The Settlement Home for Children has a 100-year history of helping children and young adults across the state. We have a 10-year history of providing foster and adoptive services, in addition to the 24-hour care we provide. We work with Child Protective Services (CPS) case workers, CASAs, legal teams, families and kinship to provide permanence, safety and well-being for children in foster care.
According to Child Protective Services, positive permanency is an outcome in which a child exits the care of Department of Family and Protective Services into a permanent setting that includes reunification with family, kinship placement or adoption. Every child has the right to a permanent and stable home, even during their tenure in foster care. There is no adequate substitute for stable, permanent family ties. Both foster and adoptive families provide the child with a sense of belonging and connection to the larger world.
There are more than 28,000 children in the Texas foster care system at any given time. 3,000 of these children are waiting to be adopted into forever families. All of these children are in need of safe temporary or permanent homes with parents who have a strong desire to help kids heal from trauma.
At The Settlement Home, our goal is to provide this positive permanency for every child that comes into our care. To take it one step further, it is our hope that when we place a child into an adoptive family, it is his or her last step in the journey through foster care. We hope to have final placements with 90% of our children.
If you’ve ever considered Foster or Adoption, you probably have lots of questions. We’re going to break some of them down for you here.
Q: Who are the children in need of foster and adoptive homes?
A: The children needing your home are usually part of a sibling group, they may be school age or older, they come from many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and they may have some medical or behavioral needs. All children awaiting foster or adoptive parents come from a background of abuse and neglect, and will need a parent who understands trauma-informed parenting.
Q: What is the difference between adoption though an agency that specializes in birth-mother adoption and adopting through the foster care system?
A: When prospective parents feel strongly that they want to adopt a baby and parent a child from infancy, it is important that they explore private adoption where you are matched with a birth mother. However, if a family has a desire to grow their family while also helping children who come into care due to abuse and neglect, fostering and adopting through the foster care system is an option. Parents who successfully parent children from foster care have an understanding that this process is about finding the right match of parents for children who are awaiting homes and not the other way around.
Q: How is parenting children from the foster care system different that parenting biological children?
A: Children are placed in foster care due to trauma, abuse and neglect. Families working with these children parent from a background of Trauma-Informed Care and meeting a child’s need individually. Foster and adoptive parents must be willing to assess their own style of attachment, make sense of how they were raised, and parent mindfully in order to help children heal. Parents must have flexibility in their schedules, as the training and parenting process is time-intensive. Parents also must be willing to provide a safe home for children, which sometimes means making adjustments to meet a child’s needs even after you feel they are safe and taken care of. Children are not actually safe until they FEEL safe.
Q: What is the process to be a foster or adoptive parent?
A: The first step is to contact the Foster and Adoption Program’s Family Developer to set up an orientation. The process to be verified as a foster parent and adoptive parent is very similar. There is an application packet and paperwork. Parents must complete Pre-Service Training classes, which consist of 40 hours of classes, including in-person training, online training, and CPR and First Aid certification. We require a home health inspection from the local health department and fire inspection from the fire department. The Program Team at The Settlement Home for Children completes a home study based on an interview with you and your family about who you are, as well as the strengths and challenges that you bring as a parent. All families verified through The Settlement Home also complete 10-40 hours of observation with other families. The entire process can take as little as three months or as long as a year, depending on how motivated you are.
Have more questions? Want to know more about our program? Visit our website to learn more.