Ranch Ehrlo’s Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program has expanded in a new way.
The new format, developed to help children transition from group home to family living, has fully trained staff rotating in and out of the house to assist the foster parents. Families will continue to have access to Ranch Ehrlo’s assessment and therapeutic services.
Heather Whitequill and Quincy Dustyhorn have been parents in the TFC for several years. When the new format was announced, the two of them decided to volunteer to be the first to try it out.
“We said that we would be interested because it is the way a First Nations family does things already - with many of the adults taking part in the roles of caring for the family’s children,” Heather explained.
With the new format, the family moved from their own home to one owned by the agency and increased the number of foster children in their care from two to three. The pair also have three biological children. They have two staff rotating to help them.
“We didn’t think that having anybody here would be that much extra, but we were actually quite pleasantly surprised at how nice it was to have some people around to help out,” Heather explained.
“I didn’t realize how much stress we were actually under - it just becomes normal,” she added.
She feels that with the staff available, she and Quincy can more effectively meet the needs of all their children.
“With the staff, we’re able to spend more time just talking with the kids individually and not being in such a rush. We can just plan life better.”
“I feel like we’re actually meeting more of their needs now because we’re more patient and we have the time. We’re not rushing through to try and meet everyone’s needs.”
Future additions to the program will be structured similarly.
“There are so many good things about this program,” Heather concluded.