You qualify to apply for foster care placement if you:

  • Are single or married (if married, for a minimum of two years).
  • Retired or employed.
  • Are 21 years of age or older.
  • Are emotionally and physically healthy.
  • Have a regular source of income (cannot be dependent on the foster care payment for expenses, nor can you be on government assistance).
  • Have no criminal history, or have proof of rehabilitation.
  • Do not have a history of abusing a child or another adult.

Characteristics of successful foster families:

  • A strong desire to help children.
  • Open-minded and welcoming to children of all age groups.
  • Flexible with the children and the treatment team.
  • Can cope with challenging behaviors.
  • Value diversity and support children’s cultural needs.
  • Open to children who have experienced trauma.

The process for becoming a foster parent

Foster In Texas (FIT) works with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to find loving families for thousands of children each year. These children tend to be school-age or older and are very desirous of a forever family.

Verification process overview:

  • Completed in three months on average.
  • Application and background check.
  • Orientation meeting.
  • STAR pre-service training.
  • CPR and first aid training.
  • SMART behavioral intervention training.
  • Psychotropic medications and medications administration training.
  • A home screening/study and safety inspection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a child enter the foster care system?

When there are suspicions or allegations of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation reports/referrals are made to the Statewide Abuse/Neglect Hotline online or by calling (800) 252-5400.

  • Once the report is made, intake specialists route the call to the appropriate department (i.e. Child Protective Services (CPS), Adult Protective Services (APS), Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) or Child Care Licensing (CCL). Those departments then make determinations on the safety of the children or adults.
  • If it is determined that a child is in immediate danger, CPS is notified that day and an alternative location with relatives is sought. In the event, no suitable relative is available, Upbring Foster in Texas will be contacted for available foster homes.
  • It is important to remember that the primary goal for Child Protective Services is Family Reunification. So, 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 and parents will be reunited.
How long does a child usually stay in foster care?

The length of stay depends on the child’s needs and your family’s goals and availability to help. An average stay is often six months to one year. However, a child’s stay in your home could also range from one year to much longer.

May I request an age and gender of the child I foster?

Yes. You are encouraged to consider the children that you feel you could best foster. You may also select the age range, gender, and types of behaviors that you feel most comfortable parenting. A narrow range will, however, reduce the likelihood of a child being placed in your home quickly.

How long will it take to get certified and have a child placed in my home?

The timeline can vary, but the average is 90 days. During this time, the child’s needs and the foster family’s strengths are carefully considered. The process may be expedited if you’re willing to care for the following groups:

  • A wider age range of children (especially from 10 to 18 years of age).
  • A sibling group of three or more children.
  • Children with disabilities and special needs.
Is financial assistance available?

While foster care is not meant to be a profitable experience, there is a daily reimbursement rate for each day the child is in your home. The reimbursement assists with natural expenses of having an additional child in your home, such as clothes and food. It is also meant to allow the child to participate in extra-curricular activities such sports, music, dance, etc.

Daily Reimbursement: The reimbursement rate depends on the needs of the child, but is a minimum of $22.15 per day and is considered non-taxable income.

Clothing Reimbursement: Foster In Texas may offer up to an additional $150.00 per child for the reimbursement of clothing. This is available if the child is initially entering foster care and comes with very little clothing. A $50.00 reimbursement is available in the first 14 days; an additional $100.00 is available after 14 days.

Respite Care: Foster In Texas also offers respite care to foster parents. Foster parents work hard. Like parents everywhere, foster parents also need an occasional break to remain fresh enough to do this important work. We provide each family a “respite checking account” and deposit funds into it monthly–$40 for the first child and $30 for each additional child. Foster families pay respite providers out of this account. Respite providers are chosen by each family and must clear a criminal background check.

Healthcare: All children in foster care receive health coverage and will not need to be added to your personal insurance policies. Coverage is provided by Star Health through the Superior Health Network. Infants and toddlers can also qualify for WIC assistance.

Why foster through Upbring Foster In Texas?

Upbring Foster In Texas cares for hundreds of foster children each day through its award-winning foster care program.

Upbring benefits

  • Knowledgeable, effective caseworkers.
  • A support network available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergency consultation and services.
  • A local foster care office that conducts its own events and support groups–holding meetings, advocacy groups, “breakfast clubs,” etc.
  • Extensive training and resources are available to ensure a positive, rewarding experience.
  • Foster In Texas offers online training, which allows foster parents to complete some of the annual training requirements from home.
  • Working with a nonprofit organization involved in foster care since 1996, Upbring has developed effective partnerships statewide and garnered the following awards:
  • Caseworker of the Year.
  • Child-Placing Agency of the Year (3 times).
  • Foster Parent of the Year (2 times).
  • National Foster Family of the Year.
  • Therapeutic Foster Family of the Year.
  • Program Administrator of the Year.
Is adoption an option?

