More than 10,000 children are in the Texas foster care system, resulting in what experts call a “foster care crisis” in the Lone Star State. Children end up in the Texas foster care system for several reasons, including abandonment, death, incarceration, and more.
Abandonment occurs when biological parents leave their children somewhere and never return to pick them up. Parents sometimes abandon children at a babysitter’s, at school or with another relative. The state prefers to facilitate kinship adoptions when children are abandoned, but if the child gets abandoned at an EMS station through “safe haven laws” with no identifying information, that process becomes more complicated.
Surviving family members typically come forward to adopt a child after the death of their parent. However, some children enter the foster care system after becoming an orphan. This typically occurs when the local family law court cannot find a suitable family member to adopt the child.
When a child’s parents become incarcerated, the court tries to find a suitable family member to care for the child while the parent is in jail. However, if the court cannot find a suitable family member, the child usually ends up in foster care. Depending on the reason for the parent’s incarceration and the length of their sentence, reunification with the child upon release isn’t always possible.
The incarceration of a parent isn’t the only type of legal issue that results in a child entering foster care as minors who break the law often end up in foster care, too. If a judge rules that the child’s juvenile delinquency is directly related to an unstable homelife, they may put the child in foster care to create a stable, structured homelife for the minor after their release.
In addition to these reasons, children also end up in the foster care system because of neglect, abuse, truancy and more. Even though Texas judges try to facilitate kinship adoptions, that’s not always possible.