Justin Labarge is the clinical manager at the children's home of Jefferson County. Every day he sees firsthand the struggles of finding homes, loving, caring homes for so many children in need.
“The system itself. We really need to work through some challenges, especially in a rural area. We have experienced some more challenges here rather than urban areas,” LaBarge said.
Austin and the rest of the children's home staff is excited about the agency's plan to look west for help. The children's home, joined other community agencies involved in the fostering process here locally for a presentation to announce and learn about its newest partnership with Treatment Foster Care, Oregon. It's a program with a special focus on children with emotional and behavioral disorders.
John Aarons is the program's president.
“I think the really critical piece is what's different between this and traditional foster care. And I would say training, support, resources for foster parents,” Aarons said.
The model places a child in a home with no other foster children, and that lasts anywhere from six months to a full year. During which TFCO will work with all of the other local agencies, schools, counselors, courts.
It will train the foster families, the child, the parents. They all attend. Therapy behavior is tracked in TCO can adjust the treatment plan in real time.
“So what we want to do is give this young person who's likely had a number of traumatic experiences of being in other foster home and not been successful. We want to give them an opportunity to be in a safe, protective, non harsh, non non-judgmental environment,” Aarons added.
It's the collaborative effort, the constant communication that has Austin LaBarge so hopeful for the future.
“So it's really taking that kid experiencing a lot of challenges. So a lot of disruptions, a lot of challenging behaviors and wrapping a whole system around them — with the foster family, with the clinical team — to really give them that high intensity support they need to help set them up for the rest of their lives,” LaBarge added.
A program with an ultimate goal of one day reuniting that child with his or her birth parents. The Children’s Home of Jefferson County will begin this program with 10 children going into 10 different foster homes.