Yes, adopting a child through the Foster In Texas program is an option. While foster-to-adopt may be faster than traditional adoptions for infants and very young children or babies, there is no guarantee a child you foster will be available for adoption. Child Protective Services (CPS) works with the parents first to help them resolve any issues that are considered unsafe for the child. If the goals are met and the parents are able to provide a safe home, the child is reunited. In cases where it seems like reunited the child with the parents is not promising, CPS will first look for relatives available to care for the child. CPS will always prefer to place the child with relatives before non-relatives.

If the parents are not progressing and there are no suitable relatives, parental rights may be terminated. Once parental rights have been terminated, the child is considered available for adoption, and the current foster parents would have the option of adopting the child.

 

What are the children in foster care like?

In most ways, children in foster care are like children who are not in foster care. They learn something new every day as they grow. They like to play with games and toys. They use their imagination and like to spend time with friends their age. And just like all kids, they thrive with the love and stability a permanent home provides. One key difference is that all children in foster care have experienced some kind of trauma. Severe trauma may cause developmental delays, emotional disturbances and/or challenging behavior patterns. This is because the children have lived with serious disruptions within their biological family. The good news is that as a foster parent, you have the opportunity to help the child you are fostering begin the healing process and prepare them for a bright future.

Additionally, Upbring provides exceptional training resources with regard to trauma-informed care, which highlights specialized tactics for helping child victims of trauma.

What is child traumatic stress (CTS)?

Child traumatic stress can happen when children are exposed to one-time traumatic events or ongoing traumatic situations. Traumatic reminders may trigger intense emotions related to the traumatic events, overwhelming their ability to cope with what they have experienced.

What is trauma? Different types of trauma?

Trauma occurs when a person feels intensely threatened by an event they are involved in or witnesses. Some traumatic events occur at a particular time and place and are usually short-lived. But for many foster children, exposure to traumatic events occurs repeatedly over an extended period of time. These ongoing traumatic situations might include: physical and/or sexual abuse, domestic violence, and unstable or unsafe living situations.

What is the effect of trauma on children?

For children in foster care, trauma frequently occurs when they are removed from their biological families due to abuse and/or neglect, or have witnessed a traumatic event. Experiences like this can cause the child to feel betrayed and insecure, often leading to child traumatic stress. Trauma affects a child’s ability to regulate emotions. For children who have been traumatized, emotional responses can feel more intense. Emotional reactions may appear as rage, isolation, guilt and shame, and have a significant impact on all the child’s relationships. These behaviors can be attempts to handle these intense feelings.

What triggers inappropriate behaviors in children with CTS?

The social environment is a big part of what leads kids to have intense emotional responses. Reminders of past or ongoing traumatic experiences can quickly catapult a child into a different emotional state, making emotions more intense and harder for the child to manage. Traumatic reminders can lead to changes in how a child feels, acts and relates to those around him.

How does trauma affect a child’s perception of their external environment?

Children who have experienced trauma have difficulty perceiving the world around them in a rational manner. They may overestimate the risk in daily life, and then avoid people, places, and things that might remind them of past or ongoing trauma. Yet they may also underestimate the risk in certain activities and put themselves in dangerous situations. Additionally, traumatized children have trouble envisioning their future, which limits their ability to develop life goals.

What can be done to help children who have experienced trauma?

Children who express inappropriate behaviors in response to traumatic stress need help learning other ways of handling and conveying their emotions. Trauma-informed care is aimed at helping children learn to control their emotional responses to traumatic reminders. As a foster parent, FIT will train you in trauma-informed care so you can help your child heal.

Are foster parents trained on how to help the children recover from trauma?

Yes, when you become a foster parent through FIT you will receive trauma-informed care training that will help you better care for yourself and your children.

Children who have gone through a traumatic situation are often left feeling helpless, confused, and unable to effectively cope with what he or she has experienced. When you, as a parent, do not understand these feelings and are not properly trained in how to deal with them, you can experience “compassion fatigue” – feeling numb, burned out, and unable to handle the child’s sadness and distress.

Trauma-informed policies and services work for both the children in need and for you, the foster parent. By attending training on trauma-informed care, you will be better equipped to help your children cope with their traumatic stress in new, more appropriate ways.

