The process to become a foster parent does not have to be shrouded in mystery. The first step is making the decision to welcome a child into your home. For some, that decision comes after years of family discussions about waiting for the right time, and for others, that decision comes quickly. One thing is certain, children experiencing foster care need and deserve a safe and supportive home. Many of these children have experienced neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and/or sexual abuse, which is why child protective services became involved and the child is now looking for a temporary home.
Once you have decided to take the next step, visit pathway.org/fostercare and click “inquire online” so that you can receive additional information, like dates for the next Foster Parent Orientation. It’s a no-obligation way of learning more about the process and having the opportunity to ask questions. If you’ve already made up your mind that you’re ready to move forward with the process, you can download the foster parent application on this same webpage and bring it with you to the Foster Parent Orientation.
How long does it take to become a foster parent? Before a child can be placed in your home, the State of Texas requires specific steps be taken to become a licensed foster home. That process can take approximately three months, depending on how motivated you are. Here is what you can expect:
- Orientation & Application: Attend an orientation, ask questions, and complete the initial application.
- Training: All primary caregivers in the home will be scheduled to attend pre-service training, which is designed to equip you with information, tools, and techniques to help you properly serve children in your care. Families are also required to attend CPR and First-Aid training and submit to a background check.
- Home Study: Your home environment will be inspected for basic fire and health standards. There will also be a visit and interviews with everyone who lives in your home. These interviews will help build your “family resume”, which serves as a guide for matching families with the right child or children.
- Licensure: You and your caseworker will decide how many children and what ages, gender, and behaviors you are willing to accept into your home. Once all of these requirements are met, you now have a licensed foster home.
- Placement: You will be contacted by a caseworker who will share basic information about a foster child or children in need of placement, and a determination will be made as to whether or not your home is an appropriate match.