One of our goals at For the Sake of One is to increase the number of foster parents in Miller, Bowie, Cass, and Little River counties. This can get tricky since we work on both sides of the state line and the requirements for Texas and Arkansas foster parents are different. So, I am devoting this blog post to answering the question,
If you reach out to us and ask how to become a foster parent, the first thing we will ask is, "Do you live in Texas or Arkansas?" Although there are some differences, the steps on both sides of the state line are pretty similar. Since we are not a licensing agency, once we find out which side of the state line you live on, we will refer you to a licensing agency. You can follow this link to our website where you will see a list of all the agencies we recommend. Because state case workers are so overworked, we recommend you go through a private licensing agency, but you can also choose to be licensed directly through the state.
1) Contact the contact person to find out when the next informational meeting will be. At this meeting, you will get your initial foster parent application to fill out.
2) Each person over 18 in the house will have to complete a fingerprint background check.
3) Each parent in the house will have to attend 40(ish) hours of training...this varies a little by agency.
4) The case worker will come out to check out your house and make sure that it will pass a fire and health inspection (you have to get these both done).
5) Each parent will have to get CPR and first aid certified for infants, children and adults.
6) The agency will complete a homestudy on your family. The homestudy writer will set up a time to talk to you all and he/she will ask you all about your life, marriage, childhood and finances. Be prepared...they will ask you deep and probing questions...they want to uncover all the skeletons in your closet! They are wanting to weed out financially and mentally unstable people here.
8) The homestudy will be submitted to a supervisor to approve.
9) The supervisor will send the homestudy back to the writer to make changes.
10) The homestudy will be sent back to the supervisor to approve.
11) Hopefully the homestudy will be approved, but it can be sent back and forth a couple of times.
12) Once the homestudy is approved, if everything in your file is completed, then you will be listed as an open foster home.
13) They will start calling and asking if you can take children. ANY time they call, you can say no if you don't feel like it is a good fit for your family or if it is a bad time for you.
1) ALL guns have to be locked up in a gun safe with ammo and guns locked up separately.
2) All medicine has to be locked up.
3) Knives and cleaning supplies have to be either high up or locked up.
4) If you have a pool, it has to have a fence.
5) Because of the trauma these children have endured, the state does not allow corporal punishment.
Remember, the goal of foster care is ALWAYS reunification! Sometimes, that doesn't work, but it is always the goal. If you are interested in adopting, there thousands of children in the United States whose parents' rights have been terminated and are waiting to be adopted. You can see children from Texas HERE and children from Arkansas HERE.
If you want to see more specific guidelines in Texas, you can check out this blog on Embrace Texas' website.
If you want to see more specific guidelines in Arkansas, you can check out this website.
I know there are a lot of steps. I know this process can be overwhelming. Believe me, I've been through it! I KNOW there are so many kids waiting for homes! Why do they make it so hard to become a foster parent???
Here's the answer... If they are going to remove a child from their biological parents' home, they have to be as sure as they possibly can that the children are going to a safe place with safe people. These children have already been through so much, they don't need to be further abused and neglected in a foster home!
If you read through this entire blog and still have questions, PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out to us! You can email Angela (me) at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text us at 903-329-0566.