ITFC (Intensive Treatment Foster Care) explained
Laws were passed starting in 1990 to allow CDSS to authorize intensive treatment foster care to counties that applied to provide intervention and direct support to children and keep them in family like settings.
- Originally it was only for seriously emotionally disturbed children who were being subject to placements into group homes.
- In 2009 the statute was amended to include youth with serious behavioral problems.
- It also allows placement of children who would otherwise require group home Rate Classification Level 9-11.
- Adds that the foster parent’s home be in close proximity to the child’s family and community whenever possible to enhance and sustain the child’s ties to their family.
- Only Foster Family Agencies can provide ITFC services (per statute).
- FFAs enter into contracts with County to provide this service.
- Each FFA provides ITFC services within their own agency for children in their care who are authorized to receive it.
- Contracted FFAs provide the training required for their staff and resource families.
(SB1380 (2008);SB2234(1990); AB1198 (1993); SB969 (1995); W&I Sections:18358, 18358.05, 18358.10, 18358.15, 18358.20, 18358.23, 18358.25, 18358.30)
What is ITFC?
ITFC is a foster family based alternative to institutional care.
- Services and supports to the foster homes are greatly intensified for children and youth who need extra structure and support.
- “Support counselors” working within the foster home at specified time to provide additional support to foster parents and supervision to foster children.
- Services might include Family Reunification Services, mentoring, targeted life skills training, or a liaison with the schools.
- Intensive in-home therapeutic & behavior-management services provided by the FFA
Children and youth with serious emotional & behavioral problems.
- Can include youth at risk of placement into Group Homes level 9-11
- Unlike MTFC (Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care), there does not need to be an identified family to whom the child could return.
- ITFC services discontinue if the child leaves the FFA placement.
- Service plans are created based on each child’s individual needs
- 5 levels of treatment with different rates
- Family specialists or support counselors provide one on one hours of support
- Depending on the level authorized, 48 to 116 hours per month.
- Goal is to step the child down in level of support, review every 3 months
To decrease behaviors
- To remain out of institutional care
- To reduce the number of placement disruptions
- To drop levels within ITFC
- To be discharged to less restrictive programs short of permanency
- To be discharged to reunification with a parent, guardian, kin guardianship or other permanent plan.
Rates set by statute
- Redirects funds that would otherwise be spent on higher cost group homes
- Covers extensive support services for children who are emotionally disturbed or have serious behavioral problems
- Allowable costs under California foster care system
- Allows for funding stream for Multi-Dimensional Foster Care Treatment (MTFC)
- Rates determined by the child’s service level and decreases as the reliance on the services decreases.
- ITFC foster parent receives a minimum of $1,200 per child per month. (SB1380 change)
Differences in Cost
ITFC certified foster family home placement is between $2,985 to $4,476 per month.
- Group Home costs are between $4,690 and $5,891 per month.
- Unlike SB163 the savings do not go into a Trust Fund to reinvest.
Role of IRPC (Interagency Resource & Placement Committee)
- Prior to Jan 1, 2009, IRPC assessed child’s eligibility.
- Eligibility determination is with the county placing agency or IRPC to assess if the child is currently placed in or at risk of being placed into GH level 9 or higher or is at imminent risk of psychiatric hospitalization.
An additional method of preventing children and youth from placement into institutional care.
- Opportunity through an individualized service plan and assessment with intensive engagement and contact with the child to understand their behavior and intervene and redirect.
- Partnerships with FFAs who can identify children in their FFAs who may need additional interventions, even short term, to prevent a higher level of care need.
- Opportunity for case managers to refer children in need of this type of intervention to this specialized care level without requesting group home.