Texas Foster Care Bedroom Requirements: What to Expect

If you are considering becoming a foster parent, there are naturally some important things to consider. For example, what are the Texas foster care bedroom requirements?

Texas foster care bedroom requirements state that each foster child must have at least 40 square feet of floor space. Single occupant bedrooms must have at least 80 square feet of floor space. Each child must have his or her own bed and mattress, and two children of the same sex may share a double bed.

Let’s now take a deeper dive into the Texas Foster Care Bedroom Requirements.

How Much Space Must Foster Care Bedrooms Have in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3021 answers the above:

  • A bedroom must contain at least 40 square feet of space for each occupant, and no more than four occupants are authorized per bedroom, even if the room’s square area allows for more. The restriction on four occupants does not apply to youngsters getting treatment for primary medical needs.
  • Bedrooms for single occupants must be at least 80 square feet in size.
  • Closets and other alcoves must not be included in the floor space requirement.
  • Children must be able to use the floor area for everyday activities.
  • If a foster home was confirmed before January 1, 2007, the maximum bedroom occupancy rule does not apply until the foster family relocates to a new location, a new room is added to the foster house, or the foster home is physically remodeled.
Three small children hugging each other.

What Parts of the Home Cannot Be Used as Bedrooms in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3023 answers the above:

  • A bedroom is only allowed to be utilized if it provides enough space for relaxation and seclusion.
  • Foster children’s bedrooms must contain at least one source of natural lighting.
  • Areas such as dining rooms, living rooms, corridors, and patios may not be utilized as bedrooms.
  • An area that serves as a gateway to another room may not be used as a bedroom.
  • A room with no door to provide privacy is also not suitable to use as a bedroom.
  • A foster child may utilize a separate building as a bedroom if the following conditions are met:
  • The youngster is at least 16 years old;
  • The service planning team has given its approval; and
  • The unattached building is included in the foster home’s mandated fire and health inspections.
  • If there is a second fire escape path from the basement, a foster child may use it as a bedroom.
  • If there is no natural lighting in a room, including a basement or separate building, a foster child may not use it as a bedroom:
  • Unless the house was validated prior to January 1, 2007; and
  • Until the verification is no longer valid, or the structure of the house is changed by the building of a new room.

Can an Adult Share a Bedroom With a Foster Child in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3025 answers the above:

  • Before allowing an adult in care to share a bedroom with a minor resident, you must evaluate each resident’s behaviors, maturity level, and relationships to see whether there are any risks to either the minor or the adult in care.
  • In the child’s file, you must document and date your assessment.
  • Children are not allowed to sleep in the same bed as adults unless the adult is the child’s parent and the child is between the ages of one and ten.

Can a Child in Foster Care Share a Bedroom With an Adult Caregiver in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.302 answers the above:

  • A child may share a bedroom with an adult caregiver if:
  • It is in the child’s best interests;
  • The youngster is under the age of three and sleeps in the caregiver’s room; and
  • The service planning team records and dates approval in the child’s service plan.
  • If no other more acceptable option is available for the child and all other qualifications are satisfied, an exemption allowing a child to share a bedroom with an adult caregiver may be allowed during specified travel and camping scenarios.
  • At no point should a child sleep in the same bed as an adult caregiver.
  • The caregiver may take a child to a location where the caregiver may directly and continuously oversee the child until there is no longer an urgent threat to self or others. The caregiver, on the other hand, must offer a pleasant sleeping environment for the child.

Can Foster Children of the Opposite Sex Share a Bedroom in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3029 answers the above:

  • Foster children aged six and above shall not share a bedroom with a person of the opposite sex, unless in the following circumstances:
  • A child sharing a room with a parent who is underage; or
  • Children who are unable to walk are receiving therapy for basic medical requirements.

What Are the Foster Care Requirements for Beds and Bedding in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3031 answers the above:

  • Each foster child must have a bed and mattress of their own. This does not preclude a child from receiving respite care or requiring more monitoring from sleeping for less than seven days on a sofa, sleeping bag, or other similar items.
  • Clean and comfy beds are required.
  • Mattresses must be raised off the ground and protected with covers or protectors.
  • Linens must be changed as soon as they get filthy, but no less than once a week.

What Type of Personal Storage Space Must a Foster Child Have in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3033 answers the above:

  • Every child needs easy access to storage space for his clothes and personal belongings.

What Bathroom Accommodations Must a Foster Home Have in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3035 answers the above:

  • For every eight people in a foster home, there must be one bathroom, one tub or shower, and one toilet. A foster home that was certified before January 1, 2007, is free from this requirement until it is no longer confirmed by the agency that originally verified it, or until it makes structural improvements to the house, such as adding more bathrooms.
  • There must be hot and cold running water in all restrooms, baths, and showers.
  • The child’s bedroom and bathroom must be on the same floor in foster homes that care for children with primary medical needs. A foster home that was approved before January 1, 2007, is free from this requirement until it is no longer verified by the agency.
  • Bathrooms must provide a sense of privacy.

