Treatment Foster Care: a Growing Need In Child Welfare

You have heard the statistics, I’m sure. On any given day,  there are 13,000 of our Michigan children in foster care and  there are only 6,000 licensed foster homes. That means that  each foster parent would need to maintain 2-3 children every day in their home to ensure that these children have safe  and nurturing places to live while their families are working toward reunification. The problem is that these children are not always the right age, gender, ethnicity, distance away or have the behaviors to fit into any of these 6,000 homes.

Youth coming into foster care have typically experienced  multiple traumas and have not had the appropriate supports to feel safe and secure, even when they are. Some adjust better than others going into foster homes. Others struggle more with a general family environment.

Treatment Foster Care is a program that was developed to help those youth that struggle the most. Studies show that residential facilities are not always the best option. The children going to residential, while able to become stable, don’t learn how to function in the community, where they will eventually return. Treatment Foster Parents are given extra supports, trainings and tools to help those children progress and thrive in a nurturing home environment. Additional professionals participate in the team, helping the  foster parent to identify triggers and redirecting the child to  help support the foster parent. It is a rewarding experience to work with the youth and to watch them overcome obstacles you didn’t know they ever could. It is rewarding to play a hand in “fixing” the “broken” child.

Unfortunately, not only is there a shortage in foster homes, there is a shortage in treatment foster homes…a big shortage! We receive referrals daily for children that would benefit from being placed in a treatment foster home. Because agencies don’t typically have an opening in their treatment foster homes, most of those children are placed either in residential or in general foster care. These children often miss out on the additional supports they need in a nurturing environment that will help them to thrive.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Treatment Foster Parent or know someone that would be
great at it (you need to have time and LOTS of patience), inform your Licensing Specialist. We would be happy to share more information about requirements and supports for treatment foster care.

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Please Contact:
Joe DiBenedetto
Lambert & Co.
(516) 637-0597

Matt Friedman
Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
(248) 762-1430