Treatment Foster Care in Virginia

A child or teen may be placed in a treatment foster care home if they appear to have complex emotional, behavioral, or medical concerns. UMFS offers therapeutic foster care in Virginia so we can help meet the needs of these youth who need extra love and support.

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Treatment Foster Care in Virginia

A child or teen may be placed in a treatment foster care home if they appear to have complex emotional, behavioral, or medical concerns. UMFS offers therapeutic foster care in Virginia so we can help meet the needs of these youth who need extra love and support.

Benefits of Our Treatment Foster Care Program

Our TFC Program offers foster parents additional support for children and teens in treatment foster care.

Continued Training and Collaboration

UMFS offers ongoing access to resources, local support groups, 24-hour on-call support, and counseling.

Individualized Strategies

Our team will help you develop a plan to meet the specific needs of your child or teen so they can turn a corner.

Reliable Respite Care

We can help you secure the services of a trained respite caregiver who can give you a break and also support your child or teen.

Extra Stipend Based on Needs

You can get the funds you need to support children and teens in therapeutic foster care who may have special requirements.

What Is Treatment Foster Care?

Treatment foster care is also known as therapeutic foster care (TFC). The goal is to provide safe, structured, nurturing homes for children and teens with more complex emotional, behavioral, or social challenges or medical needs. 

The children and youth in treatment foster care have often experienced multiple placement moves and disruptions and/or previous traumatic experiences within the foster care system. Therefore, they often need a higher level of support and resources to initiate the healing process in the context of a family setting. 

Providers of treatment foster care receive additional training so they can provide the youth with all the support they need. Learn more about foster parent training requirements.

Treatment Foster Care vs. Traditional Foster Care 

All children and teens in foster care have behavioral and emotional needs. However, we don’t usually know the level of care they need when they first enter foster care. Generally, children and teens who are determined to have significant emotional and behavioral challenges are referred for treatment foster care.

By comparison, children and teens in traditional foster care may simply need love, support, and a stable home. They may be relatively well-adjusted and can achieve the usual developmental milestones. Learn more about therapeutic vs. traditional foster care.

How to Become a Foster Parent to Youth in Treatment Foster Care



Attend an Info Session

Learn more about the unique needs of youth in treatment foster care and the support you’ll receive so you can help them. 



Pre-Service Training

Complete 25 hours of required training to prepare your family to meet the needs of children and teens in care.



Home Study & Paperwork

UMFS conducts an assessment of a parent’s ability to provide a safe and nurturing family environment for a child.

*The whole process typically takes about 4 months.

A Treatment Foster Care Success Story

Shenika was 15 when she met her foster mother, Romania. Though Shenika felt nervous, there was an energy and magnetism about Romania (pictured left) that Shenika (pictured right) said put her at ease.

Shenika is now in her twenties and has a child of her own. She says Romania helped shape her into the woman she is today. She also credits the support she received from UMFS Treatment Foster Care staff and the TFC program.

“Having people that are stable and in your corner is a great asset in life,” Shenika said, adding that her TFC case workers played a critical role in her successful journey from being in foster care to being adopted by Romania.

Mary Davies, LCSW, was Shenika’s caseworker all those years ago and has fond memories of the day she placed Shenika with Romania. “It was snowing on the way,” Mary said. “We got caught in so much traffic it took us hours to get there. We sort of bonded during that time.”

Romania is living proof that when foster parents open their hearts and open their homes. they open a world of possibilities for young people in care. “Romania I think felt like home for Shenika,” Mary said. “Like this was a place she was safe, cared for, loved, and accepted.”

A teen benefits from treatment foster care.

Who Is UMFS?

UMFS is a nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive array of programs to support children, teens, and parents as they work to overcome challenges. We equip families with tools for success so they can achieve their goals. As a national leader in helping young people and families, we also proactively identify unmet social services needs and develop the necessary partnerships to address those needs.

