Texas Foster Care Adoption Guide

Everything You Need to Know to Adopt a Child from Foster Care in TX

Curious about Texas foster care adoption? This process is known by many names, such as state adoption, public adoption, Child Protective Services (CPS) adoption, or a Texas DFPS adoption (Texas Department of Family and Protective Services adoption). However, they’re all the same process. If you’re interested in learning more about this path to parenthood, you’ve come to the right place.

Adopting a child from foster care in Texas is a life-changing journey that can be an amazing experience for you and for the child you hope to adopt from Texas foster care. But, that doesn’t make it easy. Fortunately, we’re here to help provide you with the information and resources on how to adopt from foster care in Texas.

We created this guide to Texas foster care and adoption in an effort answer common questions like:

  • How can I know if foster care adoption in Texas is right for me?
  • How does the CPS adoption process in Texas work?
  • Is there an adoption subsidy in Texas that can help?
  • Which professionals will I need to work with?
  • What is the difference between adoption and foster care in Texas?

This guide will answer those questions and provide you with a better understanding of how the foster care system works. From there, you’ll be able to approach your foster care adoption through the state of Texas fully informed and with confidence. Here’s what you should know about adopting a child from CPS in Texas:

Understanding the Texas Foster Care System

There are a lot of misconceptions about what foster care is and how it works. The most important thing you should understand about fostering or adopting a child in Texas is that adoption is rarely the goal of the foster care system.

The first goal for children in Texas foster care is always reunification with their biological family, and to preserve the original family unit. For most children in foster care, this goal will be met. It’s only when reunification no longer becomes a viable option that permanent adoption into a different family becomes the new goal for a child in foster care.

Most foster parents do not adopt the children placed in their home. Instead, they provide a safe and supportive temporary home for children as they await reunification with their families.

So, when are children in foster care eligible for state adoptions in Texas? Only once a judge deems reunification with the biological family is no longer an option and the biological parents’ legal rights are terminated.

At that point, the child’s case worker will look for the most suitable permanent placement for the child, in order of priority and based on the individual situation:

  • First priority when selecting a permanent adoptive family is usually given to any biological relatives who are willing and able, in an effort to preserve existing family relationships.
  • If that’s not an option, a previous family who had temporarily fostered the child may be asked if they are willing and able to permanently adopt the child (i.e. foster to adopt).
  • Then, if that’s not an option, an outside adoptive family would be considered (i.e. foster care adoption).

Is Adopting a Child Through Foster Care in Texas Right for You?

Adoption through foster care in Texas is not right for everyone. But how will you know if this type of adoption is right for you and your family?

Many people are curious about how to adopt a baby from CPS in Texas. But it’s worth noting that families are rarely able to adopt an infant from Texas CPS. You may be able to foster-to-adopt Texas infants, but there is no guarantee that any foster child will ever become eligible for adoption. Typically, infants will be reunited with their biological families. Adopting a child in Texas foster care who is older or part of a sibling set is more likely.

If your ideal adoption dream involves raising a child from infancy, then domestic infant adoption is probably a better path for you. But, if your dream involve adopting an older child from foster care in Texas or a sibling set — providing them with love, support and guidance through life — the right fit for you may be adopting through foster care. Texas hopeful parents should ask themselves some important questions, like:

  • Am I fully educated about the process of adopting a child in Texas through CPS, as well as the needs of children adopted through foster care?
  • Am I prepared to adopt an older child, a sibling set, or a child with special needs?
  • Can I be patient as I wait for the system to find a placement for my family?
  • Am I ready for both the challenges and joys of adopting a foster child in Texas?
  • Am I ready for the responsibilities that come with adopting from Texas foster care and for parenthood of an adopted foster child?

Take your time. Learn everything you can about Texas foster care adoption, and then reach out to a foster care professional if you think you might be ready.

How to Adopt a Child From Foster Care in Texas

If you’ve decided that the Texas foster adoption process is right for you, you can start the process as soon as you feel ready. Remember that there are plenty of complexities and variables in the Texas foster care adoption process that we aren’t able to fully cover in this general overview. We’re here to give you the basics, but it’ll be up to you to prepare yourself more thoroughly.

With that in mind, here are the five steps of how to adopt a child from CPS in Texas:

Step 1: Choose an Agency

You’ll first need to choose the organization through which you’ll adopt a child. This is a complex process, so you’ll need an experienced and reputable professional as your guide and provider of Texas foster care and adoption services.

