SAN ANGELO, Texas — The Concho Valley is looking for licensed foster care parents. The shortage is causing causing approximately 74% of children in need of foster care are having to leave Tom Green County.
According to Rebeka Samples, Children's Hope area director, keeping siblings together while in foster care is the agency's number one goal; however, it is not always the case.
"Unfortunately, due to the shortage of foster homes and the shortage of available beds, a lot of our siblings are having to be split," Samples said.
The square footage of the residence will determine how many children a foster parent can have.
Each child should have a minimum of 40 sq. ft. of recreational and bedroom space.
"As long as they have that square footage in each bedroom, the car space, etc. they can have up to six children in the home and that’s including biological children," Samples said.
To be licensed as a foster parent, a person must meet the following basic requirements:
- Pass a background check.
- Be at least 21.
- Be financially responsible.
- Single, married, divorced, cohabitating couples as long as they show some type of stability.
- Have at least a high school diploma.
- Take the high school diploma equivalency test offered by the agency.
The process to become a licensed foster parent takes an average of three to six months.
The first step in becoming foster parents is to find agency and find out what its process is.
"Usually there’s a home inspection, the area director, recruiter, or home developer will go to the house check it out make sure your house looks good," Samples said.
Following the home inspection, the agency will begin asking for documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, driver license, proof of auto and homeowners insurance, as well as bank statements and proof of education.
After the documents are received, the individual will need to complete some training before moving on to the home study process.
"The agency or contractor comes out to the home and asks you a lot of questions," Samples said. "They put together a whole essay about who you are, your family and the dynamic of the house. After that you get licensed."
Individuals can decide whether or not they wish to continue being foster parents at any time.
"Usually about every year, every two years, the agency will go in make sure everything is going good," Samples said.
For individuals who choose to remain licensed foster parents, updated documents will be requested throughout the process.
Children's Hope is one of six agencies in the Concho Valley that help individuals become licensed foster parents.
Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent can attend the monthly information meeting held by the agencies on the second Tuesday of each month.
The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 11 at 14 S. Jefferson St.
A list of agencies and contact information for each agency can be found on the Fostering Concho Valley Kids social media pages.