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Can't adopt but want to help? Here's how you can foster or mentor a child in Central Texas

There are more than 100 Central Texas children in foster care, and you can help make a difference in their lives. Here's how.

AUSTIN, Texas — Not everyone is in a situation to adopt a child, and that's OK. There are many other ways you can help Central Texas children in foster care, including mentoring them or becoming a foster parent. There are more than 100 Central Texas children in foster care, and you can help make a difference in their lives. Here's how.

Becoming a mentor

Partnerships for Children's YES Mentoring Program supports Central Texas teens aging out of the foster care system, and the nonprofit is always looking for community members to help. 

Each year, roughly 1,200 foster youth in Texas age out of the foster care system. More than 8,000 foster care youth in Texas are between the ages of 14 and 18, and a supportive adult can help them transition into adulthood and teach them to be successful.

Here's what you will be expected to do you as a mentor:

  • Paperwork: You must submit a signed confidentiality form and background check application. In order to move forward in the process, you must clear a background check.
  • Training: You must complete online training, which takes approximately one to two hours, and meet with a member of the YES Mentoring Team. 
  • Commitment: A one-year commitment to your youth as a mentor, with the ability to always extend, is needed. 
  • Contact: There is a minimum of one face-to-face contact meetings with youth per month, as well as weekly contact by phone, text, email, social media, etc. 
  • Reporting: You need to submit a monthly check-in that notes dates and types of contacts. 
  • Attendance: You will need to attend a financial literacy class and youth enrichment activities when you can.

Here are the requirements for becoming a mentor:

  • You must be over 21 years old.
  • You must clear a background check with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
  • Once clear, you will complete a roughly two-hour online mentoring training, which is a go-at-your-own-pace type of training. 
  • Once you have completed the online training, you will meet with a member of the YES Mentoring Team to make sure you are a good fit for the program and to ask any further questions. 
  • You are then matched with a youth. Once matched you are expected to meet with the youth monthly face to face and contact them weekly. 

You can click here to apply to become a mentor.

RELATED: More than 100 Central Texas kids seeking adoption at annual Heart Gallery event

Becoming a foster parent

In order to become a foster parent, the state of Texas requires you to be licensed/certified by a child-placing agency. Getting licensed or certified can take between two to four months, depending on the agency you choose and the time it takes you to complete your paperwork.

Here are some steps you can take in order to become a foster parent:

  1. Attend an orientation at an information session.
  2. Examine your motivations and expectations.
  3. Choose a child-placing agency so you can become licensed.
  4. Complete all applications and required paperwork, as well as background checks.
  5. Determine what child or children will be the best fit for you.
  6. Participate in pre-service training through your agency.
  7. Prepare your home for a child.
  8. Have a home study completed by your agency.
  9. Wait.

Applicants must:

  • Be 21 years or older
  • Be financially responsible
  • Pass FBI and state background checks
  • Agree to a home study

If mentoring or fostering is not a right fit for you, you can still volunteer or donate.

KVUE has partnered with Partnerships for Children, a foster care nonprofit, to highlight Central Texas children who are currently seeking forever homes. Be sure to tune in to KVUE Daybreak every Thursday for our weekly segment "Forever Families."

WATCH: More than 100 Central Texas kids are seeking adoption

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