You may have heard that we have recently expanded our Treatment Foster Care services. We now offer Emergency Foster Care, as well as a Family Based Treatment Home program (FBTH).
But what exactly is a Family Based Treatment Home? We sat down with director David Rivers to find out more about this exciting new program.
Question: In your own words, describe the program.
FBTH is a type of treatment foster home supported by in-home child and youth care workers. At Ranch Ehrlo, they have been referred to as “parented group homes.”
I started working as a childcare worker at Bosco Homes in a small group home that had two live-in house parents and a few childcare workers. It had a real family feel to it, but had more adult support and attention present for the children. Our FTBH’s will have a similar structure.
The FBTH’s we are considering will be home to four children aged 5 to 11 who need support with behavioural, emotional, and developmental challenges. Ranch Ehrlo will provide the house and vehicle, and contract the services of foster parents just as we do in our current program. We will also look after compensation for the child and youth care workers who will support the care and nurturing provided by the foster parents.
Question: Why was the program created? What need is it filling?
There is an increasing number of young children being referred to Ranch Ehrlo who do not need to live in a group home, but who cannot be safely cared for in a standard foster home. A family-based home is the balance between the two types of service approaches.
The whole idea of the FBTH is to give children ages six to 11 an opportunity to live in the most nurturing, supportive, family-based environment possible.
Question: What are you looking for in a staff (family) for the program?
Two adults without young children or with teenagers would likely be an ideal fit, but we are open to talking with anyone interested in our approach.
Some things for potential families to know:
- This is typically a full-time job (which means not working outside the home) for one of the parents, though they could share, as long as one parent is always available for children in the program.
- The most important qualification is a nurturing, caring disposition with a strong commitment to serve others. A background in human services and/or education would be an asset, but all foster parents will receive extensive training and support including PRIDE, CARE, and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention.
- We plan to provide a five or six bedroom home or vehicle, but are open to talking to interested parents who may have other ideas, such as staying in their own homes.
- We are looking to start with a family in the Regina area, but will eventually be looking for families in the Saskatoon and Prince Albert areas as well.
Question: How are families compensated?
We will apply the same “professionalized foster care” approach to the FBTH that we currently use in our other treatment foster care homes; families are helped with the legal and insurance processes for becoming incorporated businesses so that we are able to contract them to provide foster care services.
Question: Tell us a little more about the services and supports that Ranch Ehrlo will provide families in this program.
Foster parenting is wonderful, but it doesn’t involve “normal” or “traditional” working hours. Foster parenting is a way of life, but there is still time and opportunity for foster parents to re-energize and focus on themselves. All FTBH foster families are provided with 24/7 on call support, up to 18 days per year of respite care so they can vacation or take time away, and a range of clinical, residential, educational, and recreational supports.