Upbring Foster In Texas (FIT) wants to equip current and prospective foster parents with a complete understanding of the foster child experience. This knowledge will allow for the best care and foster experience possible.
On this page, you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding foster children and foster parenting in Texas. Simply click on a question to expand the answer.
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 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 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 will be returned.
How long does a child usually stay in foster care?
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. The length of stay depends on the child’s needs and your family’s goals and capacities.
Can we choose the child’s age and gender?
Yes. As a foster parent, you are included in designing the foster environment in your home. You are encouraged to evaluate the type of child(ren) who will best fit into your family structure. 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, 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 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, they can get burned out. Every foster parent needs an occasional break to remain fresh enough to do this important job. 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 go through Foster In Texas?
Upbring Foster In Texas cares for hundreds of foster children each day through its award-winning foster care program.
- 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 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 see if they are able to rehabilitate enough to care for their children. If this does not look promising, they will begin to look for relatives available to adopt 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.
For information on adoption without going through the Foster In Texas program, visit our adoption page or the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange . On this site, you are able to learn more about all the children currently available for adoption in Texas. The more open you are in terms of ages and ethnicities, the greater the possibility of adoption.
What are the children like?
Children in foster care vary tremendously, but many have experienced some kind of trauma and may have developmental delays, emotional disturbances and/or behavior problems. 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 these children recover 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 he or she is 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 foster children, 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?
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