Frequently Asked Questions
On this page, you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding foster children and foster parenting in Texas.
What is Foster Care?
Every year, the State of Texas removes thousands of children from their homes due to severe neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and/or sexual abuse. Courts remove the children to protect them and authorize the Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS – or Child Protective Services), to place the children with private foster agencies such as REACH. We have a contract with DFPS to provide safe, nurturing foster homes with the goal of promoting growth and healing in these children.
Once placed in foster homes, the State (DFPS) continues to assess what is in the best interest of the child. Children can be returned to their biological mother or father once the family proves they can provide appropriate and nurturing care. If a responsible and caring adult is found within the extended biological family children may be placed with relatives. If these two situations are not available, a child may remain in the foster care system. A child becomes adoptable if the courts terminate the biological parental rights.
What types of children are placed in Foster Homes?
REACH Child Placing Agency provides foster homes for boys and girls ages 0-18 across the DFW area. Most of the children and young people placed in foster care were removed from their biological families due to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or because of neglect.
There are unique challenges to fostering a child that are different than raising your own children. Children who have gone through the horror of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exposure to drugs, and removal from their biological family require patience, unconditional love and acceptance. They could have a difficult time controlling their emotions. Many struggle in school and have trust issues with adults. Our staff at REACH are highly skilled in providing the support and training needed to help foster families overcome these issues. Fostering requires dedication to the child and process, open communication with staff, and committing to work with the child on a daily basis when issues develop.
What do I do next if I want to become a Foster Parent?
Contact us and we will walk you through the process. If you have any questions about the application, our staff is here to help.
Once the application is submitted, REACH will contact you to schedule the additional interviews and training By becoming a foster parent with REACH, you will change a child’s life. Nothing is more important to a child than a safe and loving home!
Is adoption possible?
It is common for foster parents to adopt a foster child that has been placed in their home. After a child is adopted, some families also continue to provide foster care to other children.
Foster children adopted by their foster parents are generally more successful than those adopted by another family who did not provide foster care. REACH can help with the process if you decide to adopt a foster child placed in your home.
How long does it take to become a Foster Parent?
The well-being and safety of children is very important, so becoming a foster parent takes some time. Meetings and interviews occur along with a review of your home environment. REACH will provide the foster family with special training focused on helping traumatized children who have been subject to abuses. A lot of the training will occur before a child is placed in your home. The entire process usually takes 2-3 months.
What kind of support do I get as a Foster Parent?
When a child is placed in your home, case managers will be assigned to your family and will work directly with you to help meet the needs of the children. REACH has the necessary support team in place to ensure you and your children have the support they deserve.
In addition, foster parents are offered training opportunities throughout the year. This training – along with other activities – provides different options for foster families to meet and develop support networks among other families going through the same challenges. Often foster families become friends and rely on each other for respite care and other supportive needs.
What is child traumatic stress?
Child traumatic stress can happen when children are exposed to one-time traumatic events or ongoing traumatic situations. Traumatic reminders may trigger intense emotions related to the traumatic events, overwhelming their ability to cope with what they have experienced.
What is trauma? Are there different types of trauma?
Trauma occurs when a person feels intensely threatened by an event he or she is involved in or witnesses. Some traumatic events occur at a particular time and place and are usually short-lived. But for many foster children, exposure to traumatic events occurs repeatedly over an extended period of time. These ongoing traumatic situations might include: physical and/or sexual abuse, domestic violence, and unstable or unsafe living situations
What can be done to help children who have experienced trauma?
Children who express inappropriate behaviors in response to traumatic stress need help learning other ways of handling and conveying their emotions. Trauma-informed care is aimed at helping children learn to control their emotional responses to traumatic reminders. As a foster parent, REACH will train you in trauma-informed care so you can help your child heal.
How does trauma affect a child’s perception of their external enviornment?
Children who have experienced trauma have difficulty perceiving the world around them in a rational manner. They may overestimate the risk in daily life, and then avoid people, places, and things that might remind them of past or ongoing trauma. Yet they may also underestimate the risk in certain activities and put themselves in dangerous situations. Additionally, traumatized children have trouble envisioning their future, which limits their ability to develop life goals.