First Home Care believes in working to enable children, adolescents, families and adults to receive the care they need — in their homes and communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

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A Note About First Home Care

Since our inception in 1991, First Home Care has been dedicated to providing children, youth, adults and families the care they need in their homes and communities. Our programs reduce the need for hospitalization and out-of-community placement and offer freestanding, independent levels of care. Using strengths-based and family-focused approaches, we develop programs that build on and improve the successes of our clients.

Treatment Foster Care Programming

In order to better acquaint interested families with the Treatment Foster Care program, we have included in this section the frequently asked questions that prospective foster parents and families, like you, generally have. After browsing our website, interested parents will understand what our program is about, the children and youth we serve, how much time and dedication is required of foster parents and how First Home Care supports its families along the way.

The FHC Philadelphia Resource Center is:

  • Licensed by The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
  • Contracted with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services
  • A member of the Pennsylvania Council for Children, Youth and Family Services (PCCYFS)
  • A member of the Pennsylvania State Foster Parent Association

First Home Care does not discriminate in accepting anyone because of ethnic or national origin, race, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender.

Who can become a Treatment Foster Parent?

To be considered eligible to become a treatment foster parent, a person must be:

  • Age 21 years or older
  • A resident of Philadelphia or the surrounding area
  • Financially stable
  • Able to provide adequate living space for children
  • Able to pass the Child Abuse, Criminal and Federal clearances
  • Available to attend all required training initially and annually
  • Willing to learn to work with children with emotional and behavioral challenges

What type of behavioral problems will these children have?

Behavioral patterns and problems depend on the child’s history, age, and the type of structure and support they receive in the foster parent’s home. Often these children are in mental and/or physical pain due to traumatic or abusive situations. Because of their previous experiences, initially they are less likely to trust; they will test limits, and will often try to be rejected. Many of these youth, however, do respond to empathy provided with firm but loving guidance, discipline, and communication.

What ages are the youth?

Ages range from birth to 21.

Can we specify gender and age range of the child?

A family’s living arrangements dictate which gender they are able to taken in, such as two girls/boys needing to share a room; therefore, families may specify gender. Our greatest needs are anticipated to be placement for pre-teens and teenagers. We want to ensure that children in need receive the best placement possible.

How much time is involved?

Treatment foster parenting requires the same time commitment that parenting any special needs child requires. These children and youth need to have structured days, including homework scheduling, recreation time, and set bedtimes, as well as time for communication to help the child talk through issues that are relevant to his/her age and behavior. Additionally, there are trips to the doctor, school conferences, and meetings with a case manager or therapist, visitation with the legal family, on-going monthly training and group sessions. Initially, there is a five-week pre-service training session that foster parents must attend once a week, usually on Saturdays. Pre-service training is 30 hours and foster parents must also be certified in CPR/First Aid.

Have these youth broken the law?

Yes, some of the youth may have committed violations. The violations range from non-criminal to criminal offenses. All information that the agency receives on a youth shall be shared with and explained to the prospective foster family prior to placement.

What type of support do you provide?

This program operates with a team support philosophy. Just as we do not want these youth to stand alone in their struggles, we believe in providing the foster parents that same support and service. There is a case manager assigned by First Home Care who is available by emergency cell phone to the foster parents twenty-four hours a day. Foster parents are given specific methods of managing aggressive youth and information to assist with a particular youth. On-going training, beyond the initial 30-hour pre-service training, includes twenty-four hours annually of special procedures, safety, Managing the Aggressive Child, and the child development issues. Additionally, First Home Care provides the required CPR and first aid training. Depending on the specific needs of the foster parents, there will be additional monthly training sessions.

Will we be told about the child’s past before he or she enters our home?

Yes. We work in a partnership with foster parents to model a trusting and supportive relationship so that parents may, in turn, build the same kind of relationship with the youth. Any information shared with this agency will be shared with the foster parents before the youth is placed in the home; however, confidentiality must be maintained at all times. Foster parents will be required to sign forms to certify that they are willing to abide by all laws and policies regarding confidentiality.

What kinds of space and sleeping areas are required?

There must be adequate space for sleeping, storage, privacy, dining and studying. Only youth of the same gender may share bedrooms; however, each youth must have his/her own bed. First Home Care must inspect each home prior to final approval.

Will I have any out-of-pocket expenses?

As with any parental obligation, there may be some instances when foster parents choose to pay for something special for which there is no system of reimbursement. Clothing, room, board, and spending money are provided in the monthly allowance. Each youth will also have Medicaid for medical expenses or third-party insurance from their legal parents.

What if the legal family wants to visit or have the child for visitation? Who handles that?

Since the primary goal of foster care is to provide shelter and care for youth only until they can be reunited with their natural or surrogate family, an integral part of treatment foster care is the involvement of the child’s legal family. Visitation, phone calls and home visits are all part of this important family involvement. In some cases, the case manager will manage family visits and visitation. In other cases, the foster parent and legal parent may communicate directly. This is part of the sharing of information that takes place prior to placement of the youth.