More on Residential Treatment and Care Program
RTCP foster parents are part of a treatment team, along with contractor agency case managers and Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration staff. Foster parents are reimbursed for their service in the form of a stipend that is designed to cover the cost of having a JRA youth in their home. Training emphasizes behavior management methods and creation of a structured and therapeutic living environment. Foster parents implement a structured, individualized program for each youth, designed to simultaneously build on the youngster's strengths and to set clear rules, expectations, and limits. Each individualized program is structured to give the youth a clear picture of what is expected of him/her throughout the day and evening. During the placement period, individualized programs are readjusted to fit youths' changing needs, to reflect progress, and to target new problem behaviors that might emerge. The individualized programs help guide RTCP parents to be specific in the way they reinforce progress and to consistently set limits and impose consequences. Individualized programs give youth concrete ways to measure their success. Youths' families also use the individualized programs during home visits and when youth return home after placement.
Foster parents are contacted daily (Monday through Friday) by telephone, and data are collected on the youth's behavior during the past 24 hours. During this call, potential problems are discussed, and plans for the coming day are reviewed. Case managers facilitate weekly case conferences attended by foster parents and other involved program staff. Telephone data collected during the prior week are reviewed and discussed, and the youths' individualized programs are adjusted as needed.
Because youth who participate in the program have committed delinquent acts, the level of supervision provided is high. Close monitoring of youngsters at home and at school is a standard of the RTCP model. Frequent contact is maintained between the RTCP case manager, Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration staff, teachers, work supervisors, and other involved adults. Youth are not permitted unsupervised free time in the community, and peer relationships are closely scrutinized. Over the course of placement, levels of supervision and discipline are adjusted, depending on a youth's progress.
The RTCP model places heavy emphasis on teaching interpersonal skills and participation in positive social activities, including sports, hobbies, and other forms of recreation. A Multi-modal treatment approach is used that includes behavioral skills training across settings (e.g., home, school, with peers).
The success of the RTCP depends on the ability of foster parents and program staff - case manager, family therapist, and individual therapist - to motivate and engage youth and their families in positive change. Throughout the RTCP placement, treatment is extended to include the youth's biological family (or adoptive family or other aftercare resource). Treatment progresses within a structure of clearly defined rules, limits, and consequences for failing to comply with the program. Families attend weekly treatment sessions and effective methods for supervising, disciplining, and encouraging youth are modeled and taught. Biological parents and youth have a number of opportunities to practice these skills during home visits scheduled throughout the youth's placement. During home visits the family follows an individualized program that is similar to the one used with the youth in the RTCP home. At first, home visits are brief - one to two hours in length. As youth and families progress in treatment, visits may progressively extend to overnight stays. Following each home visit, the family's therapist debriefs the family and the youth regarding challenges and successes.
By the time of a youth's permanent return home, the family will have developed improved ability to maintain a positive home environment. Parents and youth will have skills and interventions to limit association with delinquent peers. The family will be practiced in setting limits and following through with discipline. They will be engaged in helping youth succeed in school and on the job. Services delivered during placement in the RTCP create an opportunity for youth and their families to experience a turning point towards positive and productive relationships and activities.
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