Quality Youth Services is a state-contracted short-term foster care agency, but what does that really mean and how does that differ from Traditional Foster care? This article will outline how Quality Youth Services’ short-term foster care differs from Traditional Foster care in Utah and across the country.
A State-Contracted Agency
Quality Youth Services acts as a contractor for the State of Utah. This means QYS provides services to youth in the custody of the State of Utah instead of these services being provided directly by a State agency such as The Department of Child and Family Services. As a private provider, QYS undergoes annual Audits from multiple government agencies to ensure we operate within the bounds of our contracts and the best practices of the field are adhered to within our agency. QYS is licensed by Utah’s Office of Licensing as a Child Placing Agency which requires the agency to meet high standards of professionalism and expertise when working with foster youth.
Short Term Placements
Quality Youth Services differs from Traditional Foster Care in that we are NOT an Adoptive Agency, meaning all the youth who enter our care have the goal of being reunited with their families of origin or are planning to transition to adult living and move from our program into their first apartment as a young adult. The typical length of stay for a QYS foster youth is 3-12 months. In some rare circumstances, youth are placed with QYS that are too young to transition to adult living, and also have no suitable family to return home to; therefore, they may stay in QYS foster care until they are old enough (and prepared enough) to move into their first apartment as an adult.
Proctor Care vs Traditional Foster Care
Proctor is a foster care jargon word that can have a variety of meanings. First, it describes a type of foster youth. A Quality Youth Services Proctor youth is aged 12-16 years old and requires a foster placement that provides Treatment Level Foster Care in a family home setting. These youth tend to have higher needs than traditional foster care clients and they are not eligible for adoption. Some Proctor youth can be older than 16 due to their increased need of care and supervision by their foster families, which may be due to mental health diagnoses or cognitive/developmental delays. Proctor youth engage in an evidence-based treatment model with a goal to learn and cultivate the set of skills it will take to be successful once they return home to their families and into the future as young adults.
Second, Proctor also refers to a type of Foster Parent. A “Proctor Parent” is another name for a short-term foster parent that is certified to have “Proctor Youth” placed in their home. Proctor Parents are to treat the youth in their home as a member of the family and are expected to provide the same care and supervision of Proctor youth as they would their own children. Proctor Parents are paid a higher rate than other types of foster parents because they are expected to buy and prepare meals for the youth, engage in the youth’s treatment team, and are more specially trained than a traditional foster parent. Proctor parents may have up to 3 Proctor youth placed in their home at one time, unless they are a sibling group, in which they may have up to 5.
Transition to Adult Living (TAL) vs Traditional Foster Care
Just like the word Proctor, Transitional to Adult Living or TAL is a jargon word used for multiple purposes in the foster care world. TAL foster youth are aged 17-21 years old and they have a goal to leave the custody of the State of Utah and move into their first apartment upon exit. In certain circumstances, TAL youth may also return to a family setting with expectations to live as an adult with family or kin, and contribute to the household in a meaningful way. These youth typically have higher needs than traditional foster youth and also engage in a treatment program focused on preparing them to be successful, independent young adults. .
Quality Youth Services TAL Program is divided into 3 phases, each designed to prepare the youth for living as an independent adult while still under the care and supervision of foster parents. TAL youth receive skill-building education for things such as cooking /cleaning, finding and maintaining employment, creating a budget and handling finances, finding housing, handling their medical and mental health needs, and so much more.
While in the program, QYS TAL youth receive $100 every two weeks and are expected to plan a menu and shopping list, then buy and prepare themselves all meals in preparation for adult living. TAL youth are expected to graduate high school and find full time employment while in the program in order to afford an independent lifestyle upon discharge. TAL youth are encouraged to apply for grants and scholarships for post-high school education if they are interested.
TAL can also refer to a TAL Foster Parent. TAL Foster Parents are certified to care for TAL clients aged 17-21. TAL foster homes must include some separation of living quarters for the TAL foster youth and the TAL foster family. This is typically achieved in homes that have basements with a separate kitchen, living room and bedrooms or “mother-in-law suites” that are typical in Utah homes. TAL foster parents still provide care and supervision to the youth in their home, but are not expected to provide the youth with groceries or meals, as that is the youth’s responsibility. TAL foster parents are expected to provide household items such as cleaning supplies and paper products such as toilet paper, etc. TAL foster parents are paid a slightly lower rate than a Proctor foster parent, because TAL youth require less supervision than Proctor foster youth. TAL foster parents are typically paid at a higher rate than traditional foster parents due to the level of care they provide and the additional training they receive. TAL foster parents may have up to 3 TAL youth placed in their home at one time.
