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March 2013Vol. 14, No. 2Treatment Foster Care and Well-Being

Treatment foster care is a strengths-based, evidence-informed, and trauma-sensitive method for caring for maltreated youth through assistance and supervision from specially trained foster parents and clinical staff. These specialized treatments have been shown to effectively promote social connections and other positive outcomes. Treatment foster care is a State-authorized treatment plan, not a placement, and a new report outlines how the principles of treatment foster care can promote well-being.

The report profiles two programs, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland and Anu Family Services in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Kennedy Kreiger Institute's Therapeutic Foster Care program treats children and youth in foster care who have experienced complex trauma and have a variety of developmental disorders and medically fragile conditions. Anu Family Services aims to be the last placement prior to permanence and employs Darla Henry's 3-5-7 Model focused on grief work to help youth achieve well-being.

Many agencies that provide treatment foster care follow the principles of Program Standards for Treatment Foster Care developed by the Foster Family-Based Treatment Association (FFTA) to promote consistency of practice across the States. The authors advocate for national standards for treatment foster care, claiming that without a uniform Federal definition, the quality of services from State to State will continue to vary substantially. In addition, Medicaid rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concerning services, qualifications of programs, and outcomes for youth would allow States to reimburse programs for clinical services to youth through wraparound services and systems of care.

Beyond Safety and Permanency: Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being for Youth in Treatment Foster Care was published by the FFTA and is available on its website: (216 KB)