Adoption & Foster Care
We are thrilled to learn that you are interested in reading about our adoption and foster care services program. Take as much time as you need. Our prayer is that you are interested in becoming a CK Family, volunteering your talents, or making a financial donation. If you still have questions after reading the information on this page please give us a call and one of our experienced staff will be happy to help you find answers.
Our Adoption and Foster Care program licenses foster homes, verifies adoption families, and assists kinships families in obtaining permanency for children. We want to ensure that every child in foster care is matched with a family that is qualified and skilled at meeting the child’s specific needs. At CK, our goal is to help you meet these requirements and educate you on what you must do to become a verified adoptive and/or foster family.
Our kids and our program frequently needs the help of volunteers who perform a variety of jobs from providing babysitting and respite care to helping to spread awareness and raise funds. Even if you are not at a place in your life where becoming a CK Family makes sense, you can still help by contacting us about volunteering your talents.
There is a consistent and ongoing need for financial donations to ensure that our kids receive the care, treatment, and services necessary to empower them to be successful. We know that you have options when it comes to deciding where to invest your money and we are grateful that you are considering making a financial donation to CK Family Services. Money donated to CK Family Services is an investment in the future of your community.
The information on this page is specific to how our program operates in relationship with the Texas foster care system. CK Family Services is licensed by The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) as a Child Placing Agency (CPA). This license allows us to operate under contract with DFPS to provide foster care and adoption services to children who are in the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS).
Foster parents provide safe and loving homes for children who have been abused and neglected while the biological family is not able to care for them.
When a child is in need of a permanent and loving home, CK Families offer the most outstanding forever families for children coming from hard places.
Adoption & Foster Care
Frequently referred to as “foster to adopt” or “dual licensed”, many families decide to become licensed to provide foster care and verified to adopt children.
When the state investigates an allegation of abuse and/or neglect a child is found to be unsafe within their family of origin and other relatives and friends (kin) are not immediately available, the state assumes custody of the child and places the child into foster care. Foster families provide temporary care for children while birth families work through a 12-18 month plan with the court in order to regain custody. CK Family Services seeks to partner with families that are able to commit to caring for a child regardless of how long they will need to remain in placement.
The purpose of the CK Family Services foster care program is to provide quality care in a family setting for children and adolescents who cannot remain with their families. The primary mission in our foster care program is to support children and their families of origin in their reunification efforts, whenever possible. Foster parents must work with children to heal their relationships with their birth parents, siblings, family members, peers and others.
At CK, we are committed to finding every child in North Texas a safe, loving and stable home environment. We partner with Child Protective Services (CPS) to ensure the safety of each of the children that come into our care.
We are always looking for dedicated families in North Texas who would be willing to care for these children when their biological families are unable. Foster care is a temporary placement and at CK we aim for every biological family to have the opportunity for reunification. In the event that a child is unable to return home, we work to find the appropriate permanent home for the child.
Foster parenting requires unconditional love to children who most often may have never experience love of any kind and may not know how to accept it. CK staff are dedicated to giving your family all the resources we can to equip you to serve these children to the best of your ability and will be by your side every step of the way.
All of our families must demonstrate financial and emotional stability as we aim to provide the best environment for these children in crisis.
Sometimes a child who is placed in foster care is not able to be reunited with their birth family, other relatives or kinship caregivers during the 12-18 month service plan issued by the court. In these situations the court will typically sever the legal relationship between the child and their biological parents. While this is usually the case, there are also times when a child’s biological parents will voluntarily relinquish their rights to parent the child. When either of these scenarios occurs, the child is considered to be legally free for adoption.
Children in foster care who are legally free to be adopted are matched with adoptive families for the purpose of providing a permanent, forever-family for the children. These matches may be made through the foster care process by the foster family who has cared for the family choosing to be add the child to their family permanently, or with families who are matched with children specifically for the purpose of adoption. Adoptive families assume the permanent responsibility for the child, forever, and welcome into their family, permanently.
During the licensing process, CK adoptive families can expect to have a home study written as part of the preparation for deciding what strengths and weaknesses your family possesses that might compliment a child’s specific needs. These may include age, gender, race and physical and mental health. These home studies will be evaluated as our team works with CPS to find an appropriate adoptive family for the child.
