You’ve finally made it through the formalities of becoming a foster parent, and you’re wondering, what’s next? Many people wonder, can you choose who you foster? The answer to that question requires a certain amount of explaining. As children come into the foster care system, some will temporarily or permanently be placed with foster families. The caseworker’s objective is to determine which family can meet the child’s needs, considering the foster family’s desire, whether it be for one child or sibling groups. When the Pathways staff identifies a child they believe may be a good match for your family, they will call and provide you with information about the child. You can then decide whether or not you think the child would be a good fit for your home.
Once a child is placed in your home, staff will be assigned to your family and will work directly with you in meeting the needs of the child or children. Pathways has an experienced treatment team to support your family, including licensed therapists, social workers, behavior specialists, and psychiatrists. In emergencies, Pathways case managers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Foster parents are also offered ongoing training opportunities throughout the year. Training and other activities provide ways for foster families to meet each other and develop additional support networks. Many times, foster families become friends and rely on each other for respite care and different support needs.
Can You Choose a Child’s Gender When Fostering?
Having to decide the age and gender of the children you would like to welcome into your home, is something every foster parent is asked, and has to consider when going through the initial process. Can you choose who you foster? Not down to the last detail; but you do have the opportunity to state your preferences. Foster homes can be made up of either all girls or all boys; it’s entirely up to you. An excellent example of this is the way Pathways came to be. In 1992, Pathways Youth Home received a license to operate as an independent therapeutic foster family home for six boys in Leakey, Texas. Over the next 15 years, Pathways services expanded across the state of Texas to offer an array of services and support resources to boys and girls. Today, Pathways offices are in Austin, Abilene, Dallas, Houston, Clear Lake, Kerrville, Odessa, Mountain Home, and San Antonio. Now and in the future, Pathways’ mission is to transform lives, families, and communities.
As you may know by now, fostering requires a high level of dedication, openness to communicate with staff, and commitment to work with a child daily when issues arise. The reward of helping a child is worth the work! Children in foster care need and deserve a nurturing environment where they can feel safe and thrive.