In recognition of National Foster Care Month, Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) hosted a Congressional Briefing on Treatment Foster Care with the Foster Family-Based Treatment Association (FFTA) on Capitol Hill. Panelists discussed the importance of treatment foster care in the lives of children and youth with severe emotional disorders who cannot be stabilized in traditional foster care homes. Two former youth shared their stories of the time they spent in care and the treatment foster care services they received, but more importantly they spoke to the fundamental need for social supports for these children and youth and advocacy on their behalf.
Steve Howe, Co-Chair of the FFTA Public Policy Committee, discussed the need for uniform clarity among the states as it relates to defining treatment foster care, what are the necessary components, and what children should be receiving these services. FFTA has developed Standards for practice, which have been incorporated by the Council on Accreditation, and subsequently used by some states in developing their policies and regulations. He also highlighted FFTA’s efforts to work with the Administration to get guidance on a common definition that will set a level of standards for the field. Paul Brylske, Director of Treatment Foster Care at the Kennedy Krieger Family Center, covered the treatment of childhood trauma. He noted the need for developing trauma-informed programs and systems of care as a means of achieving permanency for children and youth in foster care.
Also in attendance at the briefing was Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) who along with Representatives Bass and Tom Marino (R-PA) were recognized as FFTA ‘Advocates of the Year.’