Our journey to become a licensed foster home was not easy. First off, we had to travel 75 miles to Brenham, Texas in order to attend a “mandatory” informational meeting before we would even be able to enroll in PRIDE classes the next week.
PRIDE stands for Parent Resource for Information, Development, Education. The PRIDE course is 30 hours plus foster parents in Texas are required to have training on Behavior Intervention and other miscellaneous topics such as HIV, SIDS, shaken baby syndrome, etc.
Our training course was Tuesday and Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. A big chunk of time. Compound this with the fact that we lived an hour and a half away from the training, and this was exhausting! Every Tuesday and Friday, we would rush out the door as soon as FosterDad came home from his bus route. We would scarf down some chow on the drive or just bring supper into the class with us. We did this for SIX WEEKS!
The first PRIDE class was basically a more detailed informational meeting. I’m sorry but that “mandatory” informational meeting was a waste of a Saturday morning for us. Get this: there was a man in that first PRIDE class that kept asking question after question. “What if there’s a teenage girl that accuses me of touching her?” and other questions along that line. He was incredibly fearful, and FosterDad and I wondered if he even attended the mandatory informational meeting to ask those questions. He didn’t show up again.
The classes themselves involved some canned videos and discussions on a variety of topics such as effects of abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, grief and loss, attachment issues, discipline, etc. One session on sexual abuse was incredibly touching as some of us shared our experiences as victims. Much was common sense, but required material, and our instructors understood that some material could be covered quickly while other topics, such as discipline, would need more detail and discussion.
The class was taught by our current foster home case worker and a delightful veteran foster mom in the area. I was blessed to meet them and learn from them. I so enjoy our caseworker and love her visits (even if Stinkpot turns into a little monster when she is here).
Each week, we would have “homework”. The homework was actually one piece of the home study at a time. A better way instead of the overwhelming list of things to do to complete your home study. One week, we would bring identification for criminal background checks. One week, copies of W-2’s or paycheck stubs. One week, divorce decrees. One week, the completed family profile questionnaire.
The most difficult task of the homework was completing our FBI fingerprinting. We first had to call a number to schedule an appointment at the closest location (this was only 45 miles away from our home). Then we had to bring our completed application along with $55 each.
Our last class, we had a little party eating tons of food while we covered the miscellaneous topics to complete our training. We completed our training! That was March 2007. All we needed was our home study visit. We were in the home stretch. It wouldn’t be long before our house would be full of kids, right?
WRONG! Next week, how we struggled to get that coveted foster care license.