CHOICES, Inc. operates the Foster Care Program with the philosophy that youth benefit from being in a least restrictive, safe, structured environment that stimulates and supports positive change and meets their physical, emotional and educational needs. CHOICES, Inc. uses a best practice approach that is informed by the most current research to guide behavioral change through a multi-disciplinary team. CHOICES uses a team approach to provide the best possible outcomes for youth.
The Foster Care Program serves youth from birth to 21years of age, of all cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds, within the developmental range from normal to severely disabled. Additionally, the youth are determined to be dependent, neglected, abused, delinquent or in need of supportive services because they are teen caregivers, with permanency goals ranging from reunification to adoption to emancipation directly from substitute care.
The youth may have emotional and developmental needs related to experiences of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, or emotional disturbances such as conduct/behavioral disorders, chemical dependency issues, sexual offending behavior, delinquent behavior, or a mental, developmental or physical disability that may require the routine use of a medical device and daily ongoing care, and/or special medical needs.
The youth served by CHOICES, Inc. often prove to be resilient, determined, strong-spirited and independent thinkers. They demonstrate a great ability to adjust to difficult circumstances, to overcome loss, and to learn new behavioral techniques allowing them to be successful.
Referral & Placement Process
CHOICES, Inc. contracts with various child placing agencies within the Miami Valley area. When a youth is referred to CHOICES for Independent Living services, an interview is scheduled, which includes a CHOICES worker, the youth being referred, the placing agency worker, and at least one support person for the youth.
The interview allows for the exchange of information. First, the youth and key individuals in the youth’s life are informed of the exact expectations and operation of the Independent Living Program. Second, the CHOICES staff is able to gauge a youth’s readiness for the level of independence the program offers. Decisions for entry into the program are made on a case-by-case basis.
CHOICES, Inc. contracts with various child placing agencies within the Miami Valley area. When a youth is referred to CHOICES for Foster Care services we utilize a matching process that ensures consideration of the youth’s needs, the capabilities of the foster caregiver and family-centered neighborhood-based practices. A reasonable “fit” for the youth is crucial to a successful placement. CHOICES, Inc. will identify characteristics, behaviors and needs of the child in making placement decisions combined with the following matching variables which include but are not limited to:
- The foster parent’s strengths, specific skills, abilities and attitudes needed to work effectively with the particular child
- The foster parent’s preferences of age, gender, ethnicity, race, culture and religion
- The geographical location of the foster home and proximity to the child’s family and services that may already be in place
- The availability and access to resources required to meet the child’s needs
- Composition of the family including the other foster youth placed in the home
Scope of Services
A CHOICES, Inc. Foster Care program staff person is present when a youth is placed in a foster home in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. The staff then visit with the youth and the foster caregiver again within 72 hours of placement and, at a minimum, three times per month after that.
We have found that consistent communication between everyone involved with the youth is paramount to a successful placement. The individuals involved with a youth are referred to as treatment team members and include the youth, biological family member(s)—as appropriate, placing agency worker, CHOICES worker, and may also include other individuals such as: mental health worker, therapist, teacher or other school personnel, probation/parole officer, MR/DD worker and rehabilitation worker.
While in a family setting, the multi-disciplinary treatment team develops an individualized Service Plan for each youth, which identifies goals and services that should be provided to help the youth achieve their treatment goals. This team approach creates a therapeutic environment in which many children can thrive and work through issues associated with abuse, neglect, loss and separation.