- What is treatment foster care?
Treatment foster care is an out-of-home placement in a family setting under the supervision and support of a Clinical Case Manager and other team members, such as social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists. Foster children are referred from county Departments of Human Services all over the state and typically range in age from 9-18. Treatment foster care youth in general have some type of emotional or behavioral issues that they are dealing with.
During the placement, the child or youth is expected to address treatment goals related to his/her behavioral and emotional. The foster parents are trained by Community Care Resources, Inc. to work with the child so that he/she can improve his/her behavior and learn to interact with others in healthier ways. To assist with this process, the Clinical Case Manager will meet with the child or youth and the foster parents in their home, on a weekly basis and help coordinate services with other service providers, and maintain regular contact with the child or youth’s county social worker and biological family.
- What are the responsibilities of a foster parent?
Community Care Resources, Inc. foster parents are committed to the treatment foster youth and their families. They have the skills necessary to effectively work with this challenging population. Community Care Resources, Inc. foster parents are viewed as a vital part of the child’s treatment and are expected to play a central role in facilitating treatment. Other responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
- Maintain a safe, clean living environment.
- Provide adequate direct supervision for children placed in the home.
- Schedule and transport to all appointments, court hearings, and family visits.
- Enroll and monitor the child’s progress in school.
- Encourage and support child’s involvement in school and community activities.
- Provide age appropriate allowance and clothing expenditure of a minimum of $50 per month.
- Be available for weekly meetings with the Clinical Case Manager.
- Have positive and professional interaction with school, community, and mental health providers.
- Maintain accurate records and completion of monthly paperwork regarding the child.
- Be in compliance with training requirements.
- What types of kids are referred?
Josh, age 9
He has been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). He takes medication to help settle him and enable him to concentrate and focus better at school. Josh wets his bed many nights per week. He does not deal with frustration well, and sometimes has tantrums. Josh has been in two previous foster placements, and has been hospitalized in a child psychiatric hospital ward when he became out of control and unmanageable. He is in special education in school, in the 3rd grade. Josh has difficulty getting along with other children, and does not handle conflict well. Josh has a grandmother, who calls him regularly, but her health is poor, and she is unable to have him come to live with her. Josh is on a Child in Need of Protection & Services court order (Chips) because he experienced abuse by his mother’s boyfriend.
Melissa, age 14
She has school issues; she skips school, and does not perform well when she does attend. Teachers like her, she has a friendly personality, but she is a difficult child for them to manage at school. Melissa is several years behind on school credits due to poor attendance and poor performance. She also sneaks out of the home, running away for short periods with negative peers. She has experimented with alcohol and marijuana, and has been sexually active. Melissa was sexually abused from age 5-10 by several perpetrators. She cuts superficially on her arms, legs and stomach, and has some piercings, which she and a friend did (through her eyebrow, her navel, and several piercings through her ears.) Melissa can be sweet and winsome, and she can be manipulative and argumentative. She has been diagnosed with features of borderline personality disorder, and with a mood disorder. Melissa has been hospitalized several times, and has had her stomach pumped more than once after taking pills. Melissa is very attention seeking, and likes to wear loud colorful clothing, jewelry, and to dye her hair unnatural colors. She has been in group home care and in several foster placements in the past.
Thomas, age 15
Mixed racial child, African-American and Latino, He likes to portray himself as a gangster. Thomas has engaged in some criminal activity including retail theft, operating a vehicle without owners consent (car theft) vandalism and criminal damage to property. Respect for authority is an issue for him. He resists following rules, and does not show remorse when he is confronted about his behavior. Thomas has convictions on his record and the court is considering corrections for Thomas, but is going to try treatment foster care first to see if higher structure and monitoring can cause some changes in his behavior and criminal thinking patterns. Thomas is on a delinquency court order. Thomas expresses distrust for most adults. He is diagnosed with conduct disorder.
- What are the benefits for foster parents?
