A Memorable Evening for Treatment Foster Care Families

A picnic, a training, an award ceremony, and fun, therapeutic activities….what a great evening for our treatment foster families! On Tuesday, July 29, our Treatment Foster Care (TFC) Program hosted the TFC Picnic and Training at the SaintA main campus, an event that we hope was memorable for families and staff. TFC is out-of-home care by foster parents who have specialized training to care for children and adolescent with significant emotional, behavioral or social challenges.

Ron Klemp

The SaintA TFC program has hosted a series of Sensory Trainings since the spring of 2013 in which TFC families received a brief training from me, then participated with their families in a variety of therapeutic activities. For the July 29 event, we made a few changes, including moving the therapeutic activities outdoors, having a picnic meal under a large tent, and providing awards for our treatment foster parents. Rain was predicted for the evening, but with God’s help and optimism on the part of our director, Teresa Cocker, the rain held off until after the event.

The evening began with the arrival of the foster families and a picnic style meal. Nearly 60 people were in attendance. As the meal was ending, Mike Joranger, Training and Retention Specialist, with bullhorn in hand, announced the awards for the great work our treatment foster parents do. The foster parents then joined me in the Franciscan room for a 25 minute training on occupational therapy assessments and recommendations for treatment foster parents to utilize in their homes. The hope is that the recommendations will improve the lives of the children and youth in their care. Parents were given Sensory Activity binders that contain a number of therapeutic activities that parents can engage their children in at home. During the training, the TFC staff played with the foster children on the playground. Once the training was done, then the fun began! Parents joined the rest of their families to participate in a circuit of sensory activities outdoors. Families blew bubbles together, had relays with gym balls, and played bean bag toss games. The scene was filled with laughter, big smiles, and wonderful conversations.

As the evening came to a close, one foster parent approached me, sharing that she and one of the other foster parents in our program had really enjoyed the recommended activities and utilized them in their homes. I’ve worked with this TFC parent for two years, and found these words to be very encouraging.

I’m so thankful for the many folks who made the evening great for our TFC families. I’m thankful for Advancement Coordinator Cheryl Pabich and her troupe of volunteers that served the picnic meal. I’m thankful for the TFC staff for their outstanding work in developing, implementing, and hosting our TFC families.

For me, it was such a thrill spending time with our foster families, most of whom I’ve had the great opportunity to meet and work with. I hope to do it again next summer.

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