FAQ About Therapeutic Foster Care in Virginia

What is foster care, treatment foster care, and therapeutic foster care?

Foster care is when a child or teen goes to live with a foster family because their primary caregivers or biological family cannot care for them. The parents may be unable to provide care due to anything from financial stress to drug abuse, and they may have been reported to child welfare or the department of social services (DSS).

Foster parents provide a safe, stable, temporary home for children in foster care in order to provide the best opportunity for the children to thrive. The foster family may have additional biological children of their own or additional children in foster care. The average length of time a child spends in foster care in the U.S. is 12 months.

The goals for each child and teen in foster care vary — many return to their primary caregivers whenever possible. If returning home is not possible, the child may be adopted or seek other foster care services. At 18 or 21, the child ages out of the system and may seek other support systems to thrive as an adult. But many face homelessness and unemployment.

Treatment foster care is for youth ages two to 21 who need extra structure and support due to emotional and behavioral disorders or challenges. A major focus of treatment foster care is teaching older children functional skills — social, independent-living, or academic — to help them succeed in school, with their families, and in work settings.

Providers of Therapeutic or Treatment Foster Care (TFC) get additional training and support to meet the needs of children with specific emotional, behavioral, psychological, or medical needs, possibly due to past trauma or abuse.

Learn More About Foster Care and Treatment Foster Care

What are the requirements to become a therapeutic foster parent?

Foster families come from all walks of life. They’re teachers, nurses, social workers, bookkeepers, chefs, and more. They are people who have realized that they have room in their homes, room in their schedules, and room in their hearts for a child in need.

Prospective foster parents need to meet these prerequisites to begin the foster parent process:

  • 21 or older
  • Stable form of income
  • Ability to pass a Child Protective Services and Criminal History Search
  • Valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
  • Personal references
  • Physical space in your foster home
  • Emotional space in your life
  • Medical information

There are no specific religious requirements or restrictions to participation.

What training and support are available to therapeutic or treatment foster care providers?

To provide therapeutic foster care, you will receive extra foster parent training and support. 

  • Get 37 hours of pre-licensing training compared to 30 hours for traditional foster parents
  • Perform 28 hours of post-licensing training compared to nine hours for traditional foster care
  • Continued evidence-based training and collaboration with a local-based treatment team to improve the child’s behavioral health
  • Individualized, trauma-informed strategies and case management to address each child’s needs 
  • Local support groups
  • 24-hour on-call support
  • Counseling
  • Reliable respite
  • Stipend

Learn More About Foster Parent Training Requirements

What is a typical child or teen in treatment foster care like, and what have they been through?

Children and teens in traditional foster care can be any age, from infant to 18. The average age of a child in foster care in the U.S. is eight. The youth in foster care represent all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are frequently part of a sibling group or teens.

When it comes to children and teens who can benefit from treatment or therapeutic foster care, the youth may have experienced financial hardship leading to malnutrition or suffered from neglect or abuse. The youth may have mental health issues or may suffer from post-traumatic shock syndrome (PTSD) due to what they have experienced.

The UMFS foster care program does not accept children or teens who are currently at risk for harming themselves or others.

Can I adopt a child or teen from the treatment foster care system?

Yes, adoption from foster care is possible when the child or teens goal is adoption versus return home.

For more information on foster care adoption in Virginia, contact us today!

UMFS has eight locations throughout the state of Virginia, spread conveniently across the Commonwealth. If you’re interested in learning what is involved to become a foster parent, we encourage you to send us an inquiry, or contact UMFS at any of these locations:

Get In Touch With UMFS

More Ways You Can Help Youth in Treatment Foster Care

Become a Mentor

If you’re not ready to become a foster parent, you could become a mentor and offer guidance to a child or teen in foster care.

Make a Regular Donation

Your donations have a positive impact on the lives of youth in foster care and foster parents. Change their lives – and yours!

Consider Adoption

Explore the many benefits of becoming a foster parent before you pursue adoption, even if you adopt a different child or teen.