Foster parents have the ability to make a difference in a child’s life as well as making a significant contribution to society as a whole. Your ability to provide a nurturing, stable family environment can be a very effective means of helping a child succeed in life. Foster children often need help dealing with their past experiences that may involve abuse, neglect, and loss. A person considering becoming a foster parent should be prepared to deal with these types of issues and feel that making a difference in someone’s life is a rewarding experience. Foster parents can help troubled children learn to feel safe around adults and connect with other people.
The foster care system is designed so that foster parents receive what it costs for them to care for the child. This amount varies by individual cases and largely depends on the needs of the child. Financial reimbursement is usually meant to cover basic costs of living such as food, clothing, and shelter. This support makes it easier for a parent considering foster parenting.
Foster parenting is especially beneficial for families that may consider adopting a child in the future. Many foster parents become interested in adopting the foster children they care for. According to U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 54 percent of children who were adopted in 2009 were adopted by their foster parents. Additionally, parents who adopt from the foster care system have had the opportunity to spend time with the child in their home and therefore have a better understanding of how the child will fit into their home and lifestyle. Community Care Resources, Inc. provides information and resources when adoption becomes a consideration.
Foster parents are provided with a minimum of one respite day per month per child, again depending on the needs and complexity of behavioral treatment issues of the child.
Opportunities for training and education are offered by the agency at multiple sites to assist with developing the skills necessary for foster parenting.
Enriching the lives of your own children
Sharing your home with a foster child can enrich the lives of your own children by broadening their horizons. It is a revelation for your own children to experience life situations outside of their norm. Some parents find that in return their own children turn out to be more appreciative and compassionate adults.
- Would I make a good treatment foster parent?
Would I be willing and able to deal with kids who have emotional and behavioral issues? Examples include:
- Difficulty getting along with others (argues, bullies, etc.)
- Verbal outbursts
- Oppositional and defiant behavior
- Running away
- Alcohol and drug issues
- Impulsivity and poor judgment
- Poor coping skills
- Trauma victim/sexual abuse victimization
- Cognitive limitations
- Learning disabilities
Do I have the time and energy to devote to a needy youth?
Either parent must be available to supervise a youth at all times.
Am I familiar with or willing to learn about children’s mental health issues?
A calm and organized home with people who are willing to learn and apply new parenting techniques will be very beneficial for these youth.
Do I have the physical and emotional room for a treatment foster child?
You will need to take good care of yourself and be able to “act” not “react” with these youth. Your children be good reporters to you and have lots of self-care skills.
Our foster youth may not share a bedroom with a biological child.
Do I have medical or mental health issues which interfere with my everyday life?
We do not discriminate towards people with disabilities, however we may ask for a letter from your mental health professional verifying your ability to foster.
Am I financially stable to provide for my family’s needs?
State law requires foster parents to be financially stable. That means not relying on a foster youth’s maintenance payment for financial support.
- How long does it take to become licensed?
The licensing process takes approximately 60-90 days depending on completion of all required training and paperwork by the foster parents.
- Do I get to choose the child that is placed in my home?
Foster parents are given the opportunity to review information about a child as well as consult with their Clinical Case Manager regarding appropriateness of the child for their family. In many cases, foster parents also have a pre-placement visit with the child before making a final decision.
- How long will the child be placed in foster care?
The length of a placement varies depending upon each individual situation. However, placements generally last from six to eighteen months.
- Where will the child attend school?
When placed in foster care the child will attend school, day treatment, or a charter school in the district within which the foster home is located.
- Can I work while I am a treatment foster parent?
The ideal model for Community Care Resources, Inc. foster homes require that one parent be in the home or at least be available at all times, while the other parent may be able to work or provide an income for the family.
- Can I become a foster parent if I have children of my own?
Many of our foster parents have children of their own. The safety of biological children is of primary importance and, thus, a child who may present a safety risk due to issues such as physical aggression or sexual acting out will not be placed in a home with younger children.