Why become a foster parent?
Effectively raising a foster child requires an incredible amount of work. Why would someone choose to do it? The desire to help children in need draws people to investigate foster parenting. You choose this path, because you can give kids a second chance at a childhood.
While most children dream of a new bike, Disneyland, or birthday parties, children entering foster care dream of safety, shelter, and a loving family. What better gift can you give a child than the opportunity to live in a safe, loving home where childhoods can be rewritten?
Each child in foster care shares a gripping story—being removed from their home and placed in foster care is a difficult and stressful experience for any child. As a foster parent, you have the unique opportunity to help these children heal and move on from the life that led them here.
Other reasons and rewards:
- Many feel they are “meant” to do this and describe it as a “calling”. FIT foster parents report that they receive a lot of satisfaction watching their foster children progress and succeed, and find their work highly rewarding.
- Some foster parents are interested in fostering to adopt children should they become available.
- Financial reimbursement makes foster parenting viable for many, but is seldom a primary consideration.
Why foster through Foster In Texas?
It is important to understand that as the foster parent, you will not be in it alone. Becoming a foster parent is a group effort. You will be one person in a team of people helping the child succeed.
Ask around, and you will learn that the FIT team is the most highly regarded in the state, with a reputation for having the most knowledgeable, effective case workers. We touch the lives of 900 children in foster care each day, through our 14 offices in cities throughout Texas. We recruit the best families all over the state, and care for them by providing training, support, and resources, which include:
- Superior, specialized training, including trauma-informed care.
- Ongoing training to help you be a successful foster parent. Foster parents from other agencies rely on our excellent and practical training.
- Individual counseling and therapy for each foster child.
- 24–hour on–call support services for emergency consultations and situations.
- Respite care to give you a break when you need one. 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. Sometimes a foster family may have a family emergency arise and they need respite care. And the good news is that respite care doesn’t come out of the foster parent’s pocket. Through our respite program, parents have a chance to relax and reenergize so they can continue providing the best care for their children. When it comes to respite, we tell our foster parents to ask for it, find ways to get it, and use it. Because they deserve it! When you foster with the FIT program, the respite care benefit is superior to what you will find with most other agencies.
- Every FIT family has a “respite checking account”.
- Each month, we deposit money into this respite account: $40 for the first child and $30 for each additional child.
- Foster families can select their own respite providers, who must have a cleared criminal background check.
- Foster families decide how much to pay respite providers based on how much is in their respite account at that time.
- Some families save up the respite money and others take respite every month. It’s entirely up to each family.
- Families continue to receive their regular reimbursement, which is not affected by use of the respite account.
- Financial reimbursement, which varies depending upon the specialized needs of the child, and a stipend for clothing expenses.
- Health insurance by Star Health through the Superior Health Network.
Do I qualify?
You might be just what we’re looking for in a foster parent. You don’t need to be wealthy, you don’t need to be married, you don t need to have a Ph.D. in child psychology. What you do need is a desire to provide a nurturing environment and love to a child. Potential foster parents are screened through a series of interviews, background checks, training, and home interviews.
- You must be 21 years of age or older
- You may be single or married (if married, for a minimum of two years)
- You may be retired or employed
- You must not have a history of abusing a child or another adult
- You must be emotionally and physically healthy
- You must have a regular source of income (cannot be dependent on the foster care payment for expenses, nor can you be on government assistance)
- No criminal history, or have proof of rehabilitation
After the initial application (with references and background check) and orientation meeting, training begins. Required training for prospective foster parents:
- STAR pre-service training
- CPR and first aid training
- SMART behavioral intervention training
- Psychotropic medications and medications administration training
A home screening/study and safety inspection is conducted before the first placement of a child. The entire verification process takes an average of three months.
The adoption option
When reunification with their birth families is not possible and families develop a strong emotional bond with the child(ren) in their care, foster–to–adopt is a great option. Some families foster a child with the intention of eventually adopting that child, or adopt children who have been waiting a long time to become part of a “forever family”. Foster–to–adopt parents must meet all the requirements of both foster care and domestic adoption.
One of the most common misconceptions about these children is that they are “unadoptable”. They are adoptable, but frequently need more than stability and love. They may have one or more special emotional or physical needs. Many have learned that caregivers aren’t forever, and may need to learn to trust, and be taught how to give and receive love.
If your interest is primarily adoption, not foster care, all the information you need for both international and domestic adoption can be found at our Lutheran Adoption Servcies of Texas (LAST) website.
Are you up to the challenge?
Nothing creates more meaning in life than helping someone else succeed. If you would like to enrich a child’s life while discovering riches in your own, consider becoming a FIT parent!
What is the next step?
“I have been a foster parent, mostly of teenage males, for seven years, and have been fostering with FIT for three years. FIT has been a great support for me, from all departments of the agency. The online training for their foster families is just great; Foster families can learn in the comfort of their homes, and don’t have to travel with their small children to get training. I could go on and on about how well FIT takes care of the children and their foster parents. I try to recruit other foster parents to come aboard with the best and most loving agency. I am a proud and thankful foster and adoptive parent.” – Clara Williams, Austin, TX