Foster Parenting - Frequently Asked Questions

RCI Who We Are Becoming A Foster Parent Locations Downloads Therapeutic Foster Children FAQ Therapeutic Foster Care Contact

What is Treatment Foster Care?


                       Treatment Foster Care is another name for Therapeutic Foster Care.

                     Similarly, Treatment Foster Children is synonymous with Therapeutic Foster Children.                               Similarly Treatment foster child is the same as therapeutic foster child


What is Therapeutic Foster Care?

 What is Treatment Foster Care?

The most general definition for “Therapeutic Foster Care” is the provision of comprehensive care and services for children who the State has determined require therapy as a part of other services due to a serious emotional, behavioral, medical or psychological condition.


However, therapy comes in many forms to address many issues. Therapeutic Foster Care programs, like RCI-TFC, provide behavioral therapy, educational therapy, and therapy used to address psychological disorders with the help of medication.  Also, because RCI serves children between the ages of 0-21yrs, “therapeutic” can describe anything between newborn infants who were born addicted to narcotics to children and teenagers with bi-polar or personality disorders.


Who are Therapeutic Foster Children?

 Who are Treatment foster children

                       Like other foster children, they have been removed from their families or other living

                       situations by the State.  As a result of previous trauma or preexisting conditions, they are

                       determined to require therapeutic foster care


What Determines a Child as Therapeutic?

 what determines a child as treatment

Many foster children have experienced abuse and/or neglect.  Special needs children are those who have a specific mental health and/or behavioral concerns.  Some children are diagnosed with a specific disorder such as:

·                     ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder

·                     ODD - Oppositional Defiant Disorder

·                     PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

·                     Depression

·                     Reactive Attachment Disorder

These children may also struggle with issues of:

·                     anger management

·                     poor social skills

·                     low self-esteem

The State is in charge of determining whether a child is therapeutic or not.  They look for:

A limitation of an individual’s capacity which adversely affects the individual’s ability to perform in the following areas

o        Daily living skills

o        Community living skills

o        Interpersonal relationships

o        Appropriate educational activities 


For a more complete listing of possible limitations, please visit the Special Needs page.


Who Can Become a Therapeutic Foster Parent?

Who can become a treatment foster parent

·         Single, married, or divorced people over the age of 21

·         Renters and homeowners

·         Parent who work inside or outside the home

·         Families who can provide safety, nurturance and structure for a child

·         Families who want the joys and responsibilities of parenting children with special needs


What is the difference between Therapeutic Foster Care and Regular Foster Care?  What is the difference between treatment foster care and regular foster care

 Therapeutic foster children often require a higher level of care, more intensive therapy (medical or psychological), more tutoring or other educational aid and more supervision. 


Therapeutic foster children are usually temporary placements.  Many have reunification plans in place and are not for adoption.  While this is the norm, RCI has successfully handled several adoptions and we currently have children in long term placements (5+ yrs).  


What does a therapeutic foster home look like?

 What does a treatment foster home look like

A therapeutic foster home or treatment foster home provides:

·        Safety

·        Consistency

·        Heavy Supervision

·        Routine

·        A Nurturing Environment

·        Set Limits and Boundaries

·        Clear Expectations for Behavior


Find out how to Become a Foster Parent


How old are Therapeutic Foster Children?

 how old are treatment foster children

Therapeutic foster children are all age ranges, 0-21 years old. 


However, the nature of therapeutic foster care usually results in older children or teenagers. Currently, children over the age of 7 yrs. makeup 80% of our placements.


As you continue through the application process, a foster parent will receive training and guidance for raising, disciplining and nurturing children of all ages.  Additionally, the foster parent is able to note a specific age range that they feel best able to provide care for.


How are children placed?


After a child is removed from an unsafe living environment The State of Maryland’s Department of Social Services (DSS) for Baltimore City then places these children in homes and programs specifically designed to help them grow and mature.  RCI Therapeutic Foster Care is one such program.  They provide “wrap around” services in keeping with the PPKB model.


Once a child is determined to be therapeutic, DSS contacts programs, like RCI, in order to place them in a foster home. 


At this time, our Child Placement Coordinator will contact foster parents who are both available and able to care for the child. 


We never have children “waiting” to be placed, we never have a “waitlist” of children to “choose from” etc.  We place children in accordance with the availability of our foster families and with their agreement.


How long do Therapeutic Foster Children remain in a home?

 how long do treatment foster children remain in a home

In most cases, Therapeutic Foster Care is considered short term care.  Foster Parents provide care for less than five years as the child’s biological family works toward a reunion.


Also, though infrequently, children can be placed in long term care with a foster family.  This happens about 15% of the time and the child can stay in the home (with the foster family’s consent) for 5+ years.


What about Adoption?


While many foster children have permanency plans that include reunification with their families, some do not.  If this is the case, the child is likely to be placed up for adoption. 


RCI-Therapeutic Foster Care is not generally considered a “foster to adopt” program but adoption is possible and we have assisted in the adoption of several children to our foster families.


Does a foster parent choose a child to be placed in their home?


Yes and No. 


Yes, a foster parent has the ability to accept or reject a possible placement when the Child Placement Coordinator contacts them. 



-we never have children waiting to be placed

-we never have a waitlist of children to “choose from”

-we never have children “in”

-we never have notice of when we will be getting children “in”

-we never have events that provide foster parents the option to “view” or “pick” children


How Does A Person Become a Therapeutic Foster Parent?

How does a person become a treatment foster parent

Foster parents must complete and submit a foster parent application packet.  You can download the application by selecting the link under "Downloads" 

Attend training classes to educate and prepare for the unique challenges they will face parenting therapeutic foster children.  The training classes will be held in 15 or 20 hour sessions and may include CPR and First Aid training.  If you have previous training hours, include those certificates in your initial application.

Successfully complete Health Inspection and Fire Inspection

Participate in the home study process.  The case manager will arrange three visits to the home, gather required information and complete a Home Study Report

Complete background checks on all persons in the home 18 years and over must be completed prior to placements.  These checks will include Child Protective Services, Child Support Enforcement Services, State and Federal clearances.


How do I become a Therapeutic Foster Parent?

 How do I become a Treatment Foster Parent?

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Foster Parent, view the requirements at or click on this link:


Become a Foster Parent




Don’t see your question here?  Email us at