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Gay foster parents in Texas
todeskun wrote in little_details
Setting: Texas Hill Country, very late 90s, very early 00s.

Searches already done: Perused this journal, googled "gay foster parents", "foster parents Texas", "gay foster parents Texas" but most of what I've found is about fostering now and what protections/rights/programs/etc are out there now for gay foster parents. I am also aware that Texas attempted to pass a bill in 2005 to ban gay people from becoming foster parents and I may use that at some later point.

Scenario: My MC has been in & out of foster care since age 5. He's now 14, very troubled, distrustful, a pot-head, and a chronic runaway. He's also done 2 stints in juvie, with his latest stint because he stole a car and he's also been labeled a "violent offender". He gets a new caseworker who sees past all of his bs and decides to place him in her go-to foster family for "last chance" kids. Problem is, this family consists of 2 older gay men (H & J) who run a ranch together. Now I've already done some hand waving and decided that the "polite fiction" that they put forth (and everyone accepts, because the community likes them) is that they're business partners and that's why they both live together; there's even a separate dwelling for one of them, though he primarily uses it as a wood shop/second office. The problem I'm having is figuring out how the foster licensing would work in this scenario. Right now I have H as the MC's official foster father, and J is a licensed foster parent -- I'm assuming that he would have to be because even if he never "officially" takes in a kid of his own he's still living on the property and would need to be certified as part of H's certification. Is this an accurate assumption? If so & J is a licensed foster parent, can H leave MC in J's care for extended period (e.g if H needs to go out of town) without having to get prior approval/authorization from MC's caseworker?

As a side note, I'm aware I'm hand waving quite a few things, including the fact that there would be clear evidence that H & J live together during the home visits/home study, but I feel like I have a stronger basis for hand waving/excusing those aspects than I do for the other stuff.

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Other adults living on the property of foster parents do not, themselves, have to be licensed, but in most states they would likely have to submit to a background check [for example, if foster parents had a in-law apartment with renters, such would be the typical protocol].

It is much easier to leave foster children with other licensed foster parents (whether or not they have ever had a placement themselves) than other caregivers, however, typically, all longer term respite/babysitting/alternative childcare situations (i.e. more than a day or so, again, this could vary by state) would still have to be cleared by the case worker. The children are legally still in state custody for the entire time a child is in foster care.

Still the case worker has tremendous latitude and there can be tremendous variability between case workers, even in the same county.
It's conceivable that one would bend the rules past breaking point and not get fired until (if and when) she (or he) is reported.

Thank you! That's tremendously helpful.

I just wish you were setting this someplace other than Texas (unless by "Hill Country" you mean Austin.) Don't be fooled by that dot of blue in the center of the state: I've lived more or less in the "Hill Country" for almost a decade, and I have yet to meet any adults who don't fit the stereotype of rigid, hate-filled conservative "Christian." One of my kids was hospitalized after a beating they received -- in middle school - for simply pointing out that "gay people are people too."

Sadly, my MC's canonical backstory is poor, rural, Texas. I was originally thinking outside Austin, but I don't know if there are large-ish cattle ranches in the area (my google-fu failed me on that front) and he really does need to spend a significant part of his youth on a ranch/in a rural setting.


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