Foster & Adoption
When a child is unable to return home to their biological family, their foster family will have the opportunity to adopt them as apart of theirs. This is a beautiful opportunity for a family to offer a child a forever family.
The termination of parental rights and the legal process of adoption are complex procedures. In 2014, children spent an average of 12 months in foster care between the time when parental rights were terminated and their adoption.
It’s important to recognize that when considering fostering a child and adopting, the adoption can’t be finalized until the child’s birth parents rights have been identified, notified of their legal rights, given an opportunity to participate in the court process, and the terminations of parental rights (TPR) process is completed.
Our agency, offers dual licensing which means that you will be certified to foster and adopt if you choose to do so.
Each of our CK families are assigned a caseworker who will ensure that each child’s needs and rights to safety, permanency and well-being are met. It is important to be flexible and set realistic hopes and expectations for you and your family during this process, including after the adoption has been finalized. CK offers a variety of post adoptive resources to help with learning, medical, behavioral or emotional challenges that a child might experience during this transition.
What is a Kinship Caregiver?
Kinship & Fictive Kinship Caregivers are families that have been approved by CPS and the courts to care for a child for whom they have an established relationship. While Kinship Care approval requires background checks and an assessment, the process is not dictated by law and may vary by county and court. Additionally, CPS staff offer supports for families, but there are no ongoing financial reimbursements or regulated case management services plan.
In 2008, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act was signed into law. Through Fostering Connections, Kinship Caregivers may complete ALL of the steps required for Foster Care and/or Adoption verification and begin to receive the same benefits upon verification and formal placement of the kinship children into foster care and/or adoption with the family. This is possible even if the case plan is still aimed toward reunification.
If you are providing Kinship Care and are interested in learning more about how you and the children in your care can benefit from Fostering Connections, please contact us today and we can help you receive these services.
Final Outcome Options for Kinship Caregivers
A major intent of Fostering Connections is to aid children in state custody in finding permanent placements. Kinship Caregivers often begin caring for children early in a case when it is still possible for the children to be reunified with the person(s) from whom they were removed. If the children will not be able to be returned, Adoption or Permanent Managing Conservatorship are usually offered as a final permanency outcome. These outcomes allow CPS to close the case, once completed, and allows the family the normalcy of family life without ongoing involvement from the state. For more information about Adoption and Permanent Managing Conservatorship, check out this link: Adoption & Permanent Managing Conservatorship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Adoption & Foster Care
CK is dedicated to providing excellent service to our families. We partner with our families and work diligently to help them succeed. In addition, Covenant Kids strives to serve God by ministering to children. Our employees feel that God has placed them with this agency to do His work. We strive to face every situation from a Christian perspective.
Covenant Kids provides prayer support for all of our families and children. Each family also has the continual support of a dedicated case manager, who stays in touch with regular phone/email contact and face-to-face visits. In addition, the entire treatment team is involved in consultation. This team includes CK staff, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, school personnel and CPS workers. CK offers opportunities for families to fellowship, agency-wide outings and free ongoing training on a variety of pertinent topics. New families also have the opportunity to partner with a mentor family who is experienced in caring for foster/adoptive children.
Covenant Kids is a Christian, faith-based agency. We are not affiliated with a specific denomination or church. We ask for our families to be able to sign our Statement of Faith and to be actively involved in a Christian church that is also aligned with the agency Statement of Faith. We believe that faith in God and the support of a church family can enhance a family’s ability to care for abused and neglected children.
Children come to Covenant Kids through a variety of sources. Children come to Covenant Kids for foster care placement through Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS is the agency through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services that receives and investigates referrals of abuse and/or neglect. If it is determined from an investigation that a child has been abused and/or neglected, and the parents or guardians of the child are seen as unable to provide a safe environment for the child, CPS may remove the child from his/her birth home. The State of Texas, through CPS, then becomes the legal guardian of the child. CPS then seeks a foster home as a temporary placement for the child.
Children may also arrive in a Covenant Kids home for adoptive care through CPS, as well. In these cases, the birth family has had 12-18 months to work toward reunification of the child with their family but has not been found to be successful in completing the goals set by the court.
