How NVFS’ treatment foster care program prepares its foster parents for success
At its heart, foster care is about creating a safe, supportive and loving environment for foster children to thrive. These children need this support to rebuild healthy, trusting and mutually rewarding relationships with the people in their lives. This is especially true for those who have experienced trauma stemming from abandonment, death of a caregiver, or behavioral and medical needs not being met.
About NVFS Foster Care
NVFS’ Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program specializes in caring for these children, and providing hands-on training and support to adults who are interested in becoming foster parents in these children’s journeys of rebuilding.
“To ensure children’s safety, TFC placements provide more structure than regular foster care placement,” says TFC Program Manager Nita Lescher. “Treatment foster parents get more intensive and comprehensive training on the effects of trauma on children’s brain development so they have a deeper understanding of children’s needs and know how to respond effectively to what they may encounter when a treatment foster child moves into their home.”
Before a foster parent can be certified in treatment foster care, they must attend 24 hours of pre-service training, which draws on several evidence-based foster parent training models including the following: how and why children enter foster care, how the children find their way to NVFS, how NVFS places foster children in foster homes, the importance of contact with birth families, tactics for disciplining maladaptive behavior, the effects of trauma on certain behaviors and more.
Because of the larger demand for care with TFC, NVFS’ case managers and program leaders are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for treatment foster parents to call if they need assistance or advice concerning their foster children. NVFS also conducts an in-depth home study on all prospective foster parents to ensure their home and lifestyle is conducive in raising a foster child.
“NVFS treatment foster parents receive ongoing support from a case manager who visits at least twice monthly to assess the parent-child relationship and offer support as needed,” added Lescher.
Along with certification and in-home visits, NVFS’ TFC program offers monthly in-person training and support groups, which encourage seasoned foster parents to engage with newer foster parents to facilitate relationships and exchange resources.
NVFS’ TFC program and our one-on-one support has proven to be successful time and time again in providing both foster child and foster parent with the tools they need to succeed.
“Life has taught most foster children not to trust adults,” shared Lescher. “Foster children often feel the need to control situations, especially change. Foster parents must earn these children’s trust by being non-reactive, consistent, predictable and loving. When foster children learn to trust their caretakers, they slowly become more open to sharing, showing emotional vulnerability and having positive exchanges.”
NVFS is proud to be one of the few foster care programs certified in Treatment Foster Care and relaying the importance of fostering in our community.
The need for foster parents, especially TFC foster parents, in Northern Virginia is never ending. Families don’t foster forever, and unless they adopt their foster children, those children will need another loving, supportive and welcome home to turn to.
Through the combined efforts of educating, certifying foster parents and sharing the importance of fostering in Northern Virginia, the Treatment Foster Care program continues to raise awareness on the importance of foster care, how NVFS is serving this population in our community and informs the public about the ongoing need for foster families.
If you’re interested in learning more about NVFS foster care, please visit our website.