Therapeutic Foster Care
The Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) program began at Elks Aidmore in March of 2012. The program allows youth in foster care to receive services through a foster family setting. Foster families are recruited, thoroughly screened and highly trained to meet the therapeutic needs of youth placed in their homes. Primary service areas include Conyers and the Metro Atlanta areas, with satellite offices in Dalton, Savannah and Valdosta. The agency is working with the “Home in Five” initiative in Athens (Clarke County) and surrounding area.
The youth in the TFC program range from 4 to 18 years old, and includes all races and ethnicities who have a history of physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect. They have been separated from their families and are often in State DFCS custody. Most of the youth in the TFC program have long histories of emotional and/or behavior problems. They have usually spent time in a residential treatment center or group home. They are ready to leave a treatment center and they need the love and support from a family who is specially trained to help them continue their growth in a safe and stable environment.
Common difficulties with TFC youth include arguing; refusing to follow directions, temper tantrums, lying, cursing, stealing, bedwetting, poor hygiene, school difficulties, and problems getting along with peers and/or adults. The youth in the TFC program generally have mental health difficulties including depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and most of them take medication to help them function better. Each child is assigned to a Family Consultant who acts as a supportive liaison to ensure that the child’s therapeutic, academic and medical needs are met. Family Consultants work closely with the child, the foster parent and all parties involved. Youth in Elks Aidmore’s TFC program receive weekly individual therapy from a licensed provider in the community, as referred by DFCS Case Manager and/or Elks Aidmore Family Consultant. The youth and foster parent meet monthly with the psychiatrist to ensure that the youth’s medication is appropriate. Children and adolescents are enrolled in a school in their county. Most youth receive special education services and some attend a special psycho-educational center.
The minimum requirements to become a therapeutic foster parent includes: parents must be at least 21 years of age, have reliable transportation; a Georgia driver’s license and car insurance; have a high school diploma or GED and one year of experience with children; be available full-time to meet the needs of the child (take to therapy appointments, meetings, arrange for after-school care, respond to emergencies, etc.); agree to abide by the discipline policy of no physical, emotional, cruel, and/or unusual punishment; be able to comply with all state requirements for approval; be emotionally, physically, and financially capable of parenting a child with special needs.
For more information about the Therapeutic Foster Care Program, please contact Jacqueline Jordan:
Jacqueline Jordan, LPC
Director of Community Services-North
2394 Morrison Road, SW
Conyers, GA 30094