FAQ’s About Therapeutic Foster Care

Most people are unaware that there can be different types of foster care. And that’s okay. While many people are familiar with the term “foster parent” few are aware of the “therapeutic foster parent” who is specially trained to foster children requiring higher levels of care.

We are a service that specializes in therapeutic foster care. Because we work with a specialized population of foster children, we emphasize the unique requirements of being a therapeutic foster parent. By forming bonds with our inquisitive prospective parents through meaningful conversations, we make sure no question goes unanswered and that the important decision to be a therapeutic parent is an informed decision.

Following are some frequently asked questions about therapeutic foster care.

1. What is therapeutic foster care and how does it differ from traditional foster care?

Therapeutic foster care is somewhat like traditional foster care as families is providing support and stable homes to children who are unable to live with their biological families or previous caregivers for various reasons.

However, therapeutic foster care differs from traditional foster care in that we serve a demographic of children who have unique behavioral social, physical or emotional needs. This level of care is done in conjunction with other professional services such as medical, educational or psychiatric treatment or therapy.

2. What are the requirements to become a therapeutic foster parent?

You must be 21 years or older to become a foster parent. Foster parents must be citizens of the United States and pass a series of background checks. All pre-service training must be completed prior to certification. The number of hours for pre-service training varies by state. There will be a home study as well as interviews with the family and a safety audit must be completed on the home.

Following certification, foster parents must attend ongoing training with Benchmark to maintain certification. These hours also vary by state. Training schedules are flexible and Benchmark is committed to working with our families to help them complete their training requirements.

3. Can I be a therapeutic foster parent if I am single?

Yes. There are no marital requirements for becoming a foster parent.

4. Can I be a therapeutic foster parent if I work full or part-time?

You can be a foster parent and work full or part-time. There are no requirements that you be a stay-at-home mom or dad in order to foster. We will work with you in your situation and make sure you have an adequate and approved care plan if your job is work from home.

5. Who pays for therapeutic services or doctor visits?

All children in therapeutic foster care will have their own insurance which should take care of the medical or other therapeutic services.

6. How long will a child stay in therapeutic foster care?

The length of time a child remains in foster care varies by their individual situation. This can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. The average foster care stay is 12 to 18 months.

One of the goals of foster care is for children to be reunified with their biological families or designated caregivers. Once this has been determined then they may do so and the necessity for foster care ends. If reunification is not in the best interest of the foster child or teen, other options may be adoption, a permanent planned living arrangement, or independent living if they meet the age requirement.

7. What is Emergency Placement?

Emergency placement happens when the child’s safety is directly at risk and they must be removed from their current situation immediately—day or night. When becoming a foster parent you will be able to select whether or not you want to be available for emergency placement.

8. How do I get started?

If you have additional questions about therapeutic foster care in Indiana and Kentucky or you are ready to get started on the process of becoming a therapeutic foster parent, contact our team at Benchmark Family Services.

We are passionate about the services we provide for the children in our care. Accept the challenge to make a difference. Become a therapeutic foster parent with Benchmark Family Services!