The title of foster parent is, in our opinion, one of the highest honors one can hold. Foster parents make a sacrificial commitment to those placed in their care to provide them a loving and safe home and community to live and ultimately heal and grow from their life circumstances.
As a foster parent, you have a say in many factors revolving around your fostering experience. You have the freedom and flexibility to decline any fostering opportunity and can select who comes into your home based on age, gender, your schedule, and many other lifestyle factors.
While most foster care agencies do their best to work with and accommodate the needs and desires of the foster families they work with, this has created a challenge in the fostering community as a whole.
It can be incredibly hard for foster care agencies to find homes and families for teens in foster care. Children under the age of 12 are much more likely to be placed in a caring foster home, while case workers struggle to find homes for teens.
A study done by Annie E. Casey foundation found that 58% of foster teens live in a foster home compared to 95% of children under the age of 12 in foster homes.
What does this mean for these teens?
Teens who cannot be placed into a foster home with foster parents are then placed into a group home. While this can be adequate, temporary housing for a teen, it is in no way a great long term solution. In fact, some states won’t pay for group home placement beyond two weeks.
Foster Home Vs. Group Home
Teens who are placed in group homes are forced to move more often, as they are temporary solutions. The environment of a group home does not often foster the healing and growth that a foster home can provide. Especially a therapeutic foster home, which is what we specialize in at Benchmark Family Services.
Group homes need to be regimented in order to support the volume of teens they see come through their doors. Mandated showers, schedules, and meals run their days. They are surrounded by professionals who do what they can to help the group and locked doors with many restrictions and little explanations.
Again, we know group homes are a great temporary and safe solution for teens in crisis, but as a therapeutic foster care agency in Kentucky and Indiana, we know we can offer these teens so much more.
Therapeutic foster parenting for teens involves providing them a safe home where they get to be a part of a family. As a therapeutic foster parent to a teen you will have the opportunity to partner with our Therapeutic Support Specialists and health professionals to provide a teen with the multiple resources they may need. Most specifically to you, you will provide them with a loving, encouraging, and positive lifegiving environment, something they can’t get anywhere else within the system.
The advantages of foster homes compared to group homes are astronomical and always preferred. Therapeutic Support Specialists, however, are having a hard time finding foster parents, specifically for teens.
If becoming a teen foster parent interests you in any way, we are talking to you right now. Don’t hesitate to reach out and provide this opportunity for life change, not only for the teens in your care but also yourself as you grow and learn from this unique opportunity.