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3037 answers the above:

  • Children must have indoor areas for their use. There must be at least 40 square feet for each child. This does not include bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, unfinished attics, or hallways.
  • A foster home must identify indoor areas that children can use.
  • You must approve the indoor space that a home designates for the children’s use.

What Are the Foster Care Requirements for Outdoor Recreation Equipment in Texas?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3039 answers the above:

  • Equipment must not have openings, angles, or protrusions that can entangle a child’s clothing or entrap a child’s body or body parts.
  • Equipment must be securely anchored according to the manufacturer’s specifications to prevent collapsing, tipping, sliding, moving, or overturning.
  • Climbing equipment, swings, and slides must not be installed over asphalt or concrete.
  • Equipment must be appropriate, cleaned, maintained, and repaired.
  • Trampolines may only be used at the foster home if: 
  • The number of children allowed on the trampoline at one time meets the manufacturer’s instructions; 
  • Ladders are removed from the trampoline when the trampoline is not in use; and
  • A caregiver provides supervision as follows:
  • For children under 12 years old, the caregiver must be immediately present, watching the child(ren) at all times, enforcing safety rules and manufacturer’s instructions, and able to respond in an emergency; and    
  • For children 12 years old and older, the caregiver must be on the premises, visually check on the child(ren) at frequent intervals, and be able to respond in an emergency.

What are the Foster Care Requirements For a Foster Homes’ Physical Environment?

Texas Administrative Code, Section 749.3041 answers the above:

  • The foster family must make certain of the following:
  • The house is kept clean and in good shape, and it is safe for children.
  • Children’s equipment and furniture are maintained clean and in great shape;
  • Furniture does not obstruct exits in living spaces;
  • The outdoor spaces are kept clean and in good shape, and they are safe for children.
  • The outdoor spaces are well-drained.
  • The ventilation windows and doors are shielded.
  • Unless caretakers have determined that a child is capable and likely to use flammable or dangerous chemicals responsibly, such materials are kept out of reach of children.
  • There are no rats or insects in the house.

More Foster Care Requirement Considerations

Over and above the minimum requirements a foster parent must meet in the state of Texas for a foster child’s bedroom, there are other things to take into consideration when setting up a foster care home. 

Foster care training will help you prepare during your foster care preparation course, and your care home study caseworker will help to ensure your home is ready for a foster child. The state of Texas provides a supportive foster care network. 

For example, furniture and TV tip-over accidents have severely injured and even killed young children.

The majority of parents do not consider furniture and televisions to be unsafe. Serious harm can and does occur when these things tip over, and safety issues should be at the forefront of your mind.

Children frequently utilize dressers and bookcases as climbing toys in the house, resulting in tip-overs.

Furthermore, as huge televisions become more popular, the chance of significant harm from a television falling increases.

As a foster parent, you want your foster family to be safe, so let’s go over ways to ensure you meet the foster care bedroom requirements for the state of Texas. The Texas foster care system and state laws will make sure you meet the minimum standards to be a licensed foster care provider. Safety requirements are at the very top of that list.

Curious about what all of the requirements are to be a foster parent? Visit here for more information.

Furniture Tip-Over Statistics

A foster parent will need to do a walk-through of their home and especially the foster children’s bedrooms for any hidden dangers such as furniture that could tip over and seriously injure a child.

  • Furniture and television tip-overs are the most common causes of injury in children under the age of six, with a peak at two years old. Concussions and closed head injuries are most common in young children.
  • Children 10 to 17 years of age had the most injuries as a result of toppling desks, cabinets, and bookcases. These older children are more likely to sustain injuries to their lower bodies.
  • In 2019, 11,521 children were treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by furniture or television tip-overs. Every 46 minutes, one child is killed.

What Causes Furniture Tip-Overs?

The majority of injuries are caused by unsecured furniture that falls or tips over. A youngster frequently drags the furniture upon themself.

Children climbing the furniture or tipping it over on another youngster are two potential causes.

Young children are unable to consider the consequences of their behavior. They are typically unable to avoid a falling piece of furniture or of pushing the furniture off of themselves if they become caught.

The majority of injuries occur in youngsters under the age of seven.

Foster families need to be very careful, and children can do things we wouldn’t expect them to do.

How to Prevent Furniture From Tipping Over

As a foster parent, there are things you can do to prevent falling furniture.

Flat-screen TVs should be secured, and older TVs should be used with caution.

