SERVICE TO FOCUS ON TRAINING AND SUPPORT FOR FOSTER PARENTS
By Eileen Bailey
FULTON – Training and continual support for foster parents providing homes for troubled children will be one of the main focuses of a new service in Northeast Mississippi.
The Treatment Foster Care Program is a service of the Mississippi Children’s Home Society and Family Service Association, which has been in operation since 1912. The coordinator for the program is Leah Headings.
The Treatment Foster Care homes provide an alternative to institutionalization and help expedite the process of returning children to their homes or preparing them for alternative placements, such as adoption.
Headings said a major portion of her job will be to recruit and train foster parents to provide family based treatment for troubled children who have been identified by the state Department of Human Services. The program will serve a maximum of 10 families at one time, she said.
Headings also will work with the DHS to place troubled children with foster parents who can help meet their needs.
The training will be more extensive than the training other foster parents receive. Foster parents chosen for the program will have the same responsibilities as regular parents, Headings said, with the additional duty of being a “teaching parent.”
Because of the additional responsibilities, Headings said these foster parents will be compensated at a higher rate. “They will be paid a higher rate because they will take the tougher children with behavior and emotional problems,” she said. The parents will receive 40 hours of advance training and will receive on-going support and therapeutic intervention from Headings.
Families will have only one child at a time placed in their home, she said. Because of the increased compensation it is also hoped one parents will be a “stay-at-home” parent to further enhance their ability to fulfill the responsibilities of being a treatment foster parent.
A plan will be developed for each child to give him or her a better chance of having a successful foster care experience with the additional training and support their foster families receive, she said.