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Program Standards Revised

Program Standards for Treatment Family Care
Revised, 2019


FFTA's Program Standards for Treatment Foster Care were first developed in 1991 to define the model and set parameters for the field. They have been used by thousands of agencies to develop quality Treatment Foster Care programs for children and families. The Standards have influenced child welfare and child behavioral health practices and provide important guidance for service providers, public child welfare licensing and contracting authorities, and accrediting bodies throughout North America and around the world.

The 5th Edition, published in 2019, provides several updates to the previous edition and in particular approaches the FFTA Standards from a broader perspective of treatment family care. This is in response to the changing needs of children, youth, and families, and the programmatic changes and service expansions that FFTA members are making to meet these changing needs. The majority of FFTA members are now addressing the treatment needs of children and youth in all families, whether those families are treatment foster, adoptive, kinship, relative or bio families. While treatment foster care remains at the heart of FFTA’s work, the Association’s expanded view of “treatment family care” is more aligned with these changes. Thus, this newest version of the Standards references both “treatment foster care” and “treatment family care,” depending on the service standard. To reflect an expanded focus on treatment family care, the Standards are now referred to as Program Standards for Treatment Family Care.

This edition of the Standards takes the first step in this expanded view of treatment family care by integrating a focus on children living with kin. There is an increasing need for FFTA agencies to meet the treatment needs of children in kin settings and an interest in providing kinship treatment services that stems from a belief that living with kin can minimize the trauma associated with separation from parents. These Standards reflect the understanding that kin have some different needs than non-kin but have the right to the same level of supports and services as those in non-kin families. This 5th Edition doesn’t change the core standards for treatment foster care, but rather presents key considerations when the family receiving services is a kin family.

FFTA continues to encourage its members, other service providers, public child welfare and behavioral health entities, and accrediting bodies to use these standards as a primary resource to develop, enhance and promote quality treatment foster care and treatment family care programs.

Download the Revised FFTA Program Standards for Treatment Family Care


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