they ask foster parents to complete to ensure that they are eligible.
3. Attend Training
In addition to completing an application, you are required to complete training and pass a background screening. There are three primary types of training:
- Child Welfare Training: This course teaches basic health and safety instruction along with guidance for emotional support. You must take this course before applying or within 30 days after receiving approval.
- CPR/First Aid Training: The purpose of this training is to ensure that you are equipped with lifesaving skills in preparation for emergencies.
- Domestic Violence Training: This course teaches individuals how to identify and respond to domestic violence or abuse.
4. Meet with a Foster Care Specialist
Next, you’ll need to schedule a meeting with a foster care specialist. Depending on your local agencies, you may have already connected with one during the application process.
At this time, you’ll learn about the process of becoming a foster parent and what to expect in terms of licensing requirements. You will also be able to ask any remaining questions that you may have. This is certainly not an exhaustive list but should give you a good idea of what to expect.
5. Undergo a Home Study
After you meet with a foster care specialist, your home will be visited by a licensed professional who is referred to as a home study worker. The purpose of this visit is to assess how well your home meets Texas safety and parenting guidelines. If you receive approval, you will be given a foster care license to take to court where a judge will give final approval. From there, you’ll be contacted when a child is in need of a foster home.
Resources for Becoming a Foster Parent
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the foster care process. Luckily, there are quite a few resources that you can turn to when questions or concerns arise.
One helpful resource when learning how to become a foster parent is A World For Children (AWFC). As a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency, AWFC is able to provide foster and foster-to-adopt services. Our foster care specialists can walk you through the process, answer questions, and address any concerns that arise along the way.
For further information on becoming a foster parent, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) can be a useful guide. The DFPS provides data regarding current foster care status, how to become a foster parent, and more.
The Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) is another wonderful resource for those learning how to foster a child in Texas. They provide a step-by-step guide to becoming a foster parent and can answer questions such as, “How much does it cost to foster a child in Texas?” or “How old do you have to be to foster a child in Texas?”. You also can foster or adopt a child directly through TARE.
Become a Foster Parent with AWFC
The foster care specialists at AWFC are ready to help you become a foster parent. We’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure you meet the requirements and are fully prepared for this responsibility. Once a child has been placed in your home, we’ll continue to assist you with the appropriate treatment for your foster child so you can ensure that they are given the utmost care.
Contact us today at 512-218-4400 or visit one of our Texas locations to meet with a specialist and begin the process of becoming a foster parent!