Juneau kids need therapeutic foster care parents. Therapeutic foster care is different from traditional foster care because it provides increased support for families fostering young people who have often been impacted by trauma, and need a higher level of care than traditional foster care can typically provide.
Therapeutic foster care starts with training and licensing. Parents go through specialized training provided by Juneau Youth Services, at no charge. JYS guides the parent trainees through the state’s licensing process, which includes a background check. Parents are never in it alone. It typically takes anywhere from two to five months to complete training and become licensed.
Being removed from the home is a traumatizing experience. With that in mind, all children placed into foster care are, by definition, impacted by trauma. Depending on the nature of the trauma, any number of behaviors can be predicted (and some behaviors are not predictable, which is true of all children and youth). Therapeutic foster parents, along with the treatment team at JYS, help teach these children how to work through their intense feelings and develop the skills they need to achieve overall success in life, despite their early experiences.
JYS’s support doesn’t stop once a child is placed. The lines of communication are always open. There are programs in place to serve both the foster child/children, foster parent(s) and any other kids in the home. Whatever parents or kids need, JYS is there to provide that support. When emotions or situations become too overwhelming or heightened, JYS will step in.
The ultimate goal of therapeutic foster care is finding a forever home for the child. Sometimes that means working through issues before being reunited with the biological family. In other cases that means permanent placement with the foster family.
Becoming a therapeutic foster parent is an awesome opportunity to help kids who haven’t had it easy. But it takes special people to take on this challenge. Therapeutic foster care parents must be willing to embrace the challenges head-on. They must have empathy and patience for the kids because they are going to push the limits. If there are other children in the home, they must be on board with opening their home. And they need to understand what bringing this child into the home means.
If people aren’t ready to open their home and their hearts to a kid in need, that’s OK. Therapeutic foster care isn’t the right fit for everyone. Or sometimes it’s just not the right time. But there are other ways to support these kids. A donation to JYS goes directly to services to help Alaskan youth.