Make a difference in a foster child’s life
With July known as National Make a Difference for Children Month, I would like to take this opportunity to share some troubling facts about the children who need foster homes in Denton County.
We are seeing an increase in the number of children in our Child Protective Services (CPS) program. In April, the latest numbers we have, CPS reported 633 children were in their system. Of the 300-plus children with foster families, an estimated 200 are infants to age 9.
A majority of our CPS children are housed outside of Denton County, due to the lack of available foster families. With the growing need for foster homes, particularly in Denton County, we hope to help spread the word to those who have a desire to make a difference in a child’s life.
To become a foster parent, an individual or couple must:
- Be at least 21 years of age, financially stable, responsible
- Complete an application
- Share information regarding background and lifestyle
- Provide relative and non-relative references
- Show proof of marriage and/or divorce (if applicable)
- Agree to a home study with all household members
- Allow staff to complete a criminal history background check on all adults in the household
- Attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children
In addition to the basic requirements, foster parents must:
- Have adequate sleeping space
- Allow no more than six children in the home, including your own children or children for whom you provide daycare
- Agree to a nonphysical discipline policy
- Permit fire, health, and safety inspections of the home
- Vaccinate all pets
- Obtain and maintain CPR/First Aid Certification
- Obtain TB testing as required by the local health department
- Attend 20 hours or more of training each year
Foster families provide daily attentiveness and nurturing to the children in their care, advocate for them at schools and within the community, keep caseworkers informed of changes or issues that arise, work to reunite children with birth families in coordination with caseworkers (as appropriate), provide a positive role model, and help children learn life skills. This information on becoming a foster parent and more is available at dfps.texas.gov/adoption_and_foster_care/get_started/requirements.asp.
Many families in the foster program are interested in adopting, and families who are in the process of adopting children often serve as foster families in the interim.
Looking through the Heart Gallery of North Texas (heartgallerynorthtexas.org) at the children and teens available for adoption tears at the heartstrings. Every child deserves a home and a family who loves them.
We also have almost 60 teens in our CPS system who are near aging out at 18 or will be in the next few years. I have been working with Rotary Clubs and orthodontists across the county to help provide these teens with mentors, assistance with dental needs, and the tools they need to be successful once they are on their own. These teens need a helping hand to navigate the complex world of adulthood.
It is a personal passion of mine after firsthand experience. A young woman known to my family was in need. We had the opportunity to help her become successful by assisting with a place to live, getting into higher education, and finding a job.
It was an eye-opening experience for my family but one we believed wholeheartedly was the right thing to do.
If we all take the opportunity to help where we can, it would make a difference in the lives of these children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves alone and without the family connections they would normally have to create a successful path forward and live full, happy lives.
Connect With Us
If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is email@example.com, and my office number is 940-349-2820. For more information, register for my newsletter at Dentoncounty.gov/countyjudgenewslettersignup