What is Treatment Foster Care?
Treatment Foster Care or Therapeutic Foster Care allows children and youth with a higher level of medical and/or behavioral needs who need to enter foster care to live with a family, which research shows is the best environment for children. As explained in our video FAQ, “What is TFC?” children and youth in treatment foster care tend to be older (over four) and have more behavior issues than children in standard foster care. These children need foster parents who are willing to go beyond meeting basic needs and take an active role in their treatment.
Foster parents licensed to provide treatment foster care receive more extensive training and a higher level of support and resources so they can be effective members of the treatment team for their foster children. Intercept Youth Treatment Foster Care provides monthly trainings where foster parents can be equipped and connect with other therapeutic foster parents and have *24/7 access to support from caring professionals on the Intercept team.
Foster kids often have a reputation as being “bad” or “rebellious” and many think this is the reason they are in foster care. The reverse is actually true: children in foster care are not acting out because they are bad, they are acting out because something bad happened to them and they are doing their best to cope with the trauma of abuse and/or neglect. When they are removed from an unsafe situation, they will often still rely on the coping mechanisms they developed to survive in an unhealthy environment, even though they are no longer necessary. In a stable, healthy environment, these behaviors can seem odd, unnecessary, and even problematic.
These children need compassion and understanding as they learn to live in a new environment and begin to heal from their traumatic experiences. Children who have experienced trauma can recover, but they may need therapy and other interventions in addition to a stable, supportive, and loving environment where they can feel safe to stop coping and start just being a kid.
Treatment foster care can be challenging, but, like many challenging things, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Seeing a child who is depressed and withdrawn or angry and aggressive start to open up and gain the skills to express their emotions in a healthy way and have positive, trusting relationships is truly amazing. Therapeutic foster parents can make a lasting, positive, impact in a child’s life.
Can you open your heart and home to a child who has experienced trauma so they can begin to heal? Become a treatment foster parent! If you live in Virginia, contact us at Intercept TFC and we'll answer any questions you may have and help you start the process!