Therapeutic Foster care
Many foster children have significant emotional, behavioral, or social issues or medical needs. CAP trains and supports foster parents to nurture these children.
You can help provide nurturing family-based care and treatment to a child or youth
"You may think you will change his life for the better, but in the end, you may find that he changes yours..."
The path into and through foster care can be a very bumpy one for children. The things that they experience with their birth family that lead to placement in foster care can leave the child with trauma, loss, inability to bond with loved ones, anger, fear, and more. Even before birth, they may be exposed to drugs or alcohol, or have challenging physical, developmental, emotional, or behavioral disabilities. And it may be difficult without knowing the child deeply to understand whether a disrupted home life and foster care are the cause of a child’s symptoms, or only more problems piled on top of the underlying issues.
Therapeutic foster parents receive specialized trauma training to care for a wide variety of children and adolescents, usually those with significant emotional, behavioral, or social issues or medical needs. Therapeutic foster care is designed to provide safe and nurturing trauma-informed care to a child or youth in a more structured home environment than typical foster care, but with a more loving family-like environment than a typical residential treatment facility.
Therapeutic foster care, with its strong focus on “therapeutic,” may support a child with emotional behaviors, allowing them to return to their family of origin without overwhelming their parents again. Or it may help a child prepare emotionally to join an adoptive family. Or it may give the child a strong foundation for life after foster care.
How to Become a Therapeutic Foster Care Family
There is a great need for special families who will care for children with high needs. The training for your family will be more extensive than for other foster parents, and may include trauma-informed parenting skills classes.
But the change you can make in a child's life is immeasurable. As one mother said, "It isn't always easy. But it's ALWAYS worth it!"
For more information, contact:
Children who have spent the longest time in foster care often have “diagnoses” – the natural result of the abuse, loss, and chaos they may have suffered.
According to one study, approximately half of the foster children evaluated had emotional or behavioral disorders or ADHD, with many having two or more.
Up to 80 percent of children in foster care have significant mental health issues, compared to approximately 18-22 percent of the general population...The American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Foster Care American Initiative, identifies mental and behavioral health as the “greatest unmet heath need for children and teens in foster care.”
An article in Social Worker Today quoted Debbie B. Riley, MS, executive director of the Washington, DC, metro area-based Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.):
...Unresolved grief and loss [is] a unique mental health care challenge of children in foster care and one that should be addressed by the system as a primary concern. “The kids are separated from their first families, separated from their friends, separated from schools, and separated from communities. They’re placed into new and different settings,” she says. “Nowhere along the journey do we spend time in helping children work through those significant losses in their lives.”
So CAP believes in providing these children with foster parents who are trained and compassionate enough to help them manage their mental health development on a day-to-day basis.