Need desperate for therapeutic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2000

foster care parents


Features Editor

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Dec. 6, 2000 10 PM

Christmas and children just naturally go together. After all, the Christ Child is the reason for celebration of the season.

However, every year, there are many children for whom there is no room on Christmas day. Among those children are those who require therapeutic foster home care and, sadly, there just don’t seem to be enough people who are willing to hand a child their heart and open their homes to this much needed foster care.

Laura Hollis, case worker for United Methodist Children’s Home Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) Program in Troy, said there is a desperate need for therapeutic foster care homes in the Pike County area for young people between the ages of 10 and 18.

"We have three licensed therapeutic foster care homes here in Troy and are looking to locate three more," Hollis said. "We are almost always in need of TFC homes and, especially for older children. "These children may need foster care because of the death of a parent, abuse or neglect or some other family crisis."

Hollis said the child needs to live with a foster family until he or she can be reunited with his or her birth family, placed in an adoptive home or live on his own.

"Therapeutic Foster Care is needed for children who have special needs that cannot be met through less restrictive foster care resources," she said. "These foster homes provide more structure and more intense family involvement than a regular foster home."

Children placed in TFC homes have special needs and require structure and special services, Hollis said.

"Because of their previous traumatic experiences, these children may react to people and situations in ways that seem inappropriate. They may experience school-related difficulties or exhibit discipline problems. They may also have developmental delays and needs or may require help in learning to express feelings, such as anger or sadness in more positive ways."

Providing a home and a loving environment of TFC children is a rewarding experience.

"I have seen many wonderful success stories," Hollis said. "TFC children are very special and so are TFC parents. So, we are looking for these special ‘parents’ to share a part of their lives with these children. TFC does make a difference."

Forty hours of pre-placement training are required of prospective therapeutic parents.

"The training is very intensive and covers such issues as the importance of allowing a child to grieve and the importance of maintaining birth family connections," Hollis said. "Positive discipline techniques are also demonstrated. Once a home is licensed, each parent is required to have 24 continuing education hours annually."

The Therapeutic Foster Care Program is looking for nurturing, stable individuals or families who can open their homes and hearts to a hurting child. Applicants must be in good health, with no criminal history.

Applicants must be committed to helping children overcome developmental delays, develop positive self-esteem and acquire the skills needed to develop positive relationships with other people.

"There are many children who are in need of a caring person to take them in," Hollis said. "We ask that anyone, who feels led to respond to the needs of these children, contact our office. We will be glad to talk with you about our program. This is a time of the year when people do more readily open their hearts to others, but there are children who need love and care all year long. So, we are looking for those special people who will open their hearts all year long."

For more information about the United Methodist Children’s Home Therapeutic Foster Care Program in Troy contact case workers Laura Hollis or Dana Wilkes at 807-6145.