Like me, you may have been unaware that there are different types of foster care. This post helps to tease out the differences. Hopefully, it will help you (and me!) to make the best choice for your situation if you are considering foster care.
Traditional Domestic Foster Care
Traditional foster care supports children and families living in the United States. Children who are removed from the home due to concerns about abuse or neglect and who have relatively “mild” medical/emotional needs are typically placed in homes approved for traditional foster care.
Therapeutic Foster Care
Therapeutic foster care supports children with more chronic or persistent social/emotional/ behavioral challenges. Children in therapeutic foster care often receive extensive therapies, such as physical, emotional, occupational, or speech therapies. These services can sometimes take place in the home.
Medically Fragile Foster Care
Foster parents interested in fostering a child who is considered “medically fragile” must have a background or education surrounding caring for children with many medical complexities. Medically fragile children have multiple chronic, complex health issues.
This is one of the areas I am personally interested in, due to my own personal medical history. Advocating for your own medical needs or that of a loved one can truly be a full-time job in itself. Not to mention learning a new “language” and navigating bureaucracy after bureaucracy.
When fostering any child, it’s important to document everyday things. With a complex medical history, it’s even more crucial to be able to document and organize all of the various results and appointments.
Check back here soon for a post describing the methods I use to organize all of my medical and foster care related documents!
Children’s Habilitation Residential Foster Care
The next step up from medically fragile and therapeutic foster care is the Children’s Habilitation Residential program (CHRP). These are children who have a developmental disability and fall into certain diagnoses, such as: Autism, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Down Syndrome.
There is a waiver available for children who qualify for this type of foster care. There are often a wider array of services available for children in this category. For a great informational Facebook page, check out the RAD Advocates page here.
Unaccompanied Refugee Minors
If you read my post about the process to becoming a licensed foster parent, you might know that the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program was what sent me down the rabbit hole of more seriously considering foster care. The Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program is also the reason I ended up going the route of an agency rather than directly through the county.
The Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) program is run through the state, who licenses providers. There are only 15 states and 20 programs which license the foster homes for the URM program.
The kids eligible for the URM program are fleeing from the circumstances of their home country. These youth are typically 14-17 years old. While practically every child in all types of foster care experiences some level of trauma, these kids are especially vulnerable.
To read more about the URM program, click here.
No matter which type of foster care you are considering, do your research! All types of foster care are vastly different. Choosing the right one for you will make the best situation for you and your potential foster children.