Requirements for Foster Families (State of Texas)
The prospective foster parents may be single or married and must:
• Be at least 23 years of age, financially stable, and responsible mature adults,
• Complete an application (staff will assist you, if you prefer),
• Share information regarding their background and lifestyle,
• Provide relative and non-relative references,
• Show proof of marriage and/or divorce (if applicable),
• Agree to a home study which includes visits with all household members,
• Allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household, and
• Attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children.
The training provides an opportunity for the family and DFPS to assess whether foster care or adoption is best for the family. The family may withdraw from the meetings at any time. There is no charge for the meetings. Foster/adoptive parents generally train together.
Additional Foster Care Requirements
In addition to the basic requirements, foster parents must:
• Have adequate sleeping space.
• Allow no more than 6 children in the home including your own children or children for whom you provide day care.
• Agree to a nonphysical discipline policy.
• Permit fire, health and safety inspections of the home.
• Vaccinate all pets.
• Obtain and maintain CPR/First Aid Certification.
• Obtain TB testing as required by the local Health Department for household members.
• Attend 20 hours or more of training each year.
Responsibilities of Foster Families
• Provide daily care and nurturing of children in foster care;
• Advocate for children in their schools and communities;
• Inform the children's caseworkers about adjustments to the home, school, and community, as well as any problems that may arise, including any serious illnesses, accidents, or serious occurrences involving the foster children or their own families;
• Make efforts as team members with children's caseworkers towards reunifying children with their birth families;
• Provide a positive role model to birth families and
• Help children learn life skills.
Can foster families adopt?
Yes! Many families are interested in both fostering and adopting. They agree with the agency that the children's needs come first. In most cases, this means helping prepare children for reunification with their birth family, mentoring the birth parents, or working toward a relative or kinship placement.
When termination of parental rights is in the children's best interest and adoption is their plan, then foster parents who have cared for the children will be given the opportunity to adopt. Dual certification of parents to both foster and adopt speeds up the placement process, reduces the number of moves a child makes, and allows relationships to evolve with the initial placement process. Nearly half the adoptions of children in DFPS foster care are by their foster families.
Steps to Become an Adoptive Parent
You will need to attend an information meeting in your area where you can discuss the scope and requirements of being an adoptive parent.
You will get basic information and questions are welcome. Our offices in Ft. Worth, Houston and Beaumont will furnish you with this information.
Call our toll-free 855-948-0500.
Preparation and Selection
If you can meet the basic requirements, you are invited to speak with TGIF staff to decide if fostering or adopting is right for you and your family. You will also be assessed by our staff. This process furnishes you with information about DFPS and the children who come into the foster care system.
Pre-service training is required for all prospective foster and adoptive parents. TGIF uses Parent Resource Information Development Education (PRIDE) as its pre-service training curriculum. All prospective foster and adoptive parents must participate to learn more about parenting children who have been abused and neglected and the child welfare system.
You will attend training (PRIDE) at TGIF to learn more about the children available through DFPS and to evaluate your strengths in parenting children. The classes also boost your knowledge and confidence to meet the challenge of taking children into your home and to be sure you are ready to follow through on the commitment.
What is PRIDE?
PRIDE is a competency-based training program that provides prospective foster families with knowledge and information on caring for children in the child welfare system. PRIDE covers topics such as child attachment, loss and grief, discipline and behavior intervention, effects of abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, working with the child welfare system, and the effects of fostering and adopting on the family.
Additional Training Requirements
The state minimum standards require that prospective foster families also complete the following trainings or certifications, which are not part of the PRIDE curriculum:
• Universal precautions training
• Psychotropic medication training
• Certification in both First Aid and infant/child/adult CPR
State minimum standards also require that verified foster homes receive annual in-service training. Depending on the number of foster parents and the needs of the children in a foster home, the annual training requirements range from 20 hours per family to 30 hours per foster parent.
Family Home Study
A caseworker will visit you in your home. The purpose is to discuss your personal history, family interests and lifestyle, childcare experiences, the types of children you feel would best fit in your home, and your strengths and skills in meeting the children's needs.