Age of Clients
QYS is licensed to place youth who are aged 12-21 years old. Unlike other states, Utah allows for youth to stay in the custody of the State past 18 years old. Youth Aged 18-21 most likely are placed in TAL foster homes and have the goal to transition to living in their first apartment as independent adults.
QYS does have opportunities for youth under the age of 12 to be placed in our foster homes. If a sibling group is needing a foster placement, as long as one of the siblings is within the 12-21 age range, then the entire sibling group can be placed in a QYS foster home together. For instance, a brother sister pair that is 14 and 3 would be allowed to be placed in the same home. Great lengths are taken to place siblings together no matter their ages or genders.
A Treatment Team For Every Youth
A benefit to being a foster parent with a private agency rather than a government agency is the amount of extra support foster parents receive with their youth. Traditional foster care agencies provide foster parents with one contact person–the youth’s case manager. While State Case Managers can be excellent at their jobs, they are only 1 person, who likely has a load of 20-30 youth under their supervision at any given time.
At Quality Youth Services, every youth is given a treatment team that consists of the State Case Manager, a QYS Treatment Coordinator, a QYS therapist, a QYS Youth Mentor(s), their biological family and their foster parents to help them succeed while in our program and beyond.
Treatment Foster Care vs Traditional Foster Care
Quality Youth Services Treatment level Foster care differs from traditional foster care in the amount of services and support offered to the foster youth and the foster parents. In traditional foster care, foster youth and parents have the youth’s State case manager as their single point of contact. The case manager is required to make contact with their client once per month. In a treatment level foster care agency, foster youth and parents are part of a treatment team of professional individuals who are there to help resolve conflict, offer parenting support, and provide clinical treatment to the foster youth while in your care. Treatment level foster care youth receive multiple interventions with trained staff in a single week for things such as clinical therapy, in-home behavioral meetings, and skills-based learning sessions with a trained provider, etc.
While some youth in Traditional foster care may receive therapy from an outside source, every QYS treatment foster care youth will have an in-house therapist assigned to them day one and will engage in weekly therapy thereafter. The youth’s therapist will act as their advocate to ensure their needs are met and will create treatment goals to work on throughout their stay. QYS uses nationally recognized mental health outcome assessments to track the youth’s progress in clinical treatment and help direct the therapist to problems areas in the youth;s life to work on.
Treatment level Foster Care youth all have the goal to either be reunited with family, be placed with kin, or to transition to adult living as an independent adult. In traditional Foster Care, foster parents have a consistent pressure on them to adopt the youth in your home. While this may be a suitable choice for some foster parents, QYS foster parents are never pressured to adopt the youth in their care as the parental rights of the youth are still intact, and they are not eligible for adoption.
The Use of Evidence-Based Practices
Evidence-based practices are an intervention or tool that has been tested and researched to show their efficiency and effectiveness in providing a desired result. While there are numerous evidence-based practices, Quality Youth Services follows the treatment foster care program model, Together Facing the Challenge (TFTC). This curriculum directs the youth’s treatment team on how to handle unwanted and maladaptive behaviors as well as gives the treatment team tools to help the foster youth learn new skills and behaviors to better adapt to being a successful, happy adult. By using an evidence-based treatment model, Quality Youth Services Foster Parents can rest assured the parenting techniques they are taught to implement are proven to be effective and create lasting, positive change in the youth during their stay in foster care and beyond. QYS is here to help foster parents every step of the way to increase their confidence and knowledge in the parenting decisions they make.
24 Hour Support
Need help at 3 am because your foster youth is in crisis? QYS is available any time of day or night to intervene and help resolve the situation through our after hours on-call workers. In stark contrast to Traditional Foster Care, Quality Youth Services offers foster parents and youth 24 hour support from their treatment team. On-call workers are trained to de-escalate problem situations, resolve multiple types of conflict, offer assistance to foster youth or parents, and connect foster parents and youth to immediate resources in cases of medical or mental health emergencies. On-call workers are trained to follow up with the rest of the treatment within regular business hours to inform them of the situation, taking pressure and stress off of the foster parents.
