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Thinking of Becoming a Foster Parent? Know the Different Types of Foster Parent Opportunities

So you are thinking about becoming a foster parent. As a foster parent recruiter, that is music to our ears! Truly, the need for foster parents in Ohio has never been greater. Throughout the state, there are more than 16,600 children in need of the care of a foster family – including 2,000 in Franklin County and 1,200 in greater Cincinnati.

What’s important for everyone, especially interested foster parents, to understand is that children are placed in foster care due to no fault of their own. The reality is, no child or teen is perfect. Think back to when you were a child. Did you disobey your parents or teachers on occasion? Did you have mood swings or just want to be alone sometimes? Did you have bad days? We’re willing to bet the answer is yes.

Youth experiencing foster care are no different. They unfortunately often get a bad reputation simply because they are in foster care. The truth about youth in foster care is they are just like other kids. The only difference is often times, they’ve had to endure traumatic experiences that no child ever should. But like all kids, they deserve a loving, supportive family to help them grow, thrive, and live up to their full potential.

As you consider taking the next step to becoming a foster parent, it’s also important to understand there are different types of foster care. The most common are traditional fostering and therapeutic fostering.

Traditional Foster Care

Traditional foster care is what most people think of when they think of foster parenting – this is when a child is temporarily placed with a licensed foster family when their biological parents cannot, for whatever reason, adequately care for them. Foster care is typically arranged through the court system and various social service agencies. A child can be in foster care for a short period of time, or even months or years. The goal is for the child to be reunited with their birth family. But in some cases, a youth in foster care may become eligible for permanent adoption if it is determined the child cannot be safely reunited with the birth family.

Therapeutic Foster Care

Therapeutic foster care, sometimes referred to as treatment foster care, takes traditional fostering to the next level by considering the additional social, emotional and behavioral support needed to help youth experiencing foster care who are working through the impacts of trauma. 

With therapeutic foster care:

  • Foster families receive specialized training for trauma healing and behavioral coping skills to support youth’s mental, physical, social and emotional well-being. 
  • Becoming a licensed therapeutic foster parent can require additional training hours, and the reimbursement rate is often higher to accommodate the additional training and care needed

SAFY is a therapeutic foster care provider, and we are proud of the support we provide our foster families to ensure they are equipped to help children of all ages experiencing foster care overcome trauma and thrive for however long the child is in their care.

For more information about ways to give, becoming a foster parent or supporting youth experiencing foster care and vulnerable families, visit You can be the difference in the life of a child!

By Charisse Penn, SAFY Columbus Foster Parent Recruiter and Toneia Williams, SAFY Cincinnati Foster Parent Recruiter 

Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) is a child and family nonprofit preserving families and securing futures services that help families and children heal, have hope, and thrive through a model of care that includes therapeutic foster care, adoption, family preservation, behavioral health and supports for older youth. Learn more at

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