MTFC Program Overview
The goal of the MTFC program is to decrease problem behavior and to increase developmentally appropriate normative and prosocial behavior in children and adolescents who are in need of out-of-home placement. Youth come to MTFC via referrals from the juvenile justice, foster care, and mental health systems.
MTFC treatment goals are accomplished by providing:
fair and consistent limits
predictable consequences for rule breaking
a supportive relationship with at least one mentoring adult
reduced exposure to peers with similar problems
The intervention is multifaceted and occurs in multiple settings. The intervention components include:
behavioral parent training and support for MTFC foster parents
family therapy for biological parents (or other aftercare resources)
skills training for youth
supportive therapy for youth
school-based behavioral interventions and academic support
psychiatric consultation and medication management, when needed
There are three versions of MTFC, each serving specific age groups. Each version has been subjected to rigorous scientific evaluations and found to be efficacious. The programs are:
MTFC-A for adolescents (12-17 years)
MTFC-C for middle childhood (7-11 years)
MTFC-P for preschool-aged children (3-6 years)
MTFC Parents. In the MTFC program, children are placed in a family setting for six to nine months. Single placements are the norm, although sibling groups are sometimes placed in one home in the MTFC-P program. Foster parents are recruited, trained, and supported to become part of the treatment team. They provide close supervision and implement a structured, individualized program for each child. The child's program is designed by the Program Supervisor with input from the treatment team. It builds on the child's strengths and at the same time sets clear rules, expectations, and limits to manage behavior. MTFC parents receive 12 -14 hours of pre-service training, participate in group support and assistance meetings weekly, and have access to program staff back-up and support 24 hours a day/7 days a week. In addition, MTFC parents are contacted daily (Monday through Friday) by telephone to provide the Parent Daily Report (PDR) information, which is used to relay information about the child's behavior over the last 24 hours to the treatment team and to provide quality assurance on program implementation. MTFC parents are paid a monthly salary and a small stipend to cover extra expenses.
Program Population. A positive and predictable environment is established for children in the MTFC home via a structured behavior management system with consistent follow-through on consequences. The system is designed to encourage positive and age-appropriate behavior in the home through frequent reinforcement from the MTFC parents. The youth is closely supervised in the MTFC home, school (if applicable), and community. Behavior at school and academic progress is monitored daily in the MTFC-C and MTFC-A versions. Skill building is provided for academic and social activities. Additional program activities vary depending on the age of the child. For example, preschoolers in the MTFC-P program participate in a weekly therapeutic playgroup. Adolescents in the MFTC-A program receive individual therapy.
The Child's Family. The birth family or other aftercare resource receives family therapy and parent training. Families learn to provide consistent discipline, to supervise and provide encouragement, and to use a modified version of the behavior management system used in the MTFC home. Therapy is provided to prepare parents for their child's return home and to reduce conflict and increase positive relationships in the family. Family sessions and home visits during the child's placement in MTFC provide opportunities for the parents to practice skills and receive feedback.
The Treatment Team. The MTFC treatment team is led by a program supervisor who also provides intensive support and consultation to the foster parents. The treatment team also includes a family therapist, an individual therapist, a child skills trainer, and a daily telephone contact person (PDR caller). The team meets weekly to review progress on each case, review the daily behavioral information collected by telephone, and adjust the child's individualized treatment plan. The MTFC-P treatment team varies, see the MTFC-P Information page.
For more information on the MTFC program, see the Publications and Related Sites pages or contact Gerard Bouwman, President of TFC Consultants, Inc., or Rena Gold, Vice President of Implementations.
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care®
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