Part one of this series on how to become a foster parent covers the big picture—what is CPS, what is foster care, what you will need to do, etc. This second installment delves deeper into the specific steps you need to take to become a Buckner foster parent to one (or more) of the 31,000 children who are in Texas foster care each year.
The process might seem daunting—a never-ending season of procedures and paperwork—but Buckner will help you every step of the way. And when a child, a little boy or girl who has lost everything, finds love, stability and hope in your home, the tedium of the process becomes an afterthought.
“We need people who care to take care of them. Not just to house them and feed them, but to love them,” says Buckner foster parent Robin Wright.
Here’s how to become a foster parent with Buckner:
1. Contact us so we can help walk you through this process. Fill out our contact form here or give us a call at 855-264-8783.
2. Attend an information meeting. We would love to meet you in person. Join us for an information meeting at the Buckner office closest to you. You’ll learn more about Buckner Foster Care and Adoption ministries and have the chance to talk with Buckner staff face-to-face. You can also attend an online information meeting.
3. Submit a pre-application. We will send you this form in our first email to you. You can complete it and bring it with you to the information meeting or even fill one out there. This application covers basic information about you, your family and your background.
4. Participate in an initial interview. This is our chance to get to know you better, talk through your pre-application and answer questions one-on-one.
5. Complete formal application. This application is a bit more extensive. We’ll ask for some important document records, and we’ll provide a background check, fingerprinting and a few other forms for you to complete.
6. Attend training. Every parent who receives a license from the state of Texas is required to attend a certain number of hours of training. You’ll attend Buckner Foster Care and Adoption Parent Training, which will equip you with skills on how to think about and work through challenges of attachment, grief and loss, behavior and more. You’ll also attend orientation at Buckner to introduce you to the policies and procedures of our agency. Throughout your time as a foster parent, you’ll receive ongoing education and training.
7. Participate in screening. After training, Buckner will walk with you through the screening process, which covers various medical tests and home inspections.
8. Complete home study. A home study is the last step in the verification process to qualify you for licensure. This practice ensures that your home meets the minimum standards required by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. A Buckner case manager will perform the home study with you. You can read more about the purpose of home studies here.
9. Receive license. Once you’ve completed the eight steps above, you’ll officially receive your license and be ready for children in foster care to be placed into your home.
10. Welcome a child into your home. This can happen quickly (an emergency placement) or it can be planned (when a child transfers from another foster home). After a child has been removed from their home, Buckner receives a call from CPS. Once Buckner reviews the needs of the child, they will look for a licensed home that meets those needs. Buckner makes the match and calls the family who then decides whether or not they are able to accept the child into your home. If you are, placement staff arrives with the child.
Ready to start the process? Contact us here!
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Texas foster care system has been in headlines all over the state. There has been a shortage of foster families and an increase in the number of children removed, which means children are having to spend the night in CPS offices on makeshift beds while they wait for a safe place to go. Buckner is a leading foster care and adoption agency in Texas and as Christians, we feel compelled to respond by bringing awareness to the issues, dispelling stigmas and giving tangible ways for you to help a hurting child who needs a warm bed and loving family. See full coverage of the crisis here.