Becoming a foster parent is truly a life-changing decision. Considering whether to open your home and heart to children who have experienced hurt and trauma will likely leave you with some unanswered questions. At Upbring, we want you to feel comfortable asking whatever comes to mind. We are here to address any uncertainties you may have during your foster care journey.
Sometimes there are so many questions, you might not know where to start. We’ve found that it’s best to begin with the basics. Here are answers to some common questions asked by people who are just beginning to learn about the foster care system.
Why are children in foster care?
There are several reasons why children enter the foster care system, but at the most fundamental level, children enter the foster care system because they or their families are experiencing extreme turmoil. Serious cases may include one or more of the following: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, incarceration of the parent, or abandonment. These circumstances make it unsafe for the child to remain in their biological home.
How does a child enter the foster care system?
When there are suspicions or allegations of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation, reports or referrals are made to the Statewide Abuse/Neglect Hotline online or by calling (800) 252-5400. Once reported, intake specialists route the call to the appropriate department (Child Protective Services (CPS), Adult Protective Services (APS), Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) or Child Care Licensing (CCL). The department then assesses the safety of the children or adults. If it is determined that children are in immediate danger, CPS is notified that day and an alternative location with relatives is sought. In the event no suitable relative is available, Foster in Texas is contacted for available foster homes.
How long does a child usually stay in foster care?
The length of stay varies with each family and depends on the child’s family situation, the child’s needs, and your family’s goals and capacities. An average stay could be six months to one year, though a child’s stay in your home could also range from one year to much longer. By design, foster care is meant to be a temporary living situation until the child is either able to be reunited with their biological family or adopted.
Why are some children reunited with their biological families?
The primary goal for CPS is to reunite children with their biological families after the families can correct the issues that resulted in the removal. What this means is that while the child is in foster care, CPS offers services and creates plans for the biological family to regain custody of their children. Ultimately, if the biological family complies with all terms of the plan and is involved in regaining full custody, the children will be returned.
How long will it take to become certified and have a child placed in my home?
The timeline can vary, but the average is 90 days. During this time, a foster child’s needs and a foster family’s strengths are carefully considered. The process may be expedited if you’re willing to care for a wider age range of children (especially from 10 to 18 years of age), a sibling group of three or more children, or children with disabilities or special needs.
If the question you’re asking today is, “How do I become a foster parent in Texas?” we can help with that, too! Visit Upring.org/FosterInfo for more frequently asked questions, requirements, and an interest form that will help us make sure we can help you take the best first steps on your journey.