Remember that not all agencies are created equal. Do your research to choose the foster care agency that you feel is best able to protect, educate and support you (and your future child) throughout this life-changing journey.

Step 2: Complete the State Application

All hopeful parents must meet the Texas foster care adoption requirements before they can move forward. This is important for ensuring children are placed into safe and loving homes, with families who are able to provide for their needs.

The requirements you’ll need to meet in the state of Texas will include:

  • A valid and adequate source of income
  • Health records
  • Criminal background check
  • And more

The state agency ensures that these requirements are met in your initial application, and then they’ll give you the all-clear to move on to the next step, which will be:

Step 3: Complete the Home Study

Your initial application checked to make sure that you are in a position to provide a safe home for a child, but that’s just a base eligibility check. The home study process is a continuation of that process on a more detailed level.

All hopeful foster and adoptive parents must complete a home study through the Texas foster care department. They’ll assess how ready you are to welcome a foster child into your life and home.

Step 4: Waiting and Placement

Once you’ve completed your home study, you’ll wait to be matched with a child. This may take days, weeks, or months. Your agency will want to make sure that you and a child are well-matched, and that a potential placement would be in everyone’s best interests.

Your agency will contact you if they think there’s a waiting child who may be a good match for your family. Before placement occurs, you’ll work with your agency to review files and, potentially, get to meet the child. Then, if you and the child think the placement is right, you’ll welcome them home.

Step 5: Finalization

The final step in how to adopt a child in Texas through CPS will be to make your child a permanent and legal member of your family! A finalization hearing will be scheduled to occur about six months after your initial placement.

Prior to that hearing, your social worker will return to conduct post-placement visits, similar to the pre-placement visits conducted in your home study. This time, they will be checking to make sure everyone is adjusting well.

Then, at the hearing, a judge will issue a final decree of adoption, marking the completion of your Child Protective Services (CPS) adoption. Texas families often view this as a moment when their family becomes official.

How to Foster to Adopt in Texas

What we just described was the process for a foster care adoption. But, there’s a different way of how to adopt through foster care in Texas, called foster to adopt. Texas families will reach a similar outcome, but there is a difference between a straight foster care adoption and foster to adopt in Texas.

When you pursue a straight foster care adoption, you always have the intention of adopting a child. But the Texas foster-to-adopt process starts out as temporary foster parenting and leaves the option of adoption a possibility.

In the Texas foster-to-adopt process, you start out with the intention to provide care until a child is reunited with his or her biological parents. Things may change, however, when the child instead becomes eligible for adoption. Then, you may decide to adopt the child permanently.

Remember that not all foster children will become eligible for adoption, so you may or may not have the ability to adopt a foster child through the Texas foster-to-adopt program.

Texas Foster Care Adoption Subsidy

Adoption through CPS in Texas is one of the least expensive ways to grow your family. It can cost little to nothing. Typically, you will only pay fees to your agency, attorney and other administrative fees, with an average total cost of less than $5,000.

However, you’ll need to be prepared for the costs of raising a child into adulthood and beyond. These costs will naturally be higher for families who choose to adopt a child with special needs.

Fortunately, there is a Texas foster care adoption assistance subsidy that is designed to help with the added costs of raising a child with special needs. You can learn more about the adoption subsidy in Texas and how much you could be eligible to receive from the Texas Department for Children and Families here.

Foster Care Adoption Texas Photolisting

Interested in learning more about the children who are currently eligible for adoption and are waiting for a family through CPS adoptions in Texas? Start with a foster care photolisting website, like one of these:

Remember that many details need to be omitted from a child’s public profile to protect their privacy. If you’re interested in learning more about waiting foster kids for adoption, Texas residents need to contact the foster care agency directly. They’ll be able to walk you through how to adopt a child in Texas Child Protective Services custody.

Texas Foster Care Adoption Agencies

If you’re ready to take the first step, it’s time to choose an agency. Whether you choose a Texas state adoption agency or a privately owned agency, they’ll all work with the Texas Department of Child Protective Services. Adoption-curious families should be sure to research each option, and make time for a preliminary phone call with a specialist at the agencies you’re considering.

Foster adoption agencies in Texas you may consider contacting if you want to learn how to adopt a foster child in Texas include:

Other Types of Adoption in Texas

If you’re not confident that adoption in Texas through CPS is right for you, you may want to learn a bit about the other types of adoption in Texas, so you can choose the path that’s best for your family. Start with our complete guide to Texas adoption, as well as our specific guides to domestic infant adoption and international adoption in the Lone Star State.