Treatment Foster Care: One Parent's Story, page 2
Quick Facts Traditional vs Treatment
Our program may be different from some others but basically:
- Unlike traditional foster care our choices are long term and basically irrevocable until a client has either completed their treatment or is discharged;
- We serve difficult to place children who either have extreme behavioral problems (that can range from fire setting, homicidal or suicidalthoughts, anger, extreme opposition, depression, etc.), health challenges (physical or mental disability), legal challenges (probation, truancy, etc.) or just in need of a home to age out of the system. Basically something prevents the child from being placed in traditional foster care.
- We usually have 1-2 placements, some dual parents have 3.
- If more than one child is placed a parent must remain home.
- We usually must give each placement a bedroom to him/herself. It is a rare occurrence for a child to room with anyone else.
- Regardless of whether we have 1 or 3 placements,we must be on-call for our placements 24 hours a day and able to respond to emergencies. And we have many of those... running away, skipping medical appointments, suspension from school, etc.
- We are often transporting the child to appointments, meetings, etc.
- In traditional foster care you may have younger children, more placements, have the children share bedrooms and can request a child be moved if theyare not working out in your home. We do not have the option of removal - to quit on a child means we are choosing to quit doing treatment.
- In traditional foster care you have less contact and it's less invasive than treatment foster care. Our homes are visited more often and we are expected to implement treatment at a level which best meets a child's needs.
- We cannot have overnight guests without notice and often our children require constant supervision or monitoring.
- Treatment foster care requires much more training and takes longer to begin than traditional foster care. The homestudies are basically the same, but the agency may have more requirements such as locking up sharp objects, keeping medicine and cleaners under lock and key, etc.
With treatment foster care you are going to have to expect challenges and difficult behaviors. Each client has a set of patient rights to which the treatment family must ensure adherence. We are monitored closely to ensure we are doing what is in the best interest of the child, and we have tobe open to ongoing monitering and support in the form of advice and direction. If you think you
know what is best, be prepared to be challenged. It will not always be easy to understand the limits and needs for each individual child in your care.
I hope you can gain some insight into which of the two forms of foster care you would like for your family.
Our main purpose is providing a safe, loving environment for a child who would otherwise be incarcerated, in a hospital, or in an abusive unsafe situation with biological families.
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