CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — November is National Adoption Month, a time to highlight the urgent need for adoptive families for children and youth in foster care.
In Texas, there are currently 2,973 children seeking to be adopted. Of that number, 248 are from South Texas, with 56 living in Nueces County.
The prospective foster/adoptive parents may be single or married and must:
- be at least 21 years of age, financially stable, and responsible mature adults;
- complete an application;
- share information regarding their background and lifestyle;
- provide relative and non-relative references;
- show proof of marriage and/or divorce (if applicable);
- agree to a home study, which includes visits with all household members;
- allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household;
- attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children.
The training provides an opportunity for both the family and the Department of Family & Protective Services to assess whether foster care or adoption is best for the family. The family may withdraw from the meetings at any time, and there is no charge for the meetings.
In addition to the basic requirements, foster parents must:
- have adequate sleeping space;
- allow no more than 6 children in the home, including your own children or children for whom you provide day care;
- agree to a non-physical 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 for household members;
- attend 20 hours or more of training each year.
The responsibilities of foster and adoptive parents include:
- provide daily care and nurturing of children in foster care;
- advocate for children in their schools and communities;
- inform the child's caseworkers about adjustments to the home, school, and community, as well as any problems that may arise, including any serious illnesses, accidents, or serious occurrences involving the foster children or their own families;
- make efforts as team members with child's caseworkers towards reunifying children with their birth families;
- provide a positive role model to birth families;
- help children learn life skills.
- provide permanent homes and a lifelong commitment to children into adulthood;
- provide for the short-term and long-term needs of children;
- provide for a child's emotional, mental, physical, social, educational and cultural needs, according to each child's developmental age and growth;
- may become certified as a foster family and accept children who are not legally free for adoption, but whose permanency plan is adoption.
To learn more, begin by attending the next information meeting for Corpus Christi/Nueces County on Monday, Dec. 9 at either 11 a.m. or 6 p.m. It will take place at the DFPS office (4201 Greenwood Drive).
Additional information may be found at www.adoptchildren.org or by calling (800) 233-3405.