Levels of Involvement
At Northern Rivers, we offer many opportunities to partner with families in the communities we serve across New York state, including the Capital Region, the Hudson Valley, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, and the Southern Tier. Our mission is to empower children and families to change their lives and reach permanency. A foster family can become involved with the mission in many ways, from having a child on a part-time “respite” basis, which typically is occasional weekends and overnight stays, to fostering full-time, to adopting a child for a lifetime.
You have several choices for working with foster children, and the programs we offer signify the level of involvement required. The following is an overview of our programs, which include Therapeutic Foster Care, Specialized Foster Care, Overnight Respite Services, and Kinship (Family Finding).
Specialized Foster Care
Specialized foster care is similar to therapeutic foster care although the children’s needs are fewer, and foster parents receive less program contact and support.
Children in therapeutic foster care and specialized foster care are usually in the process of returning home to their birth parents or relatives. The goal of our foster care programs is reunification, but occasionally, when children do not have a resource for permanency, their foster parents may adopt them. Adolescents in this situation, however, may choose not to be adopted, but they may remain in foster care to improve their independent living skills.
Kinship Foster Care (Family Finding)
Relatives or adults with close ties to a child can be a resource for children through kinship foster care. Kinship care is often used when families are unable to care for their children and must be taken into county care. Children can be placed with family or close friends pending assessments, clearances, and certification. Kinship care allows families with limited resources to receive financial stipends and supports from an agency to aid in their success. This arrangement must be approved by the local county Department of Social Services office responsible for the child as well as the county’s Family Court judge. Although the kinship foster parents can be granted an emergency certification so placement can happen quickly, they must agree to complete all requirements for foster parenting in New York state within 90 days.
Therapeutic Foster Family Program
The Therapeutic Foster Family Program (TFFP) serves children who need an out-of-home placement. These children have been removed from their caregivers because of abuse, neglect, or PINS petitions and placed with certified foster families. These children usually have a high level of behavioral and emotional needs and require well-trained, supportive foster parents. Foster parents with children in therapeutic foster care have weekly home visits with the Permanency Care Manager (PCM) assigned to each child as well as respite when needed to maintain placements.
Overnight Respite Services
Foster parents provide overnight respite services when children need overnight respite. These children may be in the foster care program or home with their birth families. This respite is offered on a recurring weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.