Jane* was 12 years old when she first entered OzChild’s specialised foster care program, Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO). She had spent the previous six years in out-of-home care which included 10 different foster care placements.
Before she began the TFCO program, Jane would often refuse to attend school and stayed up all night watching Netflix and playing X-Box. She was living in a serviced apartment with staff and her diet and sleep were poor. She was often angry and would act out by shouting and having meltdowns. Due to her placement history and trauma background, she had little trust in adults. Jane would respond to all requests with “No’ and struggled with following instructions and accepting boundaries and limits. Jane had no friends and had lots of fights with peers who rejected her because of her changeable and moody behaviour.
Jane was placed with TFCO carers Louise* and Ross* who had previous experience supporting young people and managing challenging behavior. Louise and Ross had two adolescent children of their own. Jane moved into the home and was unsettled at first. She would refuse to follow instructions, refuse to shower and would swear loudly when given direction. She was often suspended from school. It was difficult for the foster family to adjust, however with the help of the TFCO Team, the carers were taught how to manage these behaviours and over time, Jane settled into a better routine and the carers used the TFCO Points and Level system to slowly shape her behaviour into a more positive one.
Jane began engaging with the TFCO team which meant she had weekly sessions with an individual therapist, skills coach, and teacher. The team members met regularly with Jane individually and engaged her in techniques based on behavioural therapy and activities to help her manage and improve her behavior and social skills.
With the stability of having a caring home and the support of the TFCO model and team, Jane began to show signs of improved behaviour both at home and school. As she continued to progress through the program, her schoolteachers and carers began to see sustained positive change. Jane was starting to enjoy going to school, she joined the local softball team, and discovered a love of music which gave her a new creative outlet.
Meanwhile, Jane’s mother Gwen had been working weekly with the TFCO Family Therapist on how to best support Jane. Gwen learnt improved parenting and supports were put in place for her to manage better.Jane started to spend days and then weekends with Gwen, with support and coaching from the TFCO team.
After 10 months in the Treatment Foster Care Oregon program, Jane was restored to her mother and a transition to her new home began. TFCO provided 3 months of aftercare visits to ensure stability and then slowly withdrew.
Jane thrived back in her mother’s care, and Gwen and Jane both used their new skills learnt in TFCO to continue to grow their positive relationship.
A party was held to celebrate her graduation from the program. The TFCO team, her teachers, school aids, carers, and the carers’ families were all there to celebrate with her. Jane chose the food and the music for the party and gave a speech in front of everyone.
Although it has not been an easy journey, Jane’s progress has been remarkable since being placed in the TFCO program and she continues to show positive signs with her new carers.
*names have been changed to protect identities
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