Besides regular foster care, what are the other foster parenting options open to families in Connecticut?
Private foster care agencies in CT have contracts with the Department of Children and Families to provide foster homes for children ages 6-17 with more moderate to acute needs. These foster care programs are called Therapeutic, Therapeutic-Enhanced level foster care, Multi-Dimensional Treatment (MTFC) foster care and Family and Community Ties (FCT) foster care. These additional programs are designed for children and youth who have extraordinary psychological and/or special medical needs. A higher rate of monthly reimbursement is provided to these foster parents since the care, expectations and training exceed the expectations of general foster care home providers.
Therapeutic Foster Care is a more intensive level of care than “regular” DCF foster care. Therapeutic foster parents care for children ages six and older who have moderate to severe behavioral and emotional needs. Families are provided weekly visits from their social worker/case manager and have more community and agency supports quickly available/provided to them. Therapeutic foster parents also attend classes for an advanced level of training and maintain a very close relationship with their agency to support their family and their foster child. In general, youth remain in these homes for six months to two years, preparing to either return home to a now-healthy biological family, or preparing for adoption by another family or the foster family. Many agencies mandate monthly support group attendance, and most agencies offer monthly trainings.
Multi-Dimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) is an evidence based program that provides short-term, specialized foster care for children with emotional and behavioral challenges ages 12-17. Skilled, specialized licensed foster families provide a stabilized and structured environment to maintain children in the community with the intent to return the child home to an identified aftercare resource. While in MTFC, each child receives intensive individual counseling and skills training. The foster family acts as part of the treatment team, working directly with the youth and the MTFC team to decrease identified barriers to reunification. Simultaneously, a family therapist works with the biological family or other identified aftercare resource to prepare them for the youth’s return home. MTFC provides the foster family with 24 hour support, weekly support groups and ongoing training. The expected length of stay within the program is 9-12 months.
Family and Community Ties (FCT) is a new Connecticut program begun in 2012, providing clinical support services to children with special needs who are in the care of the Department of Children and Families. These children are in need of supports beyond the level of Therapeutic Foster Care. The purpose of the program is to integrate them back into a home setting with wrap services. The children in this program have spent a great deal of time in residential settings and therefore know more about being a “client” than being a part of a family. FCT is a model of foster care which trains families to professionally care for these children on a long term basis by offering intensive support systems both at their home and in the community. Generally speaking, this program requires two adults and prefers that there be no other children in the home.
FAM partners provide additional training and support services to families who choose to provide any of these higher levels of care, including twenty-four hour on-call support. Please visit our Partners Page to see a list of partners and access links to their websites or contact FAM for additional information.