Foster Parent FAQs
This page provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding foster parenting in Texas. Simply click on a question and view the answer in the right pane.
How does a child or family become involved with Child Protective Services (CPS)?
- A report or “referral” is made to CPS through the hotline number (800-252-5400) regarding a child that may be abused or neglected.
- After the report has been made, CPS will visit the home and investigate the concerns.
- If CPS feels the child is in immediate danger, they will remove the child that day.
- If they feel that the family can remain intact, they will provide additional services and supervision.
- CPS will complete a search for appropriate relatives.
- If no relative is available, or if there are concerns about appropriateness, CPS will ask that the child be placed in a foster home.
- This is when Foster In Texas is contacted.
- CPS offers services and creates a plan for the biological family to work on in order to regain custody of their children.
- Depending on their compliance and involvement, they may or may not have their children returned to them.
What are the children like?
- They have experienced trauma and disruptions in their biological family.
- They may have developmental delays, emotional disturbances, and behavior problems… primarily due to the abuse and/or neglect the child has experienced.
- Children involved in foster care vary tremendously.
Can we choose the child’s age and gender?
Yes. You are encouraged to evaluate the type of child(ren) who will best fit into your family structure, and may select the age range, gender, and types of behaviors that you feel most comfortable parenting.
How long does a child usually stay in foster care?
An “average” stay could be six months to one year. A child’s stay in your home could also range from one year to a lifetime, depending on the child’s needs and your family’s goals and capacities.
Is there any financial assistance available?
- Yes. There is a daily reimbursement rate for each day the child is in your home.
- Non-taxable income.
- Reimbursement of natural expenses of having an additional child in your home.
- Not meant to be a profitable experience.
- Assists with necessities like clothes and food, but also to help with extra expenses like sports, music, dance, etc.
- The rate depends on the need of the child, but is a minimum of $22.15 per day.
- All children in foster care are covered by Star Health through the Superior Health Network.
- You will not be adding these children to your personal insurance policies.
- Infants and toddlers can qualify for WIC assistance.
- LSS offers up to$150.00 reimbursement per child for clothing, if they are initially entering foster care and come with little clothing.
- Families are reimbursed $50 in the first 14 days and an additional $100 after 14 days to assist with these initial clothing expenses.
Is adoption an option?
This depends on your preferences and desires. The more open you are in terms of ages and ethnicities, the more this is a possibility. There are currently many children waiting for adoption families and you can learn more about these particular children by visiting the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) website. On this site, you are able to search through all the children currently free for adoption in Texas. The other option is to foster a child in your home first and see how their case proceeds in court. This obviously holds a higher degree of risk in having the child leave your home, but if you are interested in very young children or babies, this is usually a risk you must learn to accept. CPS will work with the parents first to see if they are able to rehabilitate enough to care for their children and 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. The relatives will have to complete a home study and background check, and if these clear, the child will most likely be placed with them. If the parents are not progressing and there are no suitable relatives, the current foster parents have “first dibs” on adopting that child. This is the benefit to fostering first.
Why go through Foster In Texas?
Foster In Texas (FIT), a program of Lutheran Social Services of the South, cares for hundreds of foster children each day through its award-winning foster care program. Awards include 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, and Program Administrator of the Year. When a child is placed through FIT, the support network is available to foster families 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergency consultation and services. Each local foster care office conducts its own events and support groups, holding meetings, advocacy groups, “breakfast clubs,” etc. The Texas-wide training program is consistent and time-tested. As a nonprofit organization involved in foster care since 1996, Foster In Texas has developed effective partnerships statewide along with a reputation for having the most knowledgeable, effective case workers.
How long will it take to get certified and have a child placed in my home?
It depends! An average timeline is 90 days, but there are many variables, and matches between a foster child’s needs and a foster family’s strengths are carefully considered. The wider the age range of children you can parent (especially from 10 to 18 years of age) the more quickly a placement will be made. Placements can occur more quickly if your family can parent a sibling group of three or more children, or foster children with disabilities and special needs.