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

treatment 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 and 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 Treatment Foster Care?

Treatment 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 Missouri you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Complete a child abuse/neglect check and criminal record check including fingerprints
  • Be in good health, both physically and mentally
  • Have a stable income
  • Be willing to participate in and complete a free training and assessment process
  • Be part of a professional team willing to voice perspectives and concerns
  • Be willing to partner with the child’s family
  • Be a documented US citizen

Treatment Foster Care

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

  • Complete the approved 27 hours of pre-service training curriculum to become a licensed traditional foster parent prior to receiving the training to become a TFC foster home. The type of pre-service training depends on the county where you live.
  • An additional 27 hours of approved specialized training is required to become a TFC family.
  • Continuing Education Requirements: TFC foster parents are required to complete 10 hours of in-service training hours, in addition to the 30 hours of in-service training required for traditional foster home license renewal. In the state of Missouri, if families wish to renew their license, they go through that process every two years.

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:

  • Foster parent therapists and support groups
  • 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. These workers have smaller-than-traditional caseloads so that they are able to dedicate more time and energy to supporting TFC families.
  • 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
  • Treatment 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 13,800 Missouri 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 Missouri 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!

Help children and teens by becoming a foster parent with KVC.