Additionally, children may be placed with a Covenant Kids family for the purposes of adoption by a birth family that is choosing to make an adoption plan for their child. In these Private Domestic Adoption cases, the birth family has the opportunity to select a family verified for adoption through the Covenant Kids Embrace Adoption program.
Do I have to take every child referred for my home, or do I have a say in which children I am willing to accept?
Covenant Kids requests that every family voice their preferences for the types of children the family feels they can handle. Because Covenant Kids wants every placement to be a good match, the family is provided with all the available information about a child. This information can include the child’s history, current needs, behaviors, and emotional status. This information is provided prior to the placement. The family has the right to reject a possible placement without fear of retaliation of any sort from Covenant Kids. Families are encouraged to voice their concerns about a placement before it occurs to help reduce the risk of any additional disruptions in the child’s life.
The length of time a child lives in the home is dependent on the child’s case and permanency plan. The initial plan for most children coming into foster care is reunification with their biological family once progress has been made to ensure a safe home environment for the child. If this is not possible, every effort is made to locate a relative willing and able to take the child. For children whose families are unable to provide a safe environment, CPS will ask the court to terminate the rights of the parents, thus freeing the child for adoption. These children remain in foster care until a suitable adoptive home can be found for them. In some cases, children may stay in long-term foster care until the age of emancipation (age 18) or until graduation from high school. At the time of placement, foster parents are informed of the child’s permanency plan, when possible, in an effort to provide the estimated length of time the child will need foster care placement. However, it is the aim of Covenant Kids to reduce the number of moves for any child, and we therefore require that families carefully examine their ability to provide long-term care for any child that is placed in their home.
The number of children permitted in each home is based on several factors: the evaluation and recommendations of Covenant Kids staff, the foster parents’ preferences, the perceived capabilities of the foster parents, square footage of the home, and the required parent-to-child ratio for supervision. Most homes can provide care for one to six children, including any biological children. With special approval, some homes are verified as group homes, allowing them to care for up to twelve children. Additional minimum standards apply for these homes.
Foster families provide temporary care for children while their birth parents work toward reunification. The birth families are almost always offered weekly visitation with their children in a supervised location. Foster families are expected to transport the children to these visits, and usually have the opportunity to meet the children’s birth families. We find that when foster families prayerfully prepare themselves to show compassion and empathy toward birth families, these experiences are positive and beneficial for the children. Covenant Kids has recently partnered with CPS in a pilot project to enhance the communication between foster and birth families. The outcomes of this project showed strengthened communication, healthier transitions for children, and more positive outcomes for foster and birth families.
What is the role and function of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS), Child Protective Services (CPS), Youth for Tomorrow (YFT) and CK Family Services (CK)?
Child Protective Services is the division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services that investigates allegations of abuse and neglect of children and determines whether the home environment is safe for that child. CPS becomes the Managing Conservator (legal guardian) once a child is removed from the biological home. Each child is assigned a CPS caseworker that continues to monitor the child while they are placed in foster care. The CPS caseworker is responsible for the legal portion of the child’s case and for working with the biological family of the child.
Covenant Kids is licensed through the state as a child placing agency. We are responsible for recruiting, training, verifying, maintaining and monitoring our foster and adoptive homes to the standards of the state. Covenant Kids is also responsible for ensuring that the children’s needs are met in an appropriate home setting. The CK case manager acts as a liaison between the foster family, the child and the CPS caseworker, providing documentation of the child’s progress, maintaining regular contact with the CPS caseworker, and participating in staffing at CPS that pertains to the child.
Youth for Tomorrow is an agency that provides assessment of children to determine the type of care they need based on an assessment of their emotional, medical, behavioral, and educational needs and level of supervision requirements. Based on their assessment, YFT assigns each child a Level of Care (LOC). Their LOC is used to determine the least restrictive and most appropriate type of placement for a child (basic care foster home, therapeutic foster home, psychiatric facility/hospital, or residential treatment center) and what services need to be provided while in care.
The Covenant Kids Case Manager will help parents secure medical/dental services, educational services, recreational activities and other services needed for the child. The case manager is able to help the parents in establishing and implementing a behavior management system within the home aimed at improving the child’s behavior based on effective rewards and consequences. Through consulting with other team members, the case manager is able to provide insight into a child’s behavior and emotional responses. The case manager will ensure that the parents are completing the necessary documentation required on each child in the home, and will monitor the home’s compliance with Minimum Standards, YFT standards, Covenant Kids’ policies and procedures, and the parents’ training and certification requirements. The case manager typically visits the home once a month and maintains additional contact via telephone and email.
