Traditional Vs. Therapeutic Foster Care

When learning about foster care, many wonder about the difference between traditional and therapeutic foster care. While these two types of foster care have a lot of similarities, there are also some key differences that should be acknowledged when considering becoming a foster parent. 

Knowing the differences between traditional and therapeutic foster care in Indiana and Kentucky can help you or other prospective foster parents understand and decide if becoming a therapeutic foster parent could be the right next step for them.

What is Therapeutic Foster Care? 

In general, therapeutic foster care, which is sometimes referred to as treatment foster care, involves caring for children and teens in a specific population. These children and youth usually have emotional, behavioral, social, or medical issues. Because of this, they benefit from being placed with families who have received specialized training.

Many children who benefit from the therapeutic foster care model have experienced extraordinary trauma or loss. Others may be developmentally delayed or have medical concerns. Oftentimes, those in therapeutic foster care have struggled within the traditional foster care system. 

What makes therapeutic foster care unique and successful is the intentional and individualized treatment plan each child or teen received. This plan often includes behavioral health services, therapy, and medication monitoring

The Role of a Therapeutic Foster Parent

As a Therapeutic foster parent, you are partnering with a team of professionals in mental, physical, and emotional health to support the child or children in your care. Therapeutic foster parents play an important role in getting these children the support they need, in addition to providing a safe and caring environment to live in. 

What is Traditional Foster Care

In comparison, children who are in traditional foster care have also been removed from their families due to abuse, neglect, or other reasons but they don’t require the same amount of intensive services or support. Reunification is almost always the goal of traditional foster care. 

The Role of a Traditional Foster Parent

A traditional foster parent is there to provide the same safe and caring home as a therapeutic foster parent. A traditional foster parent will also be involved in scheduling activities or extracurriculars and general health care or doctor’s appointments. Traditional foster parents will work less with healthcare providers and other professionals on a consistent basis.

Therapeutic Foster Care in Indiana and Kentucky

As you may be able to imagine, recruiting and keeping foster parents can be a struggle. This is even more true for finding therapeutic foster parents. The need for caring and committed therapeutic foster parents is high and Benchmark family services is passionate about supporting and equipping you to become a therapeutic foster parent. For more information, contact our Agency today.