Therapeutic foster care (TFC), sometimes referred to as “treatment foster care” or “specialized foster care,” was developed as a means of serving high-need children and adolescents without removing them from a family environment. Similar to traditional foster care, TFC is temporary, its purpose being to prepare children for either reunification with their parents, independent living, or adoption. Although it is often available only for children who are juvenile dependents and/or delinquents, some states offer TFC to children who remain in their parents’ care, but who need additional support due to a variety of complicated circumstances.

In short, TFC is out-of-home care provided by foster parents with specialized training. It is intended to serve children who would otherwise be placed in residential, institutional, or group homes due to significant behavioral, emotional, medical, or mental health care needs (McGuinness, T. M., & Dyer, J. G. (2007). Catchers in the rye: Treatment foster parents as a system of care. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 20(3), 140-47).

Types of TFC

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