What is Foster Care?
When families are unable to provide acceptable care to their children, or if there is abuse, neglect or risk of harm present in the home, a child can be taken into state custody and placed in foster care.
While in foster care the child will be placed in an alternative living situation, such as a foster home. Foster care is meant to be temporary, lasting only as long as it takes for the family to make changes so that the child can return to a safe and stable home. If the decision is made that a child cannot return home, he or she will remain in foster care until placed in the care of a relative, adopted or emancipated.
SCYAP Provides Two Different Kinds of Foster Care
At SCYAP, there are two different kinds of foster care: Therapeutic Foster Care and Traditional Foster Care. It can get a little confusing to try to figure out the difference between these two programs, but they are in fact distinctive services and the requirements and expectations of the foster parents providing Therapeutic Foster Care or Traditional Foster Care are also different.
While both Therapeutic and Traditional Foster Care provide a nurturing, safe, and caring home to children who require placement away from their families, the services provided to the children and youth and role of the foster parent is different.
SCYAP foster parents can provide either Therapeutic Foster Care or Traditional Foster Care, or they can provide both Therapeutic Foster Care and Traditional Foster Care (at the same time or independently), depending on the status and needs of the child(ren)/youth placed in their home.
Therapeutic Foster Care and Therapeutic Foster Parents
Therapeutic Foster Care serves children and youth who have complex needs (emotional, behavioral, psychological, developmental, and/or medical) and require a higher level of intervention, supervision, structure and support than those served through traditional foster care. Therapeutic Foster care placements keep children and youth out of in-patient hospitals, residential treatment programs and group homes.
Foster parents seeking to provide therapeutic services must complete specialized pre-service and on-going training so that the needs of the children and youth in this specialized service can be met. In Therapeutic Foster Care, SCYAP assigns a caseworker (we call them Treatment Coordinators) to each foster parent/home to provide support, guidance and training and to assist with care coordination. Foster parents serving children in Therapeutic Foster Care become part of the child/youth’s treatment team and provide treatment services/interventions (such as skill building and behavior management). Because the needs of the children and youth in therapeutic foster care are greater and the expectations of the foster parent are higher, the daily per diem paid to the foster parent is higher than that of traditional foster care.
Traditional Foster Care Program and Traditional Foster Families
The SCYAP Traditional Foster Care Program is a collaborative program between SCYAP and the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS). Through this program SCYAP provides placement services to children in foster care who need a safe and nurturing placement while they are in out of home placement, but do not require the intensity of therapeutic services. Just as with Therapeutic Foster Care, SCYAP assigns a caseworker (we call them Treatment Coordinators) to the foster parent/home to provide support, guidance and training and to assist with care coordination.