Each year, more than 1,000 children will turn 18 and age out of Texas’ foster care system
without being connected with a permanent family. Due to the current state of the
industry constantly changing at local, state, and national levels, there is an increased
need for foster families and access to resources that help children in the foster care
system. When we begin working with a child in need at Arms Wide, we see a future full of
possibilities: a permanent home; a child’s stability; a family fulfilled.
Let’s review some facts: Of the 20,000–30,000 kids in foster care, only a little more than
20% are eligible to be adopted. That leaves 5,000–6,000 children waiting to be adopted
just in Texas alone. These numbers are particularly concerning when we dig a little
deeper into what this means for their futures. Studies of youth who have aged out of
foster care show these youth are more likely than those in the general population to be
without a high school diploma or GED, be unemployed, and be dependent on public
assistance. After these children age out of foster care, more than 25 percent are likely to
be incarcerated within two years and the same percentage will likely experience
homelessness within two years. Additionally, 60 percent of these youth have children
within four years of exiting foster care and those children are twice as likely to be placed
in the foster care system as their peers.
With numbers like these, it is important to demystify the process of becoming a foster
parent and provide information about how other individuals can get involved to support
these children and their futures. For starters, interested individuals have the option to get
involved with caring for children in a variety of ways. At Arms Wide, we provide a range
of services from foster care and foster care adoption to kinship care and permanency
There are many misconceptions about foster care and what it takes to become a foster
parent. People think it costs a lot of money to become a foster parent. At Arms Wide,
there is no fee for families to foster children in need. The only expenses a family would
incur are those associated with ensuring that their home meets the minimum safety
standards required. This would include purchasing fire extinguishers and other safety
items for the home and getting the proper inspections done in order for it to become a
Contrary to popular belief, single parents are also eligible to foster children. In the United
States and Texas, marital status or the existence of a spouse does not affect eligibility to
foster or adopt a child. Certain agencies will have policies prohibiting single parent
adoptions, but Arms Wide is committed to ensuring all children in foster care find the
right family for them – no matter the type or size.
Many people believe they are not able to be foster parents because they would get too
attached to the child. These individuals are the exact type of parents we need – ones who
will love these children like their own, while their parents are given time to get back on
their feet or until they can be joined with a relative or kin caregiver or move into
adoption. Foster families will tell you that it can be heart-breaking when a child in their
care leaves; however, when you consider the impact that you will have had on the child,
for whatever period of time they were with you, the reward is priceless. Foster families
are bridges to permanency – selflessly loving a child, putting the needs of the children
first and providing them with the stability they need until they reach permanency
through reunification with the first family or through adoption.
Arms Wide offers a variety of support services for foster families including peer support
groups and access to their respective Coordinators 24 hours a day, including weekends.
We believe our foster parents should not be alone on their journey, and providing support
is crucial to the care and well-being of our children. Arms Wide Foster Care Coordinators
communicate with their respective parents weekly and see the children at least once a
month. For more details on becoming a foster family and attending an Arms Wide info
session, click here.
Individuals who are eager to help out, but not quite ready to begin the foster care process
can make a donation to your local or state-level adoption services agency, invite your
local agencies to your church, neighborhood association, or professional group to help
raise awareness for its services, or contact your state representative and let them know
that providing a better future for children in foster care is important to you.
There are plenty of ways to help children within the foster system, and we encourage you
to research how you can get involved.