Foster and adoptive parent(s) need to be mature couples or singles over 21 years of age who:
- Have a love for and commitment to children;
- If married, have been married for at least one year;
- Are personally committed to Jesus Christ and actively involved in a Christian church;
- Possess problem-solving skills and enjoy teaching children;
- Maintain a stable home environment;
- Have dependable transportation;
- Are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy;
- Are willing to participate in required Pre-Service Training, complete necessary documentation, and complete a required background check;
- Are open to participating in a home study interview during which the relationship of all household members will be assessed; and
- Are open to learning and growing and want to make a positive impact on children’s lives.
Covenant Kids believes that the verification process for foster care and adoption should be as efficient as possible. We understand that families choose begin the verification process because they want to serve kids. Therefore, we work diligently to help families become verified in approximately 3-4 months. The length of time needed to become a foster/adoptive parent largely depends on the prospective parents’ ability to commit to completing the required elements in a timely fashion.
TDFPS has the ultimate decision-making authority concerning background checks. They will either permit an applicant, deny and applicant, or require Covenant Kids to provide more information. Additionally, CK looks at criminal records on a case-by-case basis. Criminal background checks are required for all families interested in foster care and adoption. Please notify CK of all prior offenses.
Once you become verified as a foster/adoptive parent, you are required to participate in ongoing training each year. Each caregiver is required to participate in 30 hours of training annually. Covenant Kids offers many training opportunities throughout the year to enable parents to meet their training requirements. Many training classes are held at Covenant Kids throughout the year, and families may also earn hours by attending other accredited courses, taking courses online, or by reading a pre-approved book on a relevant topic. Covenant Kids offers a resource library containing books and videos, as well. Additionally, Covenant Kids is continuously providing resources for local training events to foster/adoptive families.
Children in foster care are assigned a Level of Care (LOC) after being assessed by Youth For Tomorrow. There are four Levels: Basic, Moderate, Specialized, and Intensive. The levels are descriptive of the needs of the child, and, thus, children at a lower service level require fewer services for the child. Moderate and Specialized children will receive Therapeutic care and may only be placed in verified therapeutic foster homes.
Children at the Basic Level of Care generally require typical parenting related to a safe home environment, food, clothing and shelter. They usually do not need therapy, psychotropic medications, or a structured behavioral management system, but they do respond very positively to consistent and nurturing parenting strategies.
Children at the Moderate Level of Care demonstrate more aggressive behavior. They require more supervision and often benefit from therapy, psychotropic medications and a structured setting. Covenant Kids will provide parenting strategies designed to prepare families to meet the needs of these children.
Children at the Specialized Level of Care display more severe behavioral problems and emotional needs. They require a high level of supervision and any combination of more intensive therapeutic intervention (therapy, psychotropic medication, structured behavioral management and recreational programs in the home, and special educational services in the school, etc.). Covenant Kids will provide parenting strategies designed to prepare families to meet the needs of these children.
Children at the Intensive Level of Care usually require a more restrictive environment than a foster home can provide and are generally placed in residential treatment centers or psychiatric hospitals.
Children in the custody of the state require close supervision. Age cannot be the sole determining factor in judging the amount of supervision required for a child in care. Any privileges of unsupervised time must be approved by the Covenant Kids treatment team and CPS caseworker. Therefore, foster and adoptive families must carefully plan for the supervision of children in care, especially if all of the parents in the home work full-time.
Documentation is the primary means of determining a foster child’s progress towards accomplishing goals outlined and detailed in the Individual Service Plan. Foster and adoptive parents are required to complete comprehensive paperwork on each child within established timeframes. Documentation maintained by the foster and adoptive parents includes: Weekly Foster Parent Logs, Medication Logs, Medical Exam reports, Dental Exam Reports, Recreational Logs, and Overnight Logs. Case managers are required to review this documentation and are available to answer any questions and explain documentation procedures to parents. Accurate documentation is a vital part of maintaining or adjusting a child’s level of care, and it is imperative that all documentation be turned in to the Case Manager in a timely manner for review by the appropriate parties.
