You can be single or married, over the age of 21, and have NO criminal record. The rest is an assortment of application documents that must be completed and acquired, such as CPR and First Aid Certification, TB test, health status, copies of birth certificates, driver’s license and reference letters. Foster families must be willing to have their homes safety inspected, pass a fire inspection and provide proof of auto and home insurance. Applicants are required to complete 36.5 hours of pre-certification training and maintain 30 hours of training annually.
Foster parents must have sufficient regular income to sustain their family without relying on the foster family reimbursement. (Unfortunately, AFDC, temporary disability, student loans and unemployment compensation do not qualify as income.) During the application process, proof of income will be requested and a copy maintained in the foster parent record.
Therapeutic Family Life partners with working parents and stay-at-home parents who serve many types of children. Each child’s situation must be evaluated individually and some children have needs that require a full-time at-home parent. Working parents must have some flexibility in their work schedule so that the foster children can be transported to scheduled visitations, appointments, etc. (which typically occur during regular working hours). As a working parent you need to develop a child care plan that includes after-school care and care for school vacations and holidays as foster children must be supervised by an adult 24 hours a day.
Our agency has verified single people to provide foster care. Single parents need to identify a back-up provider who can care for your foster children in your absence or illness, as foster children require 24-hour adult supervision.
Foster parents are responsible for transporting foster children to school, doctor appointments, after-school activities, etc., just as they are for their own children. In addition, foster parents are responsible for transporting the foster children to and from all court-ordered visitations (which normally occur during working hours). All vehicles must be in good running order and there must be enough seats, seatbelts, car seats and infant car seats available for the family. In addition, we require that both parents have a valid Texas Driver’s license, current auto insurance and the ability to drive.
When time constraints and location allow, “pre-placement visits” can be set up. Therapeutic Family Life will give you all the information we receive from the child’s case worker about the child initially and as it is received. There will be times your family will need to be prepared to make a decision about fostering a particular child based solely on information we give you over the phone or via email.
As part of the application and home study you will identify the age and sex of child or children that would be most appropriate for your home.
The timing of placements depends on the situation of the foster children in the foster system. We match children to available homes based on the child’s needs, your criteria (age, sex, siblings, etc.) and the criteria of the placing case worker. Placements may be made within a couple days of being licensed or can take several months.
There are minimal out-of-pocket costs associated with completion of fingerprinting for the background checks, TB tests and the CPR/First Aid training. In addition, there may be out-of-pocket expenses related to ensuring your home meets the home safety checklist for fire and health inspections.