Therapeutic Foster Care

therapeutic FC

Foster Care & Adoption information sessions: See dates |  While every child in foster care has special needs, children in therapeutic foster care have a specific and chronic mental health diagnosis that will require their foster families to provide intensive, ongoing interventions. We believe that well-trained and well-supported parents provide the most effective intervention possible to such young people and their families. Therapeutic foster parents serve as the primary responder for their foster child’s needs; they are the child’s primary advocate and first line of defense.

What are the characteristics of children who need therapeutic foster care?

Most children in need of therapeutic foster care are 10 years or older. Most have suffered abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. Since they have been removed either voluntarily or involuntarily from the homes of their parents or primary caretakers, these children often have very special emotional and behavioral challenges, which are compounded by their mental health issues.

Who can provide therapeutic foster care?

MHC does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender, marital status, employment status, or sexual orientation. Specific state requirements do exist. MHC provides training and a licensing program to individuals and couples who can open their homes to work with our children. Many parents with their own children in the home become therapeutic foster parents, and bring a wealth of experience to these professional roles.

What are the expectations of therapeutic foster parents?

  • To model healthy family living that helps children and their families learn and practice skills for safe and supportive relationships.
  • To provide nonphysical discipline that promotes self-esteem and respects each child’s culture and ethnicity.
  • To use specific treatment interventions that address the symptoms of a child’s mental health diagnosis.
  • To be the primary resource to the child and an integral member of the team of professionals caring for that child, getting him to therapy or other treatment appointments, writing daily notes about interventions and attending treatment team meetings.

Is there compensation?

MHC pays therapeutic foster parents a stipend, currently $60/day.

How long does it take to become a licensed therapeutic foster parent?

It is our goal to have families licensed within 90 days of their first visit with an MHC specialist. Following your initial phone screening and home visit, we will get you into training, and assist you in becoming licensed through the North Carolina Division of Social Services. We provide your training and assist with licensure; after you are licensed, we will reimburse you for your related costs. Once you are licensed, MHC will be ready to place children with you. You will need to take at least 10 hours of continuing education each year, in addition to your recertification.

How many therapeutic foster children can I keep?

Due to these young people’s intensive needs, a one-to-one ratio is preferred. A second child may be placed in a home that meets criteria, depending on the issues and individual needs of each youth. Children usually stay in a therapeutic foster home from four months to a year.

How can I become a therapeutic foster parent?

Call Methodist Home for Children at 888.305.4321. We look forward to talking with you and answering any questions. To become licensed, the state requires that therapeutic foster parents:

  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Be free of substantiated charges of abuse or neglect
  • Submit to a criminal background check, fingerprints, and references (a DWI charge in the last 5 years automatically disqualifies applicants, as does a history of violent crimes, and crimes against children)
  • Have a Fire Inspection of the home, and have adequate smoke detectors (MHC staff assists parents in meeting the inspection criteria)
  • Have physicals and TB tests; be cleared physically to take care of children
  • Have adequate sleeping arrangements for the children. At minimum, children must have their own bed. (For therapeutic foster care, their own room is preferable.)
  • Go through required training program provided by MHC

Note: Parents who operate an in-home daycare should call MHC for criteria.