Competitive, Tax-Free Reimbursement
Compared to Traditional Foster Parents, Quality Youth Services Foster Parents are paid a higher daily rate of reimbursement due to the specialized training they receive and level of care they provide for the youth in their home. Foster parents of any kind are not employees of the foster agency, but rather are reimbursed for the care and supervision they provide. This means the money you receive for fostering youth in your home is not taxable income. In most cases, this is a good thing, as your foster care reimbursement will not affect your annual income taxes, but on the other hand, your foster care reimbursement may not be used to qualify for things such as establishing your income for a loan.
Clothing and Hygiene Allowance
In order to offset costs for the foster family, every foster youth receives $2 per day while in foster care from the State of Utah for the purpose of buying clothing and hygiene products. This allowance is given to the foster parents on a monthly basis in addition to their foster parent reimbursement. Foster parents will use these funds to purchase new clothing and hygiene supplies for the youth each month. Foster parents may save the money up to three months to purchase more expensive items such as jackets, specific branded shoes, etc, as long as their other clothing and hygiene needs are being met. Any left over funds each month may be spent on hobby items for the foster youth such as sports equipment, books, magazines, playing cards, etc.
Some foster youth enter the foster care system with nothing but the clothes on their backs. These youth cannot wait for their monthly allowance, and foster parents are never expected to purchase the youth in their home everything they will need to be successful. In these scenarios, the State of Utah issues foster youth a one time payment of a larger sum of money right away to purchase the basic necessities such as socks, pants, shoes, jacket, shirts, underwear, etc.
Medical, Dental and Mental Health Coverage
Every youth placed with Quality Youth Services Foster Care is awarded a Medicaid plan that has no cost sharing for the foster parents. As long as foster parents go to in-network providers, all medical, dental and mental health costs will be covered by the Medicaid plan, including prescriptions.
Quality Youth Services assists foster parents in making sure all health requirements are met for the youth placed in your home. This means the youth’s QYS Treatment Coordinator will assist foster parents in finding an in-network primary care doctor and dentist for the youth and will help schedule a Well Child Check and Dental Visit within the first 30 days of the youth coming to your home. Additionally, all mental health services, including a monthly medication management appointment are provided in-house by Quality Youth Services and costs are covered by the youth’s Medicaid Plan. Keeping mental health services within the same foster care agency lends itself to ourTeam Approach to care and allows for easy and efficient communication between all team members.
Mentors for Foster Youth
Youth Mentors are employees of Quality Youth Services that work directly with foster youth to assist foster families complete daily and weekly tasks. At the direction of the youth’s Treatment Coordinator, Youth Mentors are pre-scheduled to work with youth in the your home, school and community with things such as transportation for appointments or school, helping with homework, working on treatment goals, reinforcing behavior plans, going on shopping trips to spend clothing and hygiene allowance, etc.
Youth Mentors act as an extension of the foster parent to ensure the foster youth’s needs are met each day. Did your foster youth just call you from school that they are sick, but you cannot leave work to pick them up? No problem! Because you are part of a team, a youth mentor may be able to step in and take the youth to the doctor on your behalf. Afterwards, the youth mentor will update the Foster Parent about the appointment, perhaps pick the prescription if necessary and stay with the foster youth until you are home.
How to Start Today
Every facet of Quality Youth Services Treatment Foster Care model is designed to make Foster Parents feel confident in their ability to provide a safe, secure and nurturing environment for all family members including the foster youth.
Quality Youth Services provides short term foster care through our dedicated foster parents in Cache, Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a foster parent, please complete the foster parent application on our website at this link, https://www.qualityyouthservices.com/foster-care, and our Program Director will call to schedule an interview within two days.
Or if you would like more information before applying, check out our website page dedicated to Foster Parents at this link, https://www.qualityyouthservices.com/proctor-parents.
You may also request more information or get answers to specific questions prior to applying at this link https://www.qualityyouthservices.com/request-more-information
Quality Youth Services Foster Parents play a vital role in the mental health, well-being and future success of the vulnerable youth they serve in their homes. Please join us in being catalysts of positive change in our community by deciding to foster today!