  • Cords should be tucked away so that they can’t be yanked on or constitute a tripping hazard.
  • Use a TV stand instead of a shelf or a dresser. These aren’t designed to hold the weight of a television. Check the size and weight constraints before buying a TV stand.
  • Consider recycling your old TV if it’s one of those hefty, bulky models with a flat back.
  • If you’re going to utilize a TV stand, be sure it’s one meant for that purpose. Choose one that is the proper size for the size and type of television you own. Use safety straps or L-brackets to secure the TV and its stand to the wall.
  • When at all feasible, mount flat-screen TVs on the wall.

Secure furniture to the wall, such as shelves, desks, and dressers.

  • Use safety straps or L-brackets to secure furniture to the wall.
  • Avoid putting tempting objects on top of furniture, such as toys or the remote. If your child sees it, she will attempt to obtain it.
  • There are safety straps that don’t require drilling holes in furniture and can secure things weighing up to 100 pounds.
  • Furniture with broad legs or robust bases is a good choice.
  • Place heavy objects on shelves near the floor.
  • To prevent drawers from being pulled out more than two-thirds of the way, install drawer stops on all of them.

So how do you become a foster parent, anyway? Read more here.

Dangers of Blind Cords

Window blind cords can be a risk to babies, small children, and vulnerable people. They could injure or strangle themselves on looped cords and chains. You should take steps to keep your child safe because they could lose their life on a window blind cord in a few seconds.

How Do You Keep Blind Cords From Kids?

A foster parent who already has blinds installed in their house will want to follow the steps below to help limit the risk of harm to newborns and young children:

  • A window blind should not be placed near your child’s crib, bed, high chair, or playpen.
  • Examine each blind in your home, and if any has a looped or potentially looped cable or chain, make sure a safety device is in place to keep the cord or chain safely tucked away out of their reach.
  • Cord or chain tidies, P-clips, and cleats are all available as safety measures.
  • Children love to climb, so keep couches, chairs, tables, shelves, and bookcases away from window blinds.

In addition to daycare, grandparents, friends and family, hotels, and restaurants, be aware of blind cord safety in other areas where your children may visit and spend time.

What Are the Safest Blinds For Children?

Always search for a blind that is ‘safe by design,’ such as cordless or concealed chord systems, when purchasing new blinds for your house or locations where newborns or young children reside or visit.

Some blinds contain built-in safety features, such as chain break connectors that break apart if the operating chain is overloaded.

Follow the instructions provided and make sure all safety measures are installed if new blinds are operated by cords or chains and do not have an in-built safety device.

If you hire professionals to install your blinds, they must also install the safety measures.

How Do You Keep a Child From Falling Out of a Window?

Room by room, you’ve childproofed your house. However, there is one possible threat that you may have overlooked or underestimated; your windows. Every foster parent should not overlook window safety.

Every year, around 3,300 children aged 5 and under are treated in hospital emergency departments after falling out of a window. 

Twenty-five percent of the children who have fallen out of a window end up in an intensive care unit, and a large majority of them depart with some kind of handicap.

Window falls aren’t simply an issue for children who live in high rises; in fact, the majority of them happen from lower levels. They happen in a millisecond, due to a toddler’s inclination for hands-on exploration rather than a lack of supervision. If you put your hand or your bottom against a screen, it may pop out.

Listed below are several ways you can ensure that your child does not fall out of a window:

  • Install window guards or window locks to keep children safe.
  • Keep the space in front of the windows clean of items.
  • When not in use, keep windows closed and locked.
  • Double-hung windows should be opened from the top.
  • A window screen will not be able to withstand the weight of a youngster.

Privacy in a Shared Bedroom

Privacy is something that all family members care about, not just foster children. One thing to consider for older children sharing a bedroom is the growing need for privacy. As children’s bodies begin to change, they can become very self-conscious.

Providing a standing privacy screen like the one below offers a shared bedroom with a place to stand behind while dressing with the peace of mind knowing they aren’t being watched.

A bit of privacy in a shared bedroom is comforting.

Storage for Personal Belongings

Each child will need a place of their own to store their personal belongings. If you need storage ideas for a child’s personal belongings, we have some ideas that follow:

  • Under-the-bed storage using storage bins
  • Dressers for each child
  • Cubbies
  • Shelving with baskets or plastic bins
  • Hanging nets for stuffed animals
  • Nightstands for each child

There are multiple ways to provide a personal storage solution for each child. It is amazing what can be done if the time is taken to be a bit creative.

Whether the foster children will be there for a short time while you provide respite care, or whether they are in your care long-term, having ample storage for each child is essential.

Reliable and Safe Heating and Cooling

You don’t want your foster child to be shivering in his or her bed because he or she can’t get warm. Alternatively, they may feel so overheated from the summer heat that they are unsure how they will get through the dreary night.

