Treatment foster care (TFC), also called therapeutic foster care, is out-of-home care by foster parents with specialized training to care for a wide variety of children and adolescents, usually those with significant emotional, behavioral, or social issues or medical needs. Treatment foster care is designed to provide safe and nurturing care to a child or youth in a more structured home environment than typical foster care, and it can be a cost-effective alternative to residential treatment. Foster parents typically receive additional supports and services. This section includes publications and websites that provide information about treatment foster care. Resources include State and local examples.
The Kinship Treatment Foster Care Initiative Toolkit
Foster Family-based Treatment Association (2015)
Promotes the use of public-private partnerships to assist children in kinship care with their social, behavioral, and emotional challenges (treatment needs) while they remain in a stable environment with a relative or adult. The toolkit includes barriers for kinship treatment foster care and State examples of successful kinship treatment foster care.
Mental Health Treatment Evidence-Based Practices (EBP)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2017)
Lists organizations' websites that cover evidence-based practices in mental health treatment.
Multi-Dimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC)
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Defines MTFC, including its theory and key element. The webpage also provides recommended populations for this intervention, considerations for juvenile drug courts, and specific engagement strategies for youth involved in multiple systems.
Therapeutic Foster Care: Exceptional Care for Complex,Trauma-Impacted Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 591 KB)
State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center
Outlines the role of therapeutic foster care in helping youth with mental, emotional, or behavioral health needs. The brief includes best practices and highlights programs in various States that should be replicated.
What is Is Therapeutic Foster Care? Six Things You Should Know
Discusses therapeutic foster care, how it benefits children and youth with specific emotional and behavioral challenges, how to prepare families and what types of training are required to qualify as treatment foster care parents, and more.
Behavioral Rehabilitative Services Handbook (PDF - 921 KB)
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Children's Administration (2019)
Provides information on an intensive support and treatment program designed to assist children with behavioral and emotional disturbances as well as developmental disabilities in transitioning to a less restrictive environment. Chapter 9 is dedicated to treatment foster care.
Treatment Foster Care
Pressley Ridge (2018)
Explains the treatment foster care model used in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Delaware; who can become a treatment foster parents; and the benefits of becoming a treatment foster care parent.