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KVC Kentucky

Therapeutic Foster Care vs. Traditional Foster Care | What’s the Difference?

therapeutic foster care

What Is Foster Care?

Children and teens enter foster care when their family is going through a crisis and acts as an opportunity to resolve conflicts. Youth who have experienced abuse or neglect and are deemed unsafe to remain in the home by the courts are placed in foster homes. Foster care is a temporary arrangement that gives the youth’s family an opportunity to learn healthy skills so they can safely return home. On average, more than half of all children and teens entering foster care return to their birth family within a year.

When a child or teen enters foster care, their caseworker aims to disrupt the child’s life as little as possible by trying to find a trusted family member for them to live with, or an adult in their life that they already know like a coach or a teacher. Remaining in their home community and attending the same school is also important so that the child can be surrounded by familiar people and routines. However, when there isn’t an option to live with a family member or adult they know, the child will be placed in a foster home.

What Is Therapeutic Foster Care?

Therapeutic foster care (TFC) is a specialized form of foster care. TFC is designed to provide youth with elevated behavioral, mental and medical needs with more therapeutic support than that of traditional foster care. TFC providers receive more training, support and resources than those who provide traditional foster care.

What Are the Requirement Differences?

Traditional Foster Care

To meet general requirements in Kentucky you must:

  • Be able to provide a nurturing and supportive home to a child in need
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be either single or married
  • Be able to meet basic income guidelines
  • Be able to provide adequate bedroom space and a separate bed for each foster child
  • Have reliable transportation
  • Agree to use non-physical discipline for children
  • Be willing for everyone in your household to undergo complete background checks.

Therapeutic Foster Care

TFC providers go through the same requirements listed above, and go through more specialized training:

  • Be willing to complete 30+ hours of free Therapeutic Foster Care Training which includes nine in-person classes and six online classes. This course can also now be completed entirely online. Click here to get started.

Are There Any Differences in the Types of Support I’ll Receive?

As a KVC foster family, you’ll receive a wide range of support, including but not limited to:

  • Free initial and ongoing training opportunities
  • 24-hour phone support
  • Health insurance for the child
  • Assistance finding local resources
  • A fun weekend away at our Resource Family Conference, which provides a fantastic learning experience for parents and children
  • Reimbursement to meet the child’s needs plus assistance with back-to-school supplies and holiday gifts.

In addition to the resources above provided to all KVC families, as a KVC TFC Provider you’ll receive the following additional supports:

  • Mental health treatment for the children in your care from a KVC therapist or help connecting with community resources and support
  • Family Support Worker specifically designated to support and assist your family.
  • Respite support from trained respite providers
  • An enhanced daily rate to support the youth in your care

Meeting the Financial Needs of a Child

  • Traditional foster care: Rates are reimbursed by the state depending on the needs of the child
  • Therapeutic foster care: The daily reimbursement for children placed in TFC homes is higher than that of general foster care, and also dependent on the needs of the child.

Each youth in foster care receives a medical card when they enter out-of-home care. Some youth are also covered under their family’s private insurance.

There are over 9,000 Kentucky children in foster care due to child abuse, neglect or other serious family challenges, and the state is currently experiencing a shortage of adults willing to care for youth with these challenges, and more foster parents are needed than ever before. The most significant way you can help is by becoming a foster parent. KVC Kentucky provides both traditional and TFC options. If you’re interested, we’d love to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process. Click here to learn more or contact us!

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