Learn About Becoming A Foster Parent

Learn About Becoming A Foster Parent

Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.

In Texas, there are over 31,000 children placed outside their parent’s care in foster care. There are not enough foster homes to support this number of children in care. This means that children from your community are being placed outside of their home community, or in shelters.

Children who are placed outside their home community in one day lose their parents, family, school friends, teachers, coaches, and sense of connection to their community. They frequently miss school so they can have visits, or they don’t see family because they need to be in school. This sense of loss is compounded when they cannot be placed with their brothers and sisters due to no one having enough room.

Foster parents are needed to take children of all ages. The hardest to find placement for are teenagers and for children with challenging behaviors. Foster parents who are willing to take sibling sets of 3 or more that spread across the age ranges are greatly needed.

An important role for foster parents is to work with the child’s birth family to help that child return home, and if that fails, to commit to raise/parenting the child through adoption or guardianship.

The foster parent helps children to keep contact with their birth family, while acting as a mentor for that family. Foster care is a service provided to the child’s entire family. Foster families come from the same community as the child, are willing to accept and agree to visitation and other types of contact with siblings, relatives, and other important people in the child’s life.

Frequently Asked Questions

OKDHS sometimes uses this phrase to refer to foster parents, or individuals who are willing to care for children through foster care, legal guardianship or adoption.

A foster home is a temporary home for children needing out of home care due to abuse or neglect. Foster families provide a safe and nurturing home and are committed to working with birth families to reunite children with parents.  In the event that a child does not return home, foster families may become the permanent caregiver for the child either through adoption or permanent guardianship.

Adoption is the permanent placement option for children who have been in foster care who cannot return to their parents’ home. Children are legally free for adoption only after the court has terminated the parental rights of the birth parents.

Children in Oklahoma state care range in age from 0 to 21 and frequently are part of a sibling group that must remain together. Some of these children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities ranging from mild to severe.  More than half of the children in care are children of color. While over half are under the age of 12, there are many teenagers in care who need a foster home.

You do not have to be married. Applicants may be married, single, legally separated, or divorced.

Foster parents do not have to own a home. In fact, many foster parents rent their place of residence. Foster families must have a stable and verifiable income.

The home assessment and training is provided at no charge. There are costs incurred in obtaining a physical. There may be upfront costs in ensuring that your home is ready to care for a child.  In certain cases, TFI may be able to assist with some costs.

Families have the opportunity to determine their preference when making a decision regarding placement. TFI will tell you everything we know about a child when we contact you about making placement.  You may decline accepting placement of the child.  TFI is child focused and our goal is to find families who will meet the needs of the children in DHS custody.

TFI provides a number of supports to ensure you have success with the children in your home.  Some of the ways that we may support you include regular contact with agency staff, respite (as appropriate), ongoing training, support groups, assistance in locating child care for foster children, home visits, team meetings, phone consultation, and a formal process for sharing your concerns.  DHS provides financial reimbursement towards the care of the children in your home, and pays for child care if the home’s caregivers work outside of the home or attend school a sufficient number of hours.

Foster parents are paid by DHS, and the payment is made on a monthly basis to a Electonic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card or via direct deposit to your checking or savings account.

The daily and monthly rates begin at the below rates.  The daily rate may be increased if the child meets specific criteria identified by DHS.

Child’s age Daily rate Monthly rate
Birth through 5 years $15.17 $455.10
6 through 12 years $17.58 $527.40
13 years and older $19.76 $592.80

The minimum age is 21 and preferably no more than 55 years older than the child considered for placement.

  1. Must complete TFI Family Connections’ 6 hour Orientation training.
  2. Applicants must complete Guiding Principles for Oklahoma Bridge Resource Families, a 27 hr. pre-service training. TFI offers this through an “online” or DVD video version of 21 hours combined with 6 hours in person training.  The in person training can be done in a group session or one on one.
  3. All foster parents must complete 12 hours of continuing in-service training per calendar year on subjects that promote their skills and interests as providers.

The concept of “bridging” refers to the foster parent being willing to “bridge the gap” with the birth parents to provide mentoring and support. This could include supervising visits, ensuring the birth parent is aware of doctor visits or school activities so they can attend (with the state’s approval) or even allowing the birth parent to come into your home and learn how to put the child to bed.  Each child’s situation is unique, and Bridging with the child’s family looks different for each child and foster home.   Your TFI worker and the child’s worker will help you identify what level of bridging is appropriate and safe for the child.  A more detailed explanation is available in our Bridge Concept section.

Therapeutic foster homes work with children with special behavioral needs through providing behavioral modification treatment of the child in their home.  The behaviors are such that the child cannot safely stay in a traditional foster home.  Therapeutic foster homes require additional intensive training than traditional foster homes.  There must be at least one trained treatment parent available to the child 24 hours a day.