Experts in the field agree that with greater understanding through trauma-informed education programs, a wide range of behavioral and social problems will be lessened for generations to come. This is why we believe trauma-informed care training is so important for foster parents.

What resources does Foster In Texas provide for trauma-informed care?

Upbring Foster In Texas has a Statewide Clinical Director on staff to provide support and encouragement to foster families as they are dealing with difficult situations or children.

What is Trauma Systems Therapy and trauma-informed care?

Trauma-informed care focuses on recognizing existing trauma symptoms and understanding the effect of trauma on a child’s life. Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) is a trauma-informed care model developed by Glenn Saxe of the Boston University Medical Center.

FIT has adopted the TST model to help foster children and families experiencing problems related to child traumatic stress. TST, or trauma-informed care, helps by giving both children and families better ways to regulate emotions and decrease traumatic reminders. TST involves a whole treatment team, including the family, caseworkers, mental health professionals, teachers, and others, working together with a commitment to help the traumatized child.

What do foster parents say about the trauma-informed care program?

“I can honestly agree with the other participants [in the Trauma-Informed Care Conference] that this should be a training that all foster parents should be exposed to, in order to give us a better understanding of what to expect and how to approach unforeseen situations.” – Fidela Hinojosa

“The Trauma Conference and your Clinical Care Director opened our eyes. He taught us many things that will help us when we foster/adopt or adopt. We were oblivious to many of the situations that can present themselves. We found that many of the things that we take for granted need to be discussed with a foster child, like asking if it is OK to give them a hug or say, ‘I love you.’ This experience has helped us further understand what it means to be a foster or adoptive parent.” – Rogelio and Melissa Lozano

“We were very impressed with the wonderful trauma training you provided us. We look forward to another conference like this one, twice a year or more. We foster parents work hard for the children and would like more trainings like this to help the kids in our care.” – Dario and Betty Garza

Offices

Foster In Texas and Upbring Adoption

Amarillo

Tammy Williams
Area Director
3505 Olsen Blvd,
Ste. 205
Amarillo, TX 79109
tel. (806) 351-0168

Dallas

Emily Norwood
Area Director
Deborah Womack
Regional Intake Specialist
275 W. Campbell Rd.
Suite 600
Richardson, TX 75080
toll free: (800) 622-6697
tel. (972) 620-0581

Harlingen

Ana Garcia
Area Director
310 N. Ed Carey Drive
Suite A
Harlingen, TX 78550
tel. (956) 423-1015

Lubbock

Monica Casey
Area Director
Kristina Hinojosa
Regional Intake Specialist

6847 82nd Street
Suite 102
Lubbock, TX 79424
tel. (806) 783-8863
fax: (806) 783-8935

Tyler

Shelley Simmons
Area Director
6770 Old Jacksonville Hwy
Suite 104
Tyler, TX 75703
tel. (903) 939-3400

Austin

Alissa Davis
Area Director
Jack Borden
Regional Intake Specialist
8305 Cross Park Dr
Austin, TX 78754
tel. (512) 459-1000

El Paso

Jacqueline “Jackie” Sandoval
Area Director
6585 Montana Avenue
Suite S600-A
El Paso, TX 79925
tel. (915) 598-5410

Houston

Amanda Schmidt
Area Director
Tori Foutz
Regional Intake Specialist
13831 NW Fwy
Suite 205
Houston, TX 77040
tel. (281) 298-8639

McAllen

Dora Alaffa
Area Director
1109 W Nolana Ave.
Suite 204
McAllen, TX 78504
toll free: (877) 229-2434
tel. (956) 687-8333

Victoria

Lesley Perez
Area Director
Claire Blaschke
Regional Intake Specialist
101 W. Goodwin Ave.,
Ste. 945
Victoria, TX 77901
tel. (361) 574-8331

Corpus Christi

Renida Hernandez
Area Director
4646 Corona Dr.
Suite 165
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
tel. (361) 752-3115
cell: (361) 343-6193

Fort Worth

Toinette Peters
Area Director
Julie Streit
Regional Intake Specialist
6300 Ridglea Place
Suite 100, Ground Floor
Fort Worth, TX 76116
tel. (817) 731-3737

Laredo

Fabiola Erhard
Area Director
315 Calle Del Norte
Suite 106
Laredo, TX 78041
toll free: (866) 791-4909
tel. (956) 791-4909

San Antonio

Erika Noriega
Area Director
Kristin Wagner
Regional Intake Specialist
4241 Woodcock Dr.
Suite C-111
San Antonio, TX 78228
tel. (210) 979-8473

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