Wondering how to become a foster parent in Texas? 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. We know that getting started as a new foster parent may seem overwhelming, so we’ve simplified the process into nine steps.
1. Qualify to Apply for Foster Care Placement
To qualify to become a foster parent in Texas, you must:
- Be single or married (if married, for a minimum of two years)
- Be retired or employed
- Be 21 years of age or older
- Be 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
- Not have a history of abusing a child or another adult
If you qualify to foster in Texas, you must then go through a verification process. These steps are critical in ensuring the safety and well-being of children and are usually completed in about three months. To become verified, foster parents must complete the following:
2. Initial Application
3. Background Check
4. Orientation Meeting
After completing the first few steps — an application and background check — the next step is to get the basic knowledge you need to know about foster care. At Upbring, our orientation meeting is approximately one hour and done on-site. You are taught the basics and your questions are answered by one of our area directors.
5. STAR Pre-Service Training
Specialized Training And Resources for foster parents (STAR) is an eight hour pre-service training required by the State of Texas for all new foster parents. It is taken one time on-site at one of our 14 local offices and is taught by Foster In Texas (FIT) staff. It includes information that is required by minimum standards like:
- foster care experiences
- removal process
- health and safety requirements
- trauma introduction
- communicable disease training
6. CPR & First Aid Training
A basic CPR and first aid training course must be taken every two years. This course usually takes about four hours and thirty minutes to complete.
7. SMART Behavioral Intervention Training
(SMART) is an eight hour training that is required for every family during the verification process, and then annually for verified foster homes. As part of our Emergency Behavior Interventions (EBI), this training goes over debriefing, appropriate discipline interventions and restraint education. Families are required to show comprehension of the approved restraints by demonstrating those at the conclusion of the class. This is an 8 hour class taught on-site by field staff.
8. Psychotropic Medications & Medications Administration Training
There are three requirements for in-process families:
- Online Medical Consent – An online course with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). This takes approximately one hour.
- Medication Training Part I. This online DFPS course takes two hours.
- Medication Training Part II. This in-house course is taught by a registered nurse (RN) and takes two hours.
9. A Home Screening & Safety Inspection
A home-screen and safety inspection is the final step before being approved as a licensed foster home. Once Upbring has all of the required documentation and training collected, we submit that documentation to a home-screen professional (HS). The HS contacts the family and schedules a visit to the home — where they meet with all household members and conduct interviews about every aspect of their home. These interviews includes questions about finances, physical environment, quality of marital relationships, discipline practices and so on. Once the assessment is complete, the HS sends the home study to the Area Director who approves the home and the foster care license!
Other Things To Consider
If you’re wondering how to become a foster parent in Texas, we’d also suggest understanding what we’ve learned to be characteristics of successful foster families. Successful foster families usually exhibit:
- A strong desire to help children
- Open mindedness and welcoming attitudes to children of all age groups
- Flexibility with the children and the treatment team
- Coping skills to work with challenging behaviors
- Values for diversity and support for the children’s cultural needs
- Openness to children who have experienced trauma
Want more information about becoming a foster parent in Texas? Fill out the Interest Form (click here) and we’ll get back to you at our earliest convenience!