Treatment Foster Care Programs
Treatment Foster Care Parents are carefully screened, trained and certified to function as members of the child’s treatment team. In accordance with the child’s treatment plan they provide a safe, therapeutic family structure. Under the guidance of treatment foster parents, the child experiences healthy family interactions and receives the necessary support for growth. Whenever possible, the treatment foster parents work with the biological parents and/or significant family members to help the child develop and maintain supportive relationships. Treatment foster parents are supported/supervised by agency staff. They are provided with a 24-hour a day emergency on call support.
The Foster Care Department is responsible for the recruitment and training of all Treatment Foster Families, as well as coordination of respite and ongoing administrative supervision of treatment foster families. Decisions regarding placement and the matching of children and foster families are made by the Director of Foster Care. Foster Home Case Managers and the Assistant Director of Admissions and Foster Care are supervised by the Director of Foster Care and are responsible for assisting with training and completion of foster home studies.
The treatment plan is generated by the Therapist / Case Manager within 45 days of placement. This plan is written by the Therapist / Case Manager and includes input from all relevant treatment team members. Internal treatment team members include the Treatment Foster Parent, Clinical Case Manager, Therapist, TLP Counselor, and Foster Home Case Manager. External treatment team members may include: DFS worker, probation officer, guardian ad litem, school counselor, and biological family. The treatment plan identifies the services to be offered to the child and family, defines the level and type of participation to be sought from the biological family, as well as other treatment team members, and defines the type of placement recommended. Long-term goals and intermediate objectives are identified and reviewed quarterly to assess the child’s progress toward meeting those goals and the need for alterations or changes. An estimated discharge date is identified and a discharge plan developed for each client.
Biological family members are encouraged to be an active part of the treatment team. An “ice-breaker” meeting is facilitated in the first 15 days of placement to begin to build a relationship between biological and foster parents. Within the first 30 days of placement, a visitation plan is developed by the Case Manager, in consultation with the DFS worker, which details the nature of contact between the child and their biological family. Biological families are encouraged to participate in team meetings, help develop the child’s treatment plan, and participate in family therapy as indicated. The child is included as the member of the treatment team, participating in treatment decisions as appropriate and reviewing and signing off on the treatment plan with support from the Therapist / Case Manager.
Teen Living Program (TLP)
TLP is an extended day and summer treatment program and is conducted in a structured and supervised setting. Treatment services are offered to at-risk youth in the community who require support and supervision outside of school hours. Clients participate in therapeutic and recreational groups while improving socialization and coping skills with peers and adults. Groups are co-facilitated by Master’s level clinicians and/or Bachelor’s level counselors under the supervision of a licensed clinician. The program utilizes a behavior management system, which allows clients to earn rewards by working toward identified treatment goals through making appropriate choices. Group and milieu therapy are the main treatment components. However, as described below, independent living skills training is also an important component of the program.
Each adolescent will be oriented to the program and its rules and expectations and will need to agree to the rules and to active participation. Once oriented to the program the client will begin to work through the Challenge Level system established to promote personal growth and success as well as opportunities to navigate challenges that will be faced in various aspects of life with support.
Specialized Teen Living Program
Specialized therapeutic services are also offered for adolescents with a history of sexual behavior problems or intensive behavioral problems. These services are offered in our “extended day” program as well. This program affords clients extensive supervision by trained staff, as well as specialized therapeutic and recreational groups and activities. Note: Clients in this program are in a self-contained portion of TLP. This is intended to be an “initial” separation from TLP clients, with the notion that as participants demonstrate treatment progress, they will be partially integrated into the TLP population.
Adolescents ages 11-17 who will be considered for this program must meet the following criteria:
Sexual Behavior Problems:
- have a documented history of sexual behavior problems
Intensive Behavior Problems:
- documented history of intensive behavior problems
Independent Living Skills Training
From the time of admission to AFGC our youth begin participating in Independent Living Skills groups, which are held weekly in our after school (AP) program. Youth of all ages begin receiving orientation and introduction to topics such as Progressing through School, Preparing for Graduation, Housekeeping, Meal Planning, Cooking and Nutrition, Budgeting and Money Management, Using Public Transportation and Building Healthy Relationships. In addition to this, youth receive a variety of groups designed to supplement independent living skills, focusing on coping skills and processing through relevant treatment issues as well as the challenges of day-to-day life as a youth. These topics may include Grief and Loss, Sexual Health and Relationships, Stress and Relaxation, Anger Management, Conflict Resolution, Positive Lifestyles, Creative Arts, Study Skills, and a variety of other groups.
As our youth age and demonstrate progress and proficiency, youth ages 16-18 receive more focused and intense education and discussion about these topics, as well as Preparing and Applying for College, Job Searching and Applying for Part Time Employment, Apartment Living and Purchasing a Car. During the summer months, the agency designs weekly activities in the community, with staff support and guidance, for the youth to have hands-on experiences to apply the knowledge they learned in their groups to practical living situations. Youth at the Modified AP level are able to attend the agency’s after-school activities on three, as opposed to five days per week, and are encouraged to find and engage in productive activities (part time work, volunteer activities, extracurricular activities) on the remaining days of the week. Our staff begins efforts to develop Transition Plans, Goals and Objectives with teens as early as this level, in order to best prepare our teens for independent living.
GATE Prep and GATE programs
Our GATE (Guiding Adolescents Toward Empowerment) Prep program, a relatively recent program addition, is designed to provide the next stepping stone for our youth as they continue to make more progress toward independent living. Youth at this level attend activities at the agency on two days per week, using the remaining days of the week to work, go to school and/or pursue volunteer opportunities. Agency activities and interventions are focused on encouraging youth to discuss both their successful and unsuccessful experiences as they take on these new challenges, so that strategies can be developed to help them overcome these challenges. The youth in this program also benefit from a weekly process group to discuss these successes and challenges with staff and peers as they navigate these experiences. As the youth’s needs emerge, additional group topics are added to support them, including things such as study skills and community visits for job, resource, and apartment hunting.
Our GATE program continues to be an important program for our oldest youth who have finished high school and have moved on to college and/or vocational experiences. While maintenance and mastery of many independent living skills is expected of youth at this level, they also continue to enjoy the support and encouragement of their AFGC treatment team as they take their final steps toward independence. These youth continue to have a weekly process group as support during this transition.
We make efforts to assess each of our youth regularly and often to determine his/her readiness to progress through the different levels of our program and take more steps toward independence. This assessment is based several factors, including feedback from the youth, case manager, caretakers, social worker, biological family, and other significant individuals in the youth’s life. In addition, tools designed to measure proficiency in Independent Living Skills, such as the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment and the Daniel Memorial Assessment, are also helpful in guiding decisions that are best for the youth. It is our hope that these program changes will best encourage, support and prepare our youth for independent living and ensure their successful adjustment to life after foster care.
Youth referred to AFGC’s Treatment Foster Care Program are screened for admission to TLP. All other referrals should be made to Nikkiah Wyatt-Smith at 703-425-9200