Therapeutic vs. Traditional foster care

Foster Care is the temporary care of children whose parents cannot care for their biological children. At StartFosterCare our goal is to help find the foster carer or prospective foster parent for foster kids in the US.

What happens to foster kids?

Foster Care has huge challenges, primarily in kids being too difficult to handle and foster parents quitting. As a result, kids get shunted from home to home with tragic pictures on TV showing them carrying their meager belongings in garbage bags.

To improve the situation, State Governments and Agencies keep working hard, and we try to help recruit the right foster parents who will be steady once a child is placed in Foster Care.

Nationally, in the US, there seems to be a consensus that it might be best if efforts are made (a) to reunite the kids with their biological families as soon as viable or (b) to find nearby kinship care if possible, or (c) Find unrelated foster parents that live near the biological parents.

Our efforts are focused primarily on finding unrelated foster parents locally. Check out our upcoming events:

Broadly there are two categories of foster kids. Traditional Foster Care involves caring for children who are “normal” kids not dis-similar to kids from a regular biological household in terms of behavioral issues. Therapeutic (or Treatment) foster kids are kids that need a higher level of care and attention to help resolve the trauma that they have suffered. Naturally, the therapeutic foster parent has a more difficult task. These parents are additionally trained and given additional support by the coordinating social worker representing the state, often through a contracted agency. Here are six things to know about Therapeutic Foster Care.

We all have good days and bad days

As the picture suggests, the same child is showing two moods. And that happens to all of us. It’s just that the therapeutic foster kid shows extended or repeated periods of difficult behavior. This is due to past trauma, and social workers call this behavior “acting up.”

If we pause and think of parents, school teachers, and coaches – they develop the skills to handle periodic “acting up” from the so-called “normal” kids. The important thing to remember is that therapeutic foster kids had past traumatic experiences for which they were removed from their biological home. See the AFCARS report for detailed data. The data does not provide the numbers of kids in therapeutic foster care, but as we have written before -removal from your biological home is traumatic by definition.

A useful way to think about becoming a therapeutic foster parent is to know that you are specially trained for the role. With experience, you became a valuable resource to your local community. And your licensing agency is only a phone call away for any additional support.

We at StartFosterCare consider trained licensed foster parents as professionals in their own right.

Above all, effective foster parents can turn the life of a child around.

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