February 9, 2015
Best laid plans….
As you will remember, Good Shepherd hoped to launch a truly innovative Treatment Foster Care Program (TFC) during the first half of calendar year 2015. This program would provide specialized care for at risk foster youth in a family setting, with expertly training foster parents who would have 24-hour access to Good Shepherd staff for clinical and crisis support. We envision the program serving not only the kinds of kids we previously served in our residential program, but also special needs populations, like young pregnant/parenting moms.
Unfortunately, our efforts have been slowed significantly. First there was an 11 month delay in release of the state contract amendment, which included significant changes from the draft that had been distributed many months earlier. More recently, we’ve encountered resistance from the state regarding our evidence-based training curriculum—which we had hoped could be substituted for some of the required training for prospective foster parents. Perhaps most worrisome is that recruiting potential foster families has been far more challenging than we imagined. Whereas we had a number of inquiries, nobody has really panned out. Currently we’re preparing for some focused marketing in area papers and community news outlets. Fortunately, current staffing for the program is very limited and should be covered by generous support from the United Way. The real expense of the program won’t kick in until youth are placed in homes, by which time corresponding fee revenues will be flowing.
None this has changed our decision about the program. We remain convinced of the need; we’re simply tackling a more difficult implementation than we imagined. Such is often the case in building something new from scratch….