A foster home should be comfortable.

It is essential to have a good heating and cooling system. Not only must they be in good functioning order, but a foster parent must also make use of them to keep the house warm.

No youngster should be forced to freeze or succumb to near heatstroke unnecessarily in order to save a little money on utility bills.

Your heating and cooling systems should be working properly to give a degree of comfort while also providing you the efficiency you need for your budget with proper house insulation and heating and cooling maintenance.

Closets for Clothing

A physical closet is more of a need aimed at real estate since potential homeowners would naturally desire a closet in each bedroom.

However, for the purposes of fostering children, a closet is not required as a space for them to store their belongings.

Some alternate ways of storing clothing without a closet follow:

  • Using a combination of dresses, rods, and shelves
  • Add curtains overexposed hanging clothing to hide a cluttered look
  • Purchase clothing racks
  • Large baskets under beds
  • Install piles to use as clothing rods
  • Clothes hanging rack and shelving storage behind a bed near headboard area

This is by no means a complete list of bedroom requirements for foster children, but it does provide a good idea of the things that will need to be addressed when preparing your home to foster a child.

Your foster care training and the care home study provider you will be working with is on your side and wants you to succeed in being prepared to take in foster children. So don’t sweat it if you feel a bit overwhelmed at first. 

Firearms Are Locked and Out of Reach

There are other things within the home that you may want to be aware of over and above the foster child’s room. Home study social workers will have the issue of firearms at the top of their list.

The state of Texas will require that you keep your handgun unloaded when storing it. Locked guns, of course, should never be kept in a child’s room.

When storing ammunition, keep it separate from the guns. Ammunition must be kept secured and out of reach of your foster children, just as weapons must be kept locked and out of reach.

You must notify the foster care agency if you find yourself in possession of a handgun while fostering or going through the foster care application process.

Each handgun in the home should, if possible, have a trigger lock.

A Bedroom and Home Should Be Clean and In Good Repair

Your house must be spotless and in good working order. It’s a good idea to clean your house well before beginning the foster care application process so that it’s ready for inspection.

This form of cleaning should go beyond the bedroom and is similar to what some people call spring cleaning. Here are some examples of thorough cleaning:

• Hire a carpet cleaner to steam clean your carpets.|
• Clean your windows from the inside as well as the exterior.
• Remove the refrigerator and clean behind and beneath it.
• Wipe clean all inside walls with a damp cloth.
• Launder throw rugs in the washing machine.
• Get your broom and search the ceilings for cobwebs.
• Mop your floors, giving special attention to the floor’s edges as well as any dust and grime-collecting molding.
• Dust hard-to-reach areas like ceiling fans and the refrigerator’s top.
• Clean the window sills and jambs.

Your home’s exterior will also require maintenance. Here are some things to think about:

• Make sure the yard is clutter-free.
• To avoid tripping and injury, fill all holes in the yard.
• Check that the fencing is solid and secure to avoid a child falling out of the yard.
• Make sure the siding on the outside of the house, as well as the gutters, are secure so that nothing falls on the youngster.
• Check to see if any of the trees in your yard have any suspicious limbs that might fall and cause damage.

Other Things to Consider

Foster parents are desperately needed in the state of Texas, as in all other states. Foster children have all gone through some level of trauma, loss, and grief and need loving homes to go to.

The home study process will guide you through home preparation, so you’re not alone.

Group homes that accommodate a larger number of foster children at one time are also in need providing your home meets those state requirements.

Foster homes are provided monthly financial assistance to cover the costs of a foster child’s room and board, transportation to court hearings, primary medical needs, and counseling appointments.

Many foster children have suffered sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and physical abuse and will need transportation to counseling appointments often.

The length of time that these counseling appointments last is dependent on the extent of their trauma, as well as the length of time they will reside in your foster home. 

The goal will always be to reunite the foster child with their birth parents. There are times, however, when a foster child will be eligible for adoption.

A foster child’s relatives are generally given the option to adopt the child first. If there are no relatives available to adopt an eligible foster child, the foster parents are almost always given the option to adopt the foster child.

If a foster parent is ever interested in being adoptive parents to a foster child, know the opportunity does come up, but be careful.

One of the hard parts about being a foster parent is becoming attached and then having to say goodbye as the foster child is reunited with their biological family.

In a nutshell, to become a foster parent in Texas, you will go through the following steps:

  • Request information from your local Department of Human Resources
  • Fill out paperwork
  • Submit a background check and fingerprints
  • Attend an orientation to get your questions answered
  • Participate in the foster care training program
  • Meet with a social worker several times in your home to conduct your home study

These steps prepare foster parents to accept a foster child into their foster family home.

Related Articles:

Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.