Step 1: The first step is taking the Hero Quiz
The first step is a simple one: answer the five questions below to see if being a TFC parent or respite care parent is right for you. After you answer the quiz questions, a TFC team member will set up a private and confidential introductory phone call. They will help answer your questions and discuss any of the hesitations you may be having.
Step 2: Fill out the application
After your initial one-on-one call, you’ll have:
- An assigned TFC teammate who will be with you every step of the way from this point forward. No guessing on where to direct questions or knowing what the next step is. You’ll have one point of contact at BCC.
- Been emailed a link to the TFC parent application (everything is online – you can fill it out on your phone or tablet). The application is the same for prospective fulltime and respite parents.
Step 3: Attend an Information Session
The next step is to attend an information session. Our current families and parents say that the information session was really valuable in helping them make a decision. It’s also likely the first time you’ll meet your TFC teammate in person!
We want you to walk away from this session with a few things:
- Who is BCC as a non-profit organization? What makes us stand out from other charities?
- Who is on the TFC team at BCC? Who would be working with you? What kind of support would you receive? Hint: it’s 24/7/365!
- A really clear understanding of what the path to become a TFC parent looks like (be it full time or respite care).
- Some common myths and misconceptions about the youth served by BCC
- How time off works. Full time TFC parents will need to take breaks from time to time, just like all parents! BCC makes sure you and the child have respite or temporary breaks built into the program so you can both recharge.
- How the reimbursement / stipend system works for TFC parents
Step 4: Attend PRIDE Training
At this stage you have worked with your TFC teammate to answer any remaining questions, and you’re ready to take the next step in your journey. We’ll be honest – it’s a big one, as PRIDE training is 27 hours in total.
PRIDE stands for Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education. It’s quite a mouthful (we promise we didn’t pick the name). This training is the knowledge cornerstone for all Treatment Foster Care parents at the outset of their journey. BCC will help you build and develop your skill sets over time with continuing education and staff support. But it all starts with PRIDE.
The goals of PRIDE are:
- To give parents the information needed to handle routine matters such as medical and psychological care, clothing needs, education, and visitation with the birth family.
- To provide the skills needed to solve problems with creativity and patience
- To go over the required ethical and legal standards that keep your home and BCC in compliance with Maryland state regulations.
- To coach and talk through the strategies needed during the adjustment period when the child first enters your home.
- To identify behaviors likely learned by the child as a result from being in the foster care system or from past trauma they experienced prior to being placed into care.
- To hear directly from current TFC parents who will share their experience and be mentors for you throughout the PRIDE training process (and beyond).
Step 5: Background Check
At this stage you have finished PRIDE training and have decided that being a treatment foster care parent or respite parent is for you. What remains on your journey to becoming a licensed home in Maryland is paperwork, background checks, and a safe home study. Do not panic! That’s what Step 5 is all about.
This next meeting will occur in your home. A member of the TFC team will work with you and your TFC teammate (thought we forgot about them didn’t you? Not a chance – they’re there for you start to finish) on what forms BCC and the State of Maryland needs filled out.
Step 6: Safe Home Study
Once you have got this far you are really on your way!
You’ll be introduced to a new person on your journey at this stage – the licensed social worker who will be completing your SAFE home study.
The report they ultimately produce is a critical component of your application to the State of Maryland to become a Treatment Foster Care or respite care parent.
The SAFE home study process involves around six visits to your home and time spent talking to you and any members of your household. During this stage we’ll also be finishing up any background checks, other state-mandated paperwork, and reference checks that will accompany your final application.
All the work we do will be conducted professionally and confidentially. This step is to ensure that vulnerable children are entrusted to the care of people who are safe, stable, and secure.
Step 7: CPR & First Aid Certification
It probably feels like you just got finished with PRIDE and you’re already back to the classroom! BCC will provide the class (free of charge) and all materials needed to get you certified initially, and will cover the cost of re-certification as needed in the future.
Step 8: Your license to be a Treatment Foster Care parent or respite parent arrives!
Congratulations! You are officially part of the Board of Child Care family!
Step 9: A child is placed in your home
For full time TFC parents:
The TFC team will work with you throughout the placement process. BCC makes social workers available 24/7/365 for all of its TFC parents. In addition, all new TFC parents are paired with a more experienced TFC family at BCC that will act as a resource throughout your TFC experience (especially during the transition weeks early in placement).
For respite care parents:
Your assigned BCC social worker will be coordinating with you on scheduled respite visits.
Ongoing training is a vital tool in the TFC parent toolbox. BCC will make sure you have access to these critical sessions for coaching, problem solving, and support.