By Adam Morrisey, BA and Kelly Zimmerman, MA
“They’ll never love me when they really know me!”
With ters in her eyes, Sara sat on her counselor’s lap as fears of her new parent relationships started her in the face on her last day of treatment.
“They’ll get ride of me too, just like the last three families…”
Despite all of the work that had been done to prepare her for her new family, this was the emotional state of little Sara. Most of the foster children who come to Intermountain for treatment have experienced an average of 11 placements prior to their 11th birthday, and learning to trust can be a difficult task.
In Kalispell, Full Family Foster Care (FFFC) started with the vision of minimizing the damage that comes from placement disruptions for children while in foster care. With Intermountain’s training and support, foster families were able to take emergency placements and sustain them for as long as needed – amidst challenges that had traditionally led to placement disruptions.
Since the program began, children who have been removed from their biological families were placed with Intermountain trained families on an emergency basis. In some cases, Child Family Services were able to find kinship placements, where children were able to transition into living with extended family.
With higher levels of training and the added supports built into the program, children were able to remain in longer term placements without disruption. Mission accomplished!
However, due to the increase in kinship placements, Child and Family Services has asked Intermountain for support in licensing families for Kinship Foster Care. Although it is unfortunate that the Full Family Foster Care program has ended in its current form, Intermountain continues to support the initial vision of FFFC through licensing kinship foster parents and meeting the needs for children through our therapeutic foster care effort. Intermountain is continuously focused on training and education, improving services, and providing healthy outcomes for children, like Sara.
To find out more about Therapeutic Foster Care licensure at Intermountain or how to become a permanent family for a child, please contact Adam Morrissey, Kalispell Family Developer at 406-755-4022 ext. 3011 or Kelly Zimmerman, Helena Family Developer at 406-457-4842.