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Foster In Texas Archives • Page 2 of 3 • Upbring

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Foster Friday: Building a Community of Support for Foster Families

Families face challenges. That’s a universal and unavoidable truth. It’s also why a healthy support system is vital to all families, especially those in need of extra love and support — like foster families. In fact, research shows that parents who foster for an extended period have a community standing alongside them.

 

Babysitters are often an essential part of the fostering community. In addition to the usual scheduling, chauffeuring, and shuffling required to raise children, foster parents often have additional responsibilities like extra doctor’s appointments, therapy, home visits, and court hearings. Burnout is a real possibility without babysitters offering to step in to give parents a much-needed break. As one amazing foster mom told us, “The energy to keep doing hard things is dependent on maintaining connections with my spouse and friends and participating in self-care.”

 

Unlike most families, foster families can’t just reach out to the high school student down the street when they need a babysitter for date night. Child care providers for foster families must complete a certified background check. This added step can often make finding appropriate child care difficult for foster families.

 

Becoming a certified child care provider is one of the most beneficial ways you can provide support to foster families as they embark on this rewarding, but exhausting, journey. Did you know that there are four different types of care you can provide for foster families? Each kind is characterized by the length and frequency of the care provided. Requirements can vary between foster placing agencies. The information below is based on the requirements of Upbring Foster In Texas.

 

Babysitting is short-term childcare which infrequently occurs and is under 12 consecutive hours. Babysitting is perfect for a date night, company outing or other adults-only events.

 

Overnight Care is temporary care provided for a child in foster care by someone other than the foster parents with whom the child is placed for more than 12 consecutive hours, but no more than 72 straight hours.

 

Long-term Respite Care providers can be used for longer-term placements and are defined as infrequent but planned round-the-clock caregivers who can be with the child for more than 72 consecutive hours and no more than 14 days with the intention to provide relief to the foster parents.

 

Regular Alternate Care is care provided for the child (such as by other adult household members or a daycare provider) at least four hours a day, three or more times a week and for more than nine consecutive weeks when the foster parent is not available. Regular Alternate Care is ideal for parents who work full time and need daily childcare for the children in their care.

 

Providing childcare for foster families in your community is a generous way to support those who have opened their homes to children in need. And, if you’re considering becoming a foster parent yourself, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to take the step, providing childcare gives you the opportunity to become familiar with the fostering process, the resources available and to see firsthand the difference you could make in a child’s life.

 

If you’d like to begin providing childcare for a foster family you know in your community, the best place to start is to simply ask! If a good fit, the foster parents can provide you with information on how to submit your background check or receive training through their foster agency. If you do not know a foster family and would still like to help or just learn more, please contact [email protected] and one of our knowledgeable Foster In Texas team members will be happy to give you more information.

 

There are also one-day trainings available in which you can receive your certification to babysit for multiple agencies at once. Age requirements for providing childcare for foster families vary by agency and type of care provided. Please check with your local certification program to learn more about specific requirements.

 

Fostering takes a village, and your compassion and generosity makes an enormous impact on the lives of those served through agencies like Upbring. Together, we’re working toward our mission of ending the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families and communities.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent yourself, we’d love to hear from you! Visit Upbring.org/FosterInfo to submit our Foster Inquiry Form.

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5 Common Questions Asked About Foster Care

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.

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Foster Friday: What do I really need to foster?

Make no mistake about it, becoming a foster parent is a big step and isn’t always a decision one makes quickly. After all, it is no simple task to open your heart and home to a child you’ve never met and has no trace of your DNA.

There are thousands of extraordinary children across Texas who need a safe home with adults who will encourage their dreams, remind them of their importance and give them a chance to simply be a kid. Before you count yourself out of the running, let’s talk about six things you DON’T need to become a foster parent:

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9 Steps to Become a Foster Parent in Texas

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.

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Hurricane Harvey: The Road to Rebuilding

Tomorrow, as the sun rises on a new day, one can’t help but think back to this time a year ago when windows were boarded up and grocery store shelves were empty as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in South Texas. It’s hard to believe 365 days have passed since the destructive storm terrorized our state – shattering records, leaving 68 people dead and making a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands. Homes and streets were flooded. People spent days lofted on their roofs waiting for rescue teams to alleviate them from increasingly high waters. Food and water supplies diminished too quickly. Several regions of our state were in chaos.

But as always, we as Americans showed our resilience and banded together to help impacted families. With support from generous friends, not only in Texas but across the country, Upbring stood with the community, helping families find food, clothing, medical assistance and safe, clean shelter. We also had the resources to provide our Foster In Texas families with stipends that helped cover essentials like travel costs, temporary housing, clothing and diapers. For those affected by this horrific storm, the generous support and donations that poured in helped ease their minds and allowed them to focus on rebuilding without the fear of where their next meal would come from, if they would have a roof over their heads and if their children would be comforted after days of living in fear.

