It is worth noting the approach taken to therapeutic foster care in the U.S. There are broad similarities to what happens in the U.K. When instituted in the U.S., children are appropriately assessed for for both trauma and mental health issues. Then an accurate and detailed determination is made for the delivery of services in the foster home – or for out-of-home services that meet conditions of safety, a service plan for permanency, as well as a process for the development of well-being. Following this life-skills training is aligned with behavioural outcomes that have been defined as part of an individualised care/treatment plan.
The provision of mental health services is based upon assessed deficits, strengths and best practices in clinical intervention. Foster caregivers are trained in specialised skills to deal with the emotional and behavioural needs of individual children. They are then supported and monitored with a view to their achieving measurable goals set by therapeutic foster care professionals.
In the U.S., traditional foster care rarely provides for these detailed and intense responses. Therapeutic foster care, by contrast, does. This means that specific groups – whether sexually abused, oppositional defiant diagnosed children, or those who are developmentally delayed and perhaps with mental health issues – always receive specialist intervention and support.
It is recognised that all children/young people will experience some level of stress and trauma when removed from their original homes and placed with strangers. There will still be a level of stress incurred when placed with relatives. The severity of circumstances that necessitated the original removal from their birth families, the resilience of an individual child, the experience of being moved out and the experience/competence of the receiving foster carers all combine to impact on the child’s sense of trust and vulnerability.
A major focus is given to the effort to restore emotional development so that children can develop to meet the challenges of self-confidence, career choices and ‘relationship competence’ with a future spouse. Therapeutic foster care aims to ensure that these areas can be satisfactorily met as they will determine the course of child/young persons’ lives. It is clearly important that self-confidence and personal competence are at a level to make independent living possible. As the U.S system states – accomplishing this vital goal is only possible when:
providers have created essential partnerships with child welfare, mental health, legislators, as well as other agencies that are responsible for children/young people in state care;
independent living and transitional living supports and curricula should be extensive, outcomes well- focused, adaptable to meet the unique needs and considerations of each child/young person in therapeutic foster care, and are then provided by a consistent person (or team of people) to the transitioning-to-adulthood youngster;
youngsters are encouraged to access counselling services with professionals who have training in trauma informed care, and who will accurately diagnose and deal with issues of traumatic response and/or mental illness as presented by youngsters;
providers to access guidance and protocols for functional assessments of youngsters to help them understand their behaviours and to increase positive behavioural support. Such guidance can be easily obtained through national associations and networks.
And as is stated:
the United States continues to recognise the plight of children in need of protection from abuse, neglect, and violence, the unique skills and training of therapeuticcare professionals offer key opportunities for ‘treatment and healing across the continuum of care.’
With the support of national partnering organisations, commitment be maintained to serving vulnerable youngsters and families with the goals of ‘safety, a permanent connection, and skills to enable well-being for each and every youngster in care in America.’
Best practice in therapeutic foster in the U.S.
Best practices in therapeutic care provides for an array of clinical services and interventions which are broadly similar to the services typically available in more restrictive, congregate, and residential care settings. However, therapeutic foster care services are provided within specially trained – as well as supervised foster homes in local communities. Usually, youngsters in therapeutic foster care are at local public schools. And for most of these youngsters, living in a therapeutic foster care home, is their first experience of a family home environment where healthy adult-to-adult and adult-to-child communication and behaviours are in place.
When it has been deemed that youngster is appropriate for therapeutic foster care and that individual meets the medically necessary requirements of the state Medicaid authority, the process of entry into therapeutic foster care starts. Each youngster is assessed on the basis of his/her trauma experiences, developmental stage, current physical and emotional health and educational and behavioural deficits. An assessment will also be made regarding their individual strengths and interests. The resultant assessment is then compiled to make a match for that child with specific therapeutic foster care parents. They will have had training and possess experience – with professional competence that will optimise an appropriate fit for the youngsters healing and success.
Therapeutic foster care parents in most states will receive approximately two times the initial training of traditional foster carers. They will also be required to continue their education and training throughout the year. Therapeutic foster carers are the ‘change agent’. They are available to youngsters in foster care on a 24/7 basis for support, treatment intervention, crisis stabilisation, as well as a connection with the school and local community. Therapeutic foster carers are viewed as professional participants within the clinical treatment team. Their role will include supervising specific life skills and social skills training, daily interventions, and recording all these interventions in the youngster’s treatment day logs. Therapeutic foster carers will receive specialised training in various mental health and trauma disorders – as well as in cultural sensitivity as may be appropriate for each youngster.
The best practice sets out that only one or two youngsters in therapeutic foster care are to be placed in a home – unless special considerations apply for sibling groups – or some other unique circumstances.
What is key to the success of carers is the 24/7 ‘round the clock’ supervision and support that is made available to the foster family by the contracting a therapeutic care agency: a therapist supports the child – as well as the foster family. He/she will contact or meet with the therapeutic foster care family weekly, and they can be called upon at any time. The Agency staff devise and then monitor the youngster’s treatment plan. These state-licensed mental health care professionals offer crisis intervention as necessary and they also promote respite for therapeutic foster care parents.
The creation of a youngster’s treatment plan is the responsibility of the staff at the Therapeutic foster care agency. The treatment plan that is devised is specific to the needs of each youngster. It is then monitored regularly for compliance. The plan is subject to ongoing assessment and evaluation process. Authorisation of an individual treatment plan by state auditing bodies will then occur no less than every 90 days.
Therapeutic care agency staff will provide individual and family therapy for the foster family along with the biological family where needed. Group therapy may also be provided, especially in the case of sibling groups. There will also be regular consultation and collaboration with youth welfare workers, Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers – as well as and other invested professionals. They will be involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the clinical treatment plan which promote best practice.
The training of therapeutic carers at Rainbow
As a carer you will receive quality training that will enable you to foster children with complex needs. This training has enabled our carers to develop skills – as well as build their own expertise. A therapeutic carer is at the heart of the team playing a key role in helping a child to build a brighter, better future. There is also specialist training for people who want to focus on therapeutic foster care. If you have any further questions on therapeutic care training online, therapeutic foster care uk, training for therapeutic foster care – call us today on 020 8427 3355. We can arrange a home visit to meet with you and discuss this specialised area of care in more detail so you can be sure you are making the right decision.
For therapeutic care training, we welcome applications from people experienced in working with children: a background in education, social work, the police or youth work can be ideal.
And we welcome applicants regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or cultural background. For more information, if you prefer, you can also write to us at Rainbow Fostering Services Ltd, 10 Churchill Court, 58 Station Road, North Harrow, London HA2 7SA
General foster care – meet the need: foster a youngster in 2018
We are urgently looking for people interested in offering homes to teenagers, sibling groups or for our parent and child placements.
For therapeutic care training, we welcome applications from people experienced in working with children. And this is regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or cultural background. You can also write to us: our address is Rainbow Fostering Services Ltd, 10 Churchill Court, 58 Station Road, North Harrow, London HA2 7SA
And on today’s Rainbow news page:
Report on foster care from House of Commons Education Committee
27th December, 2017
The House of Commons has released a report into foster care which follows an inquiry which began in October 2016. The leading charity, The Fostering Network, provided oral and written evidence (more) http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK
And the good news at the end of this December Rainbow…we are looking forward to a successful start to the year and hope to welcome many new applicants. We wish everyone a Happy New Year