Journey to Licensing
Attend an Information Session
No matter where you want to get involved to support children and families, we encourage you to start by attending an information session. During these meetings, you have a great opportunity to hear from professionals in the field about foster care, learn about trauma informed parenting, and ways to get involved. Even better, you get to meet with some of the wonderful agencies we have here in Central Texas that can get you licensed as a foster home. View our calendar to find the next information session near you!
Examine Your Motivations
Working with children and families involved in foster care is such an incredible experience. There are so many joys, triumphs, and victories that are seen when families pull together to support some of our community's most vulnerable children. However, it's not always easy. It's important to know that outside of everything else, your motivation for volunteering or becoming a a foster parent is focused on the healing process of a family. No matter what brought you to this process, we are grateful, and we hope that as you learn more about foster care - helping heal families is always at the forefront.
Select a Child Placing Agency (CPA)
CPA is the acronym we use for Child Placing Agency. You don't need an accountant to become a foster parent! Our CPA's are trauma informed, supportive, and have the best teams to walk you through the licensing process. You can't go wrong with any of them, but choose one that you feel fits your family's needs. Keep in mind location, training schedule, wrap around support and who you feel the most comfortable with. See the full list of these agencies here.
No matter what agency you choose, the process will be very similar. Completing an application is your first step before you are approved to attend their training. Applications typically take an hour or so to complete and do require some background information. Along with the application is typically a criminal history background check. Be prepared to have your social security card and driver's license ready to copy. It will be one of the first pieces of paperwork that will be involved in your journey to licensing!
Applicants must be:
Determine what Children will be Best Fit
We encourage you to think about the children that will best fit your home. Things to consider are:
Although there are many things to consider, we want you to keep an open mind when going through this process. Also, remember that it is more common for children in foster care to be within a sibling group and to be older in age. The broader the age range, the less time you will wait for placement!
Attend Pre-Service Training
Families going through the licensing process to become foster or adoptive parents are required to obtain 36 hours of pre-service training. These trainings are offered through the agency you select and serve as the groundwork for hands on experience in working with children from hard places. By the time you complete training, you will have a wide range of trauma informed tools and great resources to prepare you for your first placement!
Prepare your Home for a Child
Once you have determined the children that you and your agency feel will be the best fit for your family, you will want to begin obtaining all of the fun things you need to make your home feel welcoming to a child! That means: bedding, toys, clothes, etc. The goal is to make your home feel as welcoming as possible and for the children coming into your home to have a space of their own. One thing to remember: as safe as you are, you are still a stranger to the children coming into your home. Be a part of helping them feel safe - leave a few things for the child to choose as decor. Not only does it give them something of their own, but it helps build attachment.
Complete a Home Study
Home studies are completed by your agency after you have completed all of the previous steps! It is one of the last major steps to obtaining your licensure. Your agency will arrange a time to come to your home and interview you to learn more about you and your family. Home studies are meant to give CPS (Child Protective Services) a snapshot of your family. During the home study you will be asked questions about how you connect with people, character traits, family history, marriage (if applicable), family life, and much more. Don't worry, your CPA will help you prepare ahead of time and you will be more than ready when it comes time to get it completed.
Do just that! Waiting for a placement is different for everyone. It is never the same, but depending on the point of entry you choose, or the number of children/age of children could impact the time frame on placement. Remember, keep an open mind throughout this process. At times it can be unpredictable, but all worth it in the long run!
Your agency will contact you directly for placement once you have been selected , but don't worry - they will be right there to support you throughout your journey, and so will we!