We provide Therapeutic Foster Care for children dealing with emotional concerns and challenging behaviors. Frequently, these concerns and behaviors are due to childhood trauma and other difficult experiences. These children have needs that go beyond just traditional foster care, and are best served in a family-based setting with highly trained and supervised foster parents.
We are currently recruiting for individuals and couples to provide Therapeutic Foster Care. All types of people can be successful foster parents, as long as they can provide a child with stability, love, and support. Parents in the JYS Therapeutic Foster Care Program will receive specialized training and support to ensure their success with the children who are placed in their home. Additionally, a generous daily stipend is provided. If you or someone you know may be interested in providing Therapeutic Foster Care or would like to learn more about the new program, feel free to contact us using the info below.
Therapeutic Foster Care
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Therapeutic Foster Care? Is it different than traditional Foster Care?
Both kinds of foster care provide nurturing, safe, and daily care for children who require placement outside of their family. Therapeutic Foster Care is a powerful model of care that combines the positive aspects of a nurturing and therapeutic family environment with active and structured treatment. The treatment of children in a family setting is the principal approach of this program. In most cases, reunification with the natural family is the goal. Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) is for children dealing with emotional concerns and challenging behaviors, frequently due to difficult childhood experiences and trauma associated with loss, abuse, and neglect. Therapeutic Foster Parents and the children served are provided significant staff support from our staff to promote meaningful change and healing.
2. What does a Therapeutic Foster Parent do?
Therapeutic Foster Parents are the daily caregivers of children placed in the home, which is considered the child’s primary treatment setting. Therapeutic foster parent(s) are trained and supported by Juneau Youth Services (JYS) staff to help the child accomplish their treatment goals in collaboration with the child’s treatment team. Therapeutic Foster Parents are a vital member of the child’s treatment team while serving as a caring parent at the same time.
3. What kind of support will the Therapeutic Foster Parents receive from JYS?
Our program operates with a “team support” philosophy. We recognize a child’s success in the therapeutic foster home is more likely when Therapeutic Foster Parents are provided ongoing, intensive supports and services. JYS provides clinical consultation, and on-call crisis and clinical support 24/7. We support Therapeutic Foster Parents to take breaks from the responsibility of foster parenting to encourage self-care and support placement stability. JYS will compensate Therapeutic Foster Parents for a reasonable number of planned breaks, or planned/ unexpected absence of foster children. “Substitute care” by pre-approved adult caregivers can be arranged. Therapeutic Foster Parents are provided regular opportunity to join other JYS Therapeutic Foster Parents for group support and activities with our Therapeutic Foster Care Specialist and other program staff.
4. Is there training involved?
Pre-service training is required prior to licensure as a Therapeutic Foster Parent. All of our Therapeutic Foster Parents are provided no-cost, specialized training on the evidence-based Pressley Ridge Treatment Parent Training Curriculum. The Pressley Ridge model will help parents to increase understanding of child development, and develop the skills to help a child learn about healthy relationships, emotional and behavioral management, and usable life skills that promote the child’s personal, social, and educational success. Other pieces of training focus on safety (i.e. First Aid/CPR), crisis and emergency response. Once licensed as Therapeutic Foster Parents, annual training is required to maintain licensure.
5. Do I have to be married to be a Therapeutic Foster Parent?
No. We believe all types of people can be successful foster parents – married couples, domestic partners, empty nesters, same-sex couples and single people – as long as they can provide a child stability, love, and support.
6. What are some of the challenges children in TFC face?
Foster children are often affected by the separation from their family and sometimes this stress and worry are displayed in their behavior. Young people in foster care may suffer from developmental delays, depression, poor academic performance, low self-esteem, and/or poor hygiene. They may take more time to build trust. They may test limits. Because of the trauma and loss they have experienced, children in foster care will often need extra understanding and patience in adapting to your family’s routines. Most, however, do respond to caring patience provided with clear, but loving guidance, structure, and communication.
7. Can I choose the children I foster? Am I expected to take in any child that is referred to me?
No, you are never obligated, and must be comfortable with and equipped to care for the children recommended for placement in your home. To help you decide if the placement is a good one, JYS will talk with you to learn your family’s routines, style, and strengths so we can help you decide if a child being considered for placement in your home is a good match. You will be provided information about the child before making your decision to accept a child. We strive to ensure that both you and the child will be successful. Families may prefer a child placed be a specific age or gender. We encourage Therapeutic Foster Parents to keep an open mind about age and gender if possible, especially when siblings would benefit from placement in the same home, or we believe a child is a good fit for your family.
8. How long will a child or children remain in my home?
The nature of foster care is temporary, with the goal of reunification; however, each child’s situation is unique. A child may stay in your home for up to six months, a year, or longer. The length of stay depends on the permanency plan developed by the child’s treatment team, the child’s progress, and the status of the biological family.
9. I’m actually interested in adoption, so why should I consider foster care?
Many Foster Parents grow close to the children in their care. Foster Parents can and do adopt children that come into their lives when it is not possible for the child to return home or to be placed with a relative. It’s important to remember that the first goal is to reunite foster children with their families when possible. However, if a foster child who has been in your home becomes available for adoption, we will assist you to connect with the child’s Office of Children’s Services (OCS) legal guardian to discuss your interest in adoption.
10. Is there financial support?
Yes, along with the intangible benefits that come with providing TFC, our providers receive a daily reimbursement for providing daily treatment services to the child, and to assist with the costs of caring for the child, including food, clothing, shelter, hygiene, and other incidentals for the child. Foster children typically have their own medical and dental coverage. JYS staff will also regularly share information with Therapeutic Foster Parents about available free and low-cost activities, goods, and services that may benefit the child and foster family.
11. What if the biological family wants to visit a child placed in my home?
Juneau Youth Services realizes that children in foster care do better when parents and Foster Parents develop a partnership focused on the well-being of the child, so maximum efforts are expected to be made by Therapeutic Foster Parents and other treatment team members to support the permanency plan for the child. The frequency, duration of contact, and visits varies for each child but should occur as ordered by the Court or recommended by the child’s treatment team. Visits can occur in person or telephonically with the natural family, including but not limited to the child’s parents, siblings, and other relatives.
12. Can I still be a Therapeutic Foster Parent if I have a job outside the home?
Yes, you may work outside the home and be a foster parent. In fact, the stipend provided to Foster Parents for the care of the foster children may not be the sole income of the foster family. However, you must consider who will care for the child while you are at work and how you will meet the child’s needs.
13. How will my biological children be affected if I become a Therapeutic Foster Parent?
Inviting a child or children into your home is going to be a change for everyone in the family. We know different people deal with change in many different ways so we will address this very important issue in pre-service training and provide on-going support throughout the transition. Our goal at Juneau Youth Services is to assist your family in the process of preparing for this change and provide continued support as your family adjusts.
14. Do I have to own my home to be a Therapeutic Foster Parent? What if I rent?
Home ownership is not a requirement of becoming a Therapeutic Foster Parent. A prospective foster parent may own or rent a home, condo, or an apartment, but there must be sufficient and adequate space in the home to accommodate the child and his/her belongings. Regardless of your living situation, we will ask you to obtain and maintain homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, if you do not already have it.
15. Once I am licensed as a Therapeutic Foster Parent, how long until a child is placed in my home?
Once licensed, children may be placed with you as soon as a child that is a good match is identified, and you and your family are ready.