Eight questions you might have about treatment foster care
When you think of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), do you ever think of a child in the foster care system having that diagnosis? Children enter foster care through no fault of their own and could have been exposed to child abuse, neglect, violence and many other traumatic events. Some children entering care may need more one-on-one attention and help from an extensive care unit. For children with significant emotional, behavioral, or medical issues, treatment foster care might be the best option. Would you consider becoming a foster parent for children who need treatment foster care?
Below are eight questions you might have about treatment foster care:
1. What is treatment foster care?
Treatment foster care is a family-based, specialized service that provides individualized treatment for a wide variety of children and adolescents, usually those with significant needs. Treatment is guided by an intensive plan that foster parents follow. The plan consists of goals that are individualized to each child’s needs. Treatment foster care is designed to provide a more structured home environment than typical foster care and an alternative to a residential facility.
2. Who should become a treatment foster care parent?
Treatment foster care requires a household to have routine and structure. Experience with care or education would be a plus but not required. Treatment foster parents are expected to have more responsibilities than a typical foster parent. You can only have one treatment foster child in your home at a time unless the child has a sibling. Treatment parent(s) will be part of a professional treatment team that will consist of the case manager, supervisor, behavioral aide, birth parents and other community members.
3. Will I get training?
YES! You will definitely get training and support throughout the whole process. Treatment parent(s) will be part of a professional treatment team. To become a foster parent, an individual is required to have 16 hours of PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education) training. To become a treatment foster parent, 30 additional hours of training is required.
4. How long will a child be with me?
Any type of foster care is meant to be temporary and adoption is meant to be permanent. Goals for treatment foster care, however, might be either to help children enough that they are able to go to a foster home that is not treatment-based or to reunify them with their biological parents.
5. How old do I have to be?
As a foster parent in Michigan, you can be as young as 18 years old, but for treatment foster care you must be a minimum of 25 years old. This doesn't mean that both people in the household have to be 25 though. If your partner is younger than 25 that is okay, but at least one treatment parent needs to be 25.
6. Can I still work?
Yes, a treatment foster parent can still work but, just like any parent, will need a good support system. A treatment parent will be required to work more with the foster child and the birth parents, and need to function as part of a professional team. "Someone with a flexible or part-time work schedule works best,” said Luna Phetmisy, director of Family Preservation at Oakland Family Services. “We need part-time or retired teachers, counselors, coaches or professionals."
7. Will I get paid?
You will get a non-taxable room and board reimbursement from the government, just like typical foster care, but the amount will be higher as the needs are greater with treatment foster care. It has been reported that the greatest reward comes from seeing a child learn and grow in your care and knowing you've been a part of making a difference in a child's life.
8. Can I adopt the child?
Foster care is meant to be a temporary placement until a child can be returned to his or her home. When children cannot be returned to their home, that is when the foster parents may be asked if they would like to adopt.
There are more than 13,000 children in foster care in Michigan alone. Oakland Family Services believes that foster care is a service to our most vulnerable children and placement of children in qualified foster homes is our highest goal. Oakland Family Services will soon offer treatment foster care, and we need your help! Whether you are already a foster parent and want to take that next step into treatment foster care, you want to become a traditional foster parent, or you just want to share this information and spread awareness, every little bit helps! Contact us to receive more information or if you have any questions!