Foster to Adopt Texas: Your Step-By-Step Guide Through the Transition
Foster to adopt Texas laws can be tough to navigate. Here is a step-by-step guide through the process.
There are currently over 3,000 children available for adoption through the foster care system in Texas. Over 29,000 children are in the state’s foster care system.
If you feel called to adopt a child without a home but have limited financial resources, foster-to-adopt in Texas may be a great option for you.
Would you qualify to be a foster parent? And how long does the process take? If you were to become certified, what kinds of children are available for adoption?
Let’s take a look.
1. Who Can Use Foster-to-Adopt in Texas?
Many states, including Texas, now have dual-licensing programs for foster care and adoption. This means that you can become certified to foster parent and adopt at the same time. Dual-licensing helps to streamline the process for those foster parents who eventually adopt their children.
You do not need to be married to become a foster or adoptive parent through the child welfare system. A foster/adoptive parent can be single, divorced, married, or widowed.
You must, however, be over 21 years old and emotionally and financially stable. You will have to supply references, both related and non-related, who can attest to the fact that you are a mature and responsible adult.
It is also necessary to successfully complete background checks and a home study. You will also need to attend a free training on the parenting of abused and/or neglected children.
2. The Children in Texas Fostercare
Over 3,000 children in Texas foster care are fully available for adoption because their birth parents’ rights have been terminated. Over 60% of these children are over the age of 6. Many are members of sibling groups that need to be adopted together.
Some of the children already available for adoption have special physical, mental, and emotional needs. There is a great need for adoptive parents of children over age 10, and for sibling groups of 3 or more.
If you are interested in adopting a child who under 5 years old, there are many infants and toddlers in the foster care system. Most of these, however, do not enter the system already available for adoption.
If you are interested in fostering a younger child in the hopes of adopting them, your social worker may be able to identify foster children who are more likely to become available for adoption in the future. They cannot, however, guarantee that birth-parent rights will be terminated.
3. The Benefits of Fostering
Becoming a foster parent in Texas comes with financial support that makes providing a home for your child more manageable.
Texas foster parents receive a monthly stipend of up to $675 per child. These funds must be used to support your child’s basic needs such as food, clothing, and child care. All foster children are eligible for free healthcare in the form of Medicaid until they are 18 years old.
In addition, Permanency Care Assistance (PCA) of over $500 per month is available for special needs children. In the state of Texas, a child is defined as special needs if they are over 6 years old. They are also considered to be special needs if they are over 2 years old and part of an ethnic or national group that is exiting the system at a slower rate.
Children who are part of sibling groups are also considered to have special needs. Many may also have diagnosed physical, mental, or emotional needs that are established by a qualified professional.
If and when you are ready to adopt your foster child, the state of Texas provides a $3,000 adoption stipend that will assist with any legal fees associated with your adoption.
In addition, children in the foster care system who are adopted over the age of 14 are eligible for free college tuition at any state-funded institution until they are 25 years old.
4. The Process of Fostering
If you are serious about becoming a foster parent in Texas, the first step is to find an informational meeting near you. Here, you can decide if foster-to-adopt is the right step for your family.
Next, you must complete over 35 hours of PRIDE training. Here, you will learn about your own strengths and weaknesses as a parent. You will also cover topics such as child abuse and neglect, loss and grief, behavioral intervention, and working within the child welfare system.
After you complete your certification, you will be required to attend a universal precautions meeting and a psychotropic drugs meeting. You will also need to become certified in both first aid and infant/child/adult CPR.
All adults who want to become foster parents will need to complete a successful home study. This is nothing to be worried about. Just be sure your house is really clean the day it is inspected!
You will need a separate bedroom for your child. There will also be interviews in which you discuss your philosophy of parenting, and why you want to foster-to-adopt. You will also need to undergo federal and state criminal background checks and abuse/neglect background checks.
5. Making a Match
Once you pass your home study, you will be ready for your first match! Be sure to find out as much as you can about your child through teachers, social workers, and other professionals before committing to foster your child.
Foster to Adopt, Texas
Once you have become certified, passed your background checks, and completed a successful home study, it is time to foster-to-adopt in Texas! You are in for an exciting, challenging, and very rewarding adventure.
For more information on adopting from foster care, contact us today.