The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' (DFPS')
policies for responding to inquiries and screening and approval of
foster and adoptive homes are as follows:
(1) Responding to inquiries. DFPS receives inquiries
as a result of recruitment efforts by staff, volunteers, foster and
adoptive parents, foster and adoptive parent associations, and other
organizations that work with DFPS. When inquiries are received, staff
should provide a written response within 10 working days to provide
families information about the process of becoming a foster or adoptive
parent with DFPS.
(2) Screening. When screening prospective foster and
adoptive parents, DFPS considers both the Minimum Standards promulgated
by Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) and the following factors:
(A) Age. Applicants to foster or adopt must be at least
21 years of age. Age is evaluated in relation to the applicant's maturity.
(i) Regarding foster parents, DFPS follows the Minimum
Standards promulgated by RCCL that govern married applicants. In order
for one spouse to be a foster parent, both spouses must be verified
to provide foster care.
(ii) Regarding adoptive parents:
(I) If an applicant is married but not separated and
wishes to submit an application, the applicant's spouse must join
in the application and the license or declaration of marriage must
(II) Except as provided in subclause (III) of this
clause, if an applicant is separated but not divorced, he or she may
submit an application, but is required to finalize the divorce before
the home can be approved.
(III) If an applicant seeking to adopt does not have
a finalized divorce, the Assistant Commissioner of Child Protective
Services, or designee, may grant a waiver if it is in the best interest
of the child to do so. Relevant factors in assessing whether to grant
a waiver include, but are not limited to, any family relationship
between the applicant and the child, any other significant prior relationship
between the applicant and the child, and the applicant's ability to
meet the child's particular needs as evidenced in an adoptive home
(C) Length of marriage. DFPS has a preference that
couples should be married at least two years before adopting. However,
DFPS does accept adoption applications from couples who have not been
married for at least two years. In this situation, an individual conducting
the home study must assess the stability of the couple's relationship
and their reason for wanting to adopt a child, this will include looking
at any current or prior family or other significant relationships
between the applicant and the child. This information will be used
by the individual conducting the home study in determining whether
the home study will be initially approved. Once the home study is
initially approved, it must also be approved by a Child Placement
(D) Single Parents. Single parents are evaluated in
terms of their ability to nurture and provide for a child without
assistance of a spouse. Placement with a single parent is considered
the best plan for some children.
(E) Disabilities. Disabilities are evaluated in relation
to the applicants' adjustment to the disability and the limits, if
any, that the disability imposes on the applicants' ability to care
for a child.
(F) Residence. Adoptive home screenings are started
only if the applicant(s) will live in the community long enough for
DFPS to complete a screening and make a placement. Exceptions are
made in unusual situations involving a child with special needs if
another licensed child placing agency in the new community agrees
to complete the adoption services.
(G) Adoption by foster families. Foster families are
evaluated using the same criteria applied to any other adoptive applicants.
The home screening must be updated to meet the minimum standards for
adoptive homes. The evaluation focuses on the family's demonstrated
skill and ability to parent the children DFPS has placed in the family's
care and determines the attachment the family and the child have to
(H) Finances. Although there are no specific income
requirements, the applicants must have enough income, and be able
to manage it well enough, to meet the child's basic material needs.
Income is also evaluated in terms of past and present management.
(I) Health. The applicants' physical, mental, and emotional
health must be sufficient to assume parenting responsibilities. Physical,
mental, and emotional conditions are considered to protect the child
against another loss of parenting through death, incapacity, or repetition
of abuse or neglect.
(J) Religion. There are no specific religion requirements.
Applicants are evaluated based on:
(i) Their willingness to respect and encourage a child's
(ii) Their willingness to provide a child opportunity
for religious, spiritual, and ethical development.
(iii) The health protection they plan to give a child
if their religious beliefs prohibit certain medical treatment.
(K) Discipline. Physical discipline may not be used
on a child in any DFPS foster or adoptive home prior to consummation.
DFPS evaluates applicants based on their willingness and ability to:
(i) recognize and respect differences in children,
especially children who have been abused or neglected;
(ii) employ methods of discipline that suit the particular
needs and circumstances of each child; and
(iii) employ methods of discipline that conform to
the policies specified in the Minimum Standards promulgated by Residential
Child Care Licensing.
(L) Criminal history. Criminal history background checks
must be completed on all prospective foster and adoptive parents and
the members of their households who are 14 years old or older and
not under the legal conservatorship of DFPS. Criminal history background
checks are conducted in accordance with the criminal history rules
promulgated by the Child Care Licensing Division of DFPS.
(M) Adoptive home screenings - fertility. Fertility
assessments may be needed if DFPS believes the couple needs to know
more about their fertility before they adopt a child. The couple's
fertility is important only in relation to resolution of their feelings
about their infertility and their ability to accept and parent a child
not born to them.
(N) Citizenship and immigration. Only U.S. citizens,
permanent residents, or other qualified aliens (as defined in 8 U.S.C. §1641(b))
can be approved as foster or adoptive parents. If an applicant who
seeks to adopt a child does not have the required immigration status,
the Assistant Commissioner of Child Protective Services or a designee,
may grant a waiver if it is in the best interest of the child to do
so. Relevant factors in assessing whether to grant a waiver include
any family relationship or other significant prior relationship between
the child and the applicant, and the applicant's ability to meet the
child's particular needs.
|Source Note: The provisions of this §700.1502 adopted to be effective October 31, 1984, 9 TexReg 5431; amended to be effective February 28, 1986, 11 TexReg 857; amended to be effective September 23, 1986, 11 TexReg 3900; amended to be effective August 15, 1990, 15 TexReg 4031; transferred effective September 1, 1992, as published in the Texas Register September 11, 1992, 17 TexReg 6279; amended to be effective January 1, 1994, 18 TexReg 8975; amended to be effective September 1, 1994, 19 TexReg 5967; amended to be effective August 1, 1996, 21 TexReg 3213; amended to be effective June 15, 1997, 22TexReg 4641; amended to be effective January 1, 1998, 22 TexReg 12547; amended to be effective May 1, 2000, 25 TexReg 3295; amended to be effective March 1, 2001, 26 TexReg 1351; amended to be effective March 1, 2013, 38 TexReg 988