A critical intensive mental health service will soon be available to foster youth in California! Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) is a specialized community-based treatment designed for children with significant mental health needs who cannot be cared for in their own homes. TFC offers intensive treatment in a family setting using specially trained foster parents as an alternative to more restrictive out-of-home placements such as mental institutions and group homes.
TFC is part of an array of intensive mental health services known as “Katie A. services,” named after the 2002 class action lawsuit (Katie A. v Bonta) that led to their development in California. The full service array includes TFC, Intensive Care Coordination (ICC), and Intensive Home Based Services (IHBS). Together, these services are designed to help youth, with more intensive mental health needs, succeed in their own homes and communities and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations or residential placements in facilities far away from their families.
Until recently, only ICC and IHBS were available as part of the Katie A. service array. However, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) just announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a State Plan Amendment (SPA) that would allow California to implement much-needed therapeutic foster care services through the Medi-Cal program. This decision opens the door to crucial mental health treatments and completes the full trio of Katie A. services initially contemplated over ten years ago!
What is Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC)?
- Delivers intensive, individualized mental healthcare services in a supportive family setting.
- Utilizes specially trained foster parents working under intensive oversight, to provide a nurturing and therapeutic environment that encourages a youth’s safety and wellbeing.
- Generally, only one or two youth reside in a Therapeutic Foster Home to allow for greater care and oversight.
- Designed to enable the young person to successfully transition out of TFC and return to their own homes.
Help us spread the word about TFC and Katie A. services!
Therapeutic Foster Care and the other Katie A. services give youth with serious mental health needs the invaluable opportunity to live healthy and fulfilling lives—without the restrictive and damaging effects of institutionalization.
The Katie A. lawsuit envisioned mental health treatment based on a youth’s own needs and strengths, deployed in a nurturing and collaborative environment. When this goal is fully realized, we anticipate that as many as 35,000 youth in California could receive Katie A. services, such as TFC, in their own homes and communities.