Our Good Shepherd team enjoys the benefits of standing on organizational foundations that are nearly two centuries old. But the thing that keeps us thriving and growing is the fire we all hold in our bellies to constantly improve the way we serve children and families.
Treatment Foster Care is one of our newest programs and offers an alternative to group home living for foster youth with serious emotional and behavioral concerns.
Youth in this program are placed in a foster home, then receive highly-individualized care that includes supervision, coaching, and support for everyone. These are complex placements that require Treatment Foster Care families who are not merely nurturing caregivers; they also act as primary agents of therapeutic change.
It is challenging work, but we were curious…could our team do even more to help?
Could we take this already-incredible program even further?
So we embarked on a pilot study that tweaks our current model by placing a child with someone from their own family – maybe grandparents or trusted aunts and uncles – to create what’s called Kinship Treatment Foster Care.
As part of this new model, the Good Shepherd team works with the family of origin to build on their existing strengths and develop an individualized plan that keeps them together. It removes the feeling of isolation that children in foster care can sometimes experience, and the stigma they can face from their unique challenges.
It also treats families as the authors of their own stories, the experts of their own lives, and empowers them to stay connected.
I am proud to say we’ve seen such great success in this pilot program that it’s now a state-wide option for Missouri children and families.
And I am thankful for the partnership of state and private child welfare organizations that worked with our Good Shepherd team to develop this new model. Together, we’ve pushed the accepted standard into something new and innovative for our families. We’re using everything we have to improve lives. I, for one, could not be more excited to see where it takes us.