CHOSEN TFC - frequent questions
...often asked by families considering foster parenting:
Q: WHAT IS TREATMENT FOSTER CARE (TFC)?
A: Treatment Foster Care (TFC) is one of the State of Maryland’s many approaches to addressing the problems of child abuse and neglect. TFC is a level of care reserved for children who have been removed from their biological families by one of Maryland’s Departments of Social Service. It is distinct from what one might call “regular” foster care in that the children assigned to TFC demonstrate significant emotional, psychological, behavioral, and/or health challenges. Success in TFC depends on a partnership among the biological family, the referring agency, the professional social workers in the TFC program, the treatment foster parents, and the foster child.
Q: WHAT KINDS OF KIDS DO YOU SERVE IN CHOSEN?
A: CHOSEN kids are referred by a local Department of Social Services (DSS) within the State of Maryland, with most referrals coming from Baltimore and Prince George’s counties in FY13.
Q: WHAT ARE THE AGES OF THE CHILDREN SERVED?
A: The children range in age from birth to 21 years old. However; the average age child currently being referred is between 12 and 18.
Q: DO WE GET TO CHOOSE THE AGE, RACE OR GENDER OF THE CHILD PLACED WITH US?
A: Yes. We will discuss your preferences during the interview and home study. Treatment parents can always say “no” to a placement about which they feel uncomfortable. Please know that we take your family dynamics very seriously and would only place a child in your home that we feel is a good match. There may be times we ask you to consider a child outside of your preferred age/race/gender and ask that you be open in those cases to consider why we might have thought of you as a good match for this child.
Q: WHAT KIND OF BEHAVIORAL OR EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS DO THE CHILDREN HAVE -- ARE THEY ALL ABUSED OR NEGLECTED?
A: Our children have been abused, neglected or have suffered some traumatic experience in their lives. The type of behavioral or emotional problems differ for each child. They can include running away, substance use, aggression, developmental delays, educational deficits, sexually inappropriate behavior, depression, etc.
Q: WHAT KINDS OF SUPPORT DO FOSTER PARENTS RECEIVE?
A: CHOSEN parents receive extensive initial and ongoing training, supervision and support in the form of weekly home visits, 24 hour crisis intervention, and respite care. CHOSEN parents also receive financial compensation.
Q: DO ALL COUPLES HAVE TO BE MARRIED TO BECOME CHOSEN PARENTS?
A: Yes, BFCS certifies couples who are legally married for at least 1 year.
Q: CAN SINGLE PEOPLE BECOME CHOSEN PARENTS?
A: Yes. We do ask all potential single parents to select a Secondary Treatment Parent (STP). This is a person who will help them when support is needed. A neighbor, friend or relative can be your STP. The STP must meet the same criteria that a primary parent meets.
Q: WHAT IF MY SECONDARY PARENT OR I CAN'T MAKE IT TO ALL OF THE TRAINING CLASSES?
A: We require that no more than 2 classes be missed by either of the treatment parents. If more than two classes would be missed, then we ask that you wait until another training class begins that will be more suitable to your schedules. Yet, if one and/or the other needs to legitimately miss 1 or 2 classes, we have make-up trainings scheduled throughout the training session. Both parents have to complete all trainings. So, one cannot substitute for the other.
Q: WHAT IF I JUST WANT TO BE A RESPITE (PART-TIME) PARENT OR IF I'M NOT SURE IF I WANT TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH BECOMING AN APPROVED PARENT...CAN I STILL ATTEND THE CLASS?
A: Yes, we are always in need of respite parents. We encourage people to attend our training because we know the skills we teach work, whether you decide to become a treatment parent or not. We like to emphasize that your commitment to us as well as our commitment to you is only tentative during the training and the home study process because it needs to be a thoroughly investigated decision on both our parts.
Q: I AM CURRENTLY WITH ANOTHER FOSTER CARE AGENCY. CAN I BE A TREATMENT PARENT FOR TWO AGENCIES AT THE SAME TIME?
A: No. Maryland state regulations require that a foster family CANNOT be approved by two agencies at the same time. Therefore, a family would need to formally resign from their current agency and agree to allow the agencies to share information related to performance. Also, we discourage any change in agencies if the foster family is currently caring for a foster child as any disruptions in placement are very difficulty for all involved.
Q: DO I NEED TO HAVE A CAR?
A: Yes. CHOSEN parents are required to have transportation.
Q: WHAT IF I WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME?
A: That is okay. CHOSEN parents are required to be economically stable outside of the financial compensation paid to them by our agency. You would be asked to locate safe and stable alternate care, supervision after school and at other times work would not allow you to provide it.
Q: DO I HAVE TO BE EMPLOYED?
A: No. CHOSEN parents are required to be economically stable outside of the financial compensation paid to them by our agency. So, you do not have to have a job but you must have a permanent and sufficient source of income (i.e. retirement benefits, disability income, etc.). Unemployment is not a permanent source of income.
Q: DOES THE CHOSEN CHILD HAVE TO HAVE THEIR OWN ROOM?
A: No, but you need to have adequate space for the CHOSEN child. One child can stay in a room that is 80 square feet and two children can share a room that is 120 square feet or larger.
Q: HOW MANY FOSTER CHILDREN CAN I CARE FOR?
A: There are many demands placed on your time and energy. For that reason, we prefer to only place one child (in special circumstances two youth) per home. There are exceptions especially for sibling sets.