What Are the Benefits of Being a Foster Parent in Texas?

by Sheryl Faber

    Becoming a foster parent may be one of the most satisfying and fulfilling roles you can take on. And, if you live in the state of Texas, there are benefits to providing temporary, and sometimes long-term homes, to foster children in your area. These benefits can be both emotional and financial in nature and can assist foster parents in providing the best possible care for their young charges.

    Monthly Stipend

    The state of Texas provides a monetary stipend to those who take on the care of foster children. This amount varies depending on the age, length of care, level of child's abilities and special needs of the foster child. According to the Department of Family and Protective Services rate chart, a household caring for a child who needs only basic care would receive $22.15 per day, whereas the stipend for a child who requires specialized care would be $49.85 per day. This assists the foster parent in paying for clothing, food, extracurricular activities and other items or extra services outside of what is already provided.

    Medical Care

    Foster children are provided free health, dental and psychological care. The Texas foster care system also ensures that your foster child will receive free immunizations, hospital care, prescriptions and other medical supplies if needed. This is provided through the Superior Health Plan which is part of the Texas Star Program. It is the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's (HHSC) Medicaid Managed Care Program. Superior provides assistance with not only health care, but behavioral and social needs as well.

    Support Services and Training

    Support services are readily available to foster parents. These may include support groups, respite care and trauma therapy. Specialized training also prepares foster parents for all the unknowns that are common to children in foster care. This required 10-week training is known as Parent Resource Information Development Education (PRIDE). PRIDE "covers topics such as child attachment, loss and grief, discipline and behavior intervention, effects of abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, working with the child welfare system, and the effects of fostering and adopting on the family." According to the Department of Family and Protective Services, "foster homes caring for children receiving only child-care services must complete 20 hours of annual training per home" after the initial training is complete. Other training that is required outside of PRIDE for all adoptive and foster parents includes first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a psychotropic medications course and child containment methodology.

    Making a Difference

    Most importantly, foster parents gain the satisfaction of knowing that they can make a difference in a child's life by providing temporary care until the child can safely be returned to the parents or become adopted. A temporary placement can make all the difference to a youngster if foster parents show concern and care about his future and well-being. Kind words, encouragement and an exposure to normal family life can go far in providing the child with confidence and hope for the future. Foster Angels of Central Texas, an agency in alliance with DFPS, strives to expose foster children to positive influences, activities and experiences that help them reach their full potential.

    About the Author

    Sheryl Faber is a graduate of Minnesota State University. She has had articles published in "True Story" magazine, "Club Management Magazine" and on the websites for San Antonio Weddings and Sante' Foodservice. Faber is also a screenwriter and has movies currently under contract.

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