For children that have been abused or neglected, physical discipline is ineffective, and can be terribly damaging. They may have become accustomed to severe physical and emotional abuse or neglect to the point they no longer “feel” the pain. Further, they may find pleasure or relief in the spanking or swatting, believing it is the only way they can get attention. These children may try to push the new foster/adoptive family into showing them attention the only way they understand. Using alternative discipline methods has two main benefits: it minimizes the risk of additional injury to a child and helps to break the intergenerational cycle of physical abuse.
The Covenant Kids policy and the state’s Minimum Standards both state that physical punishment or discipline, including spanking, is not permitted under any circumstances. Covenant Kids believes that consistent and equal discipline for all children in the home provides the most effective home environment. Prior to and following verification, Covenant Kids provides extensive training on alternative methods of discipline that can be effective for foster/adoptive children, as well as biological children in the home.
Covenant Kids families are responsible for all of the needs of the children of placed in their home, financial and otherwise. For children in the custody of CPS placed in foster care, the foster family will receive a daily reimbursement to help offset the expenses incurred while caring for the children. This reimbursement is paid as a per-diem and is not income for the family, nor is it intended to be a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement. Adoptive families who adopt a child from the custody of CPS may negotiate an adoption subsidy package which may provide month financial resources to help care for the child. Therefore, the foster and adoptive parent is always responsible for the child’s food, clothing, and shelter, as well as other incidentals such as allowances, school pictures, yearbooks, and other personal items. In some cases, families will receive a small clothing allowance when it is determined that the child’s clothing inventory at the time of foster care placement is inadequate.
Respite care is an excellent ministry for families who have a heart to bless children but who are not able to do foster care full time. Respite care providers are people qualified and trained to provide temporary supervision and care to foster and adoptive children. While children are in the custody of the state, foster/adoptive families are required to have their alternative caregivers approved through Covenant Kids. Verified foster and adoptive parents may also provide respite care.
Because parenting a child who has been abused and/or neglected can be physically and emotionally challenging, there must be a time to rest and renew yourself. Covenant Kids encourages its families to take advantage of respite care services on a regular basis.
In Texas, the majority of children in the custody of CPS that are not able to be reunified with birth family or kinship caregivers, are adopted by their foster parents. Foster families are often the adoptive placement of choice for children in their homes. Some families know before becoming verified as foster parents, that they want to eventually adopt a child. These families will usually opt to become verified to both foster and adopt. This dual verification increases the opportunities for the family to successfully adopt. However, foster families must recognize that they will be required to support and work toward reunification for any child whose case plan is currently aimed toward reunification. Regardless of the foster family’s desire to adopt a child, Covenant Kids expects for all families to work within the scope of the current permanency plan for the child. Children come into the child protection system for protection against abuse and neglect. Some of these children exhibit behavioral and emotional problems. Foster parents who have parented and cared for these children have gained valuable training and experience during their time fostering the child, which will enhance their ability to successfully parent these children and provide a permanent home for them. Overall, the aim is to reduce the number of moves for any child. If the child is able to remain with a family where they have already developed a trusting and bonded relationship, every effort will be made to keep the child stable within that home.
You do not continue to receive a foster care reimbursement from Covenant Kids once you have signed the adoption agreement. Adoption means that you agree to take on the financial responsibility of the child(ren), just as you would for your own biological child(ren). When the adoption has been approved by TDFPS, the family may begin to complete the application for an adoption subsidy. The Covenant Kids adoption team will be happy to share more information about adoption subsidy with families as they progress toward adoption.
Covenant Kids does not charge families to complete an adoption. However, the family is responsible for the attorney and court fees associated with finalizing the adoption (typically between $500 and $1,000). If the child qualifies for an adoption subsidy through the state and/or federal government, the attorney and court fees can usually be reimbursed as part of the subsidy.
Post-adoption services are available to any family who has legally finalized the adoption of a child under 18 who was in the custody of TDFPS. Post-adoption services may include the following: information and referral, casework and service planning, parent education and support groups, counseling, respite care, day treatment, residential placement services, 24-hour crisis intervention, and therapeutic camps.