Together, we stood strong in the face of tragedy and made an immediate difference in the lives of families who needed our help. Still, thousands more are continuously working to rebuild their lives, and Upbring will stand with them. Our Disaster Response Team is preparing to mobilize and take over case management for families in need in South Texas. We ask that you keep our team and the families they will serve in your prayers.

 

ICYMI: We shared six tips to help you prepare for a hurricane. Check them out here.

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Who is Carmen Todd, and Why Does Texas Need More People Like Her?

Carmen Todd knows how it feels to grow up without a stable home and loving family. As a teenager in foster care, she often felt like the “bad” kid nobody wanted. Long ago, Carmen promised herself she would show children in foster care they are loved and celebrated.

Today, she is fulfilling her promise as a foster parent.

“It’s the most humbling and rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I could not be happier,” Carmen said. “I have fostered nine children since 2015, and each child will always be part of my family.”

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Kinship care
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Why Would These Empty Nesters Trade Beach Vacations for Bedtime Stories?

Billy and Lisa never expected to raise another child, but their lives changed forever when they opened their hearts to kinship care.

The couple was like many “empty nesters.” When they weren’t caring for families in hospice care, they took beach vacations and enjoyed the outdoors.

One day, they learned they had a grandson in foster care they didn’t know about. Billy and Lisa couldn’t imagine someone else raising the child. Still, they weren’t sure they were ready to raise him themselves. That changed when they saw the boy’s photo and “instantly fell in love.”

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Beaumont Foundation of America
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Beaumont Foundation of America and Upbring: 11 years, $5 Million and a Lifetime of Memories

“Thank you for letting me spend money on new clothes and shoes. I got The Flash PJs.”

Do you remember shopping for school clothes with your parents when you were a kid? Every fall, you had the chance to choose outfits that made you feel comfortable, confident and ready to succeed inside and outside the classroom. Afterward, maybe you spent quality time with your mom and/or dad over lunch, a movie or miniature golf.

Children in Upbring’s care have the chance to experience that same sense of excitement, independence and belonging, thanks to a long-standing partnership between Upbring and the Beaumont Foundation of America.

Lifting children up

Generous grants from the Beaumont Foundation of America enable school-age children in our Foster In Texas program and residential treatment centers to shop for and select new clothing, in many cases for the first time in their lives. Pictured L-R: Frank Newton, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Beaumont Foundation of America; Loren Riemer, Upbring Vice President of Development Operations, and Dr. Kurt Senske, Upbring Chief Executive Officer.

The foundation is a nonprofit grant-making institution led by President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Newton. Frank, his staff and the board of directors have a heart for serving less-fortunate children, youth, families and the elderly. In 2007, they were exploring ways to make an impact in the lives of children in foster care.

That is when the foundation partnered with Upbring and issued our first grant to help the children we serve purchase much-needed clothing.

“Every child deserves to feel valued, loved and capable of offering something special to the world,” Frank said. “The foundation is passionate about collaborating with nonprofits like Upbring that work tirelessly to help children build brighter futures. Together, we have a long, impactful history of lifting up children in need.”

During our 11-year partnership with the Beaumont Foundation of America, Upbring has been blessed to receive more than $5 million in generous clothing grants.

For perspective, let’s assume a family spends $25 on one outfit for a 7-year-old girl. That equals approximately 200,000 outfits!

“We have full hands and hearts, and we were so grateful to have this grant to buy pajamas, socks, dress clothes and everyday wear. Thank you for your kindness and for helping us on this journey of caring for so many children.”

Meeting more than a practical need

Because of the partnership’s long-term nature, clothing stipends are a consistent, reliable benefit we provide the children in our care. Our long-time CEO, Dr. Kurt Senske, knows that the clothes meet more than a practical need.

“When a child tells you they feel different from other kids and they’ve always had trouble making friends, it breaks your heart,” Kurt said. “Something as seemingly simple as a new pair of sneakers or a superhero shirt can help them fit in and feel welcomed. And by letting them participate in choosing their own clothes, we can boost their sense of autonomy, confidence and self-esteem. That is a powerful gift to give a child, and we are eternally grateful to the Beaumont Foundation of America.”

Want to help?

“You are like my angels for helping me buy new clothes.”

Upbring is humbled by the support of generous friends who help us meet each child’s unique needs. Whether you feel led to give a generous gift or volunteer your time and talent, you can walk alongside children in your community who need our help.