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If becoming a professional parent sounds appealing, but a little bit overwhelming, don’t worry. That’s normal. Professional parenting can be challenging, but also highly rewarding. And we’re here to help every step of the way.
It all begins with a careful screening in order to ensure that each foster parent applicant can effectively meet the physical, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of the children in their care.
Once it’s determined that Professional Parenting is a right fit for you and your family, we will provide all the training and licensing required by the state. As a professional parent, you will receive the best training available, and we will work closely with you to make sure you have the skills and support necessary to handle these specialized behaviors. We also go out of our way to match the right child with the right family, so that the foster care experience is a positive one for all involved.
As part of the ACH family, you’ll be a vital team member helping make important decisions about a child’s life. You’ll work alongside your Foster Care Specialist and Child Protective Services, to ensure that the health, educational, recreational and therapeutic needs of the child in your care are met. You’ll have access to a wide range of helpful resources, the result of almost a century of service to children and families. In our efforts to protect children and preserve families, we know your success is critical. So we provide all the tools and support you need to become a professional caregiver who is constantly learning and improving.
Becoming a professional parent is a process, and it begins with you. You must first determine if this is something that is right for you. We can assist you in this important evaluation process, but ultimately you will have to determine if professional parenting is a good fit for your family. A great first step in this process is deciding whether you meet the qualifications.
Foster Parenting Qualifications:
Because the role of foster care parent is so important, the following qualifications must me met before you can even be considered as a candidate:
- Capacity to love and nurture children
- Can be married, single or divorced
- High School Diploma or GED
- 21 years old or older
- Legal US resident
- Texas Driver’s license, proof of insurance and dependable vehicle
- Must have a working telephone
- In good or well-managed health
- Maintain financial self-sufficiency
- Have adequate sleeping space
- Stability – No major transitions within the last year
- Demonstrate an open and accepting attitude of persons from different cultures, family backgrounds and life experiences with openness to long-term and short-term care
Additional requirement for professional parents:
- Limit the number of foster children placed in the home to one or two foster children who are assessed to have severe emotional and behavioral needs.
- Participate in ongoing training on attachment focused parenting and trauma informed care beyond the minimum requirements.
- Partner with other professionals such as a Foster/Adopt Specialist, therapist and intervention specialists to guide them in their practice.
The state of Texas does require licensing for both full-time or respite foster parenting, but we will walk alongside you through the entire process. The requirements for licensing, while not overly complicated, are extensive and include:
- Application and orientation to the agency
- Criminal background, child abuse history and fingerprint checks
- Reference checks
- Good health statements, including a cleared drug and TB screen
- Vaccinate all pets annually
- Fire and health inspections of your home
- 30 hours of pre-service training
- Eight hours of observation with an experienced foster/adoptive parent or at a licensed residential facility
- Home study
- Maintain annual training requirements
The ACH Foster Care Staff are prepared to assist you throughout the entire licensing process, which can take from two to four months depending on the following:
- Your success in gathering family records that are required in order to complete the home study process
- The readiness of your family and the timing of your decision
There are two options available to you as an ACH Child and Family Services foster care parent. You can choose to provide full-time foster care or you can opt to become a part-time foster parent, offering what we commonly refer to as respite care. Respite care is designed to provide full-time licensed foster parents with much-needed breaks from the daily requirements of their job. As an approved respite care provider, you will be the full-time foster parent’s first line of defense against burnout; providing reliable, professional care for their foster children whether they need a night off or few days away to deal with a family emergency.
The qualifications and licensing are the same for both full- and part-time foster parenting. Respite care simply allows you to participate at a level that better fits your schedule.
This is the best part. When you apply to become a professional parent through ACH Child and Family services, we take care of all the costs, from your licensing to all required training, as well as TB and drug testing. There are some costs that you might incur, such as updating vaccinations for your pets or taking a trip to the physician so that they can verify your health status. Otherwise, the entire process is covered. Once the licensing process is completed, you will be reimbursed for the following requirements:
- Fire inspection
While we can license professional parents throughout the DFW area and into surrounding counties such as Johnson, Hood, Parker, Wise and Denton Counties, our main concern is proximity. We want our licensed professional parents to be located close enough to our offices so that we are able to assist them throughout their professional parenting experience, providing timely help for everything from everyday issues to crisis situations.
Professional parenting is hard work, and at ACH we believe in helping make your job as easy as we possibly can by providing a range of helpful services. We take our nearly 100 years of experience working with children and families and make it available to you. Our foster care team is ready to assist you virtually around the clock, providing support, insight, and resources designed to make you successful as a foster parent.
We are accredited by the nationally recognized Council on Accreditation, so you know you’re getting quality support from a quality organization. And we strive to provide that support by keeping each caseworker’s caseloads to a minimum so that you and the children placed in your home can get the individualized services you both deserve. When you need to renew or rest, we offer a paid respite plan for our foster parents that gives you time away knowing your foster child is being well-cared for. We provide regular training and the opportunity to participate in our on-going Foster Parent Support Group and mentoring program.
While we are not affiliated with any specific religious denomination and receive no funding as part of the budget of any religious organization, ACH has been nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and believes that faith relationships and faith communities can be a vital source of support for children and families. We do not require our foster care parents to be members of or active in a specific denomination or faith community. Yet we do acknowledge the positive benefits that spiritual connections can play in raising a child.
If you think being a foster parent might be right for you, the follow the directions below to begin the application process. If you have additional questions or would simply like to talk to someone from the ACH staff, call us at 817-886-7140.
- Download and complete the Foster/Adoptive Parent Application
- Complete the Contact Form to receive a return call
You can also click on our Getting Started link below for more detailed information.