RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The foster care system in Texas is seeing a fast-growing number of children entering the system. 

John Lennan with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said children going into the system are placed with a foster family, relatives, or close friends of the family until a judge deems it safe.

“A child comes into foster care after an investigation where abuse and neglect is to the point where the courts need to be involved. The parent or the guardian of that child has been able to show the court that they can provide a safe home for that child and that the court can remove that order and allow that child to go home,” said Lennan.

Whether it’s adopting or fostering a child, Lennan said there are many misconceptions that prevent people from getting involved, including the price of adoption. “That it is an expensive process and that is the case in some private adoptions but the state of Texas does not charge any fees when you are adopting a child from the state of Texas,” he said.

Other misconceptions include owning your own home and being married which Lennan said is not true. In 2020, nearly 550 children were court-ordered removed in both Cameron and Hidalgo County. That same year, a little over 700 Rio Grande Valley children were returned to the families. Lennan shares the importance of getting involved. 

“We never know how many foster homes we are going to need, we never know how many adoptive homes we are going to need but we would rather have them than not have them available,” he said.

He adds it’s important for them to keep the child as close to home as possible and encourages people to learn more about the foster or adoption process. 

For more information on how to adopt or foster go to adoptchildren.org.