Foster Care Services

The Merakey Foster Care program utilizes an integrated clinical support team to serve families working with children and adolescents who cannot live with their own families. The program allows children to achieve their fullest potential by training and assisting families to provide the highest level of care. The Merakey Therapeutic Family Care (TFC) and Foster Care Plus (FCP) programs serve about 450 children and adolescents.

Meet the Edwards Family

Meet the Baran Family

Therapeutic Family Care (TFC)

Therapeutic Family Care (TFC) provides a pathway to repairing and rebuilding the relationships between children and their natural support system. Services include: individual and family therapy, treatment meetings, case management, and integration of treatment goals in the home and community. Children participating in TFC are supported by a treatment team that includes: a child’s natural supports/families, Merakey MA level therapists, Merakey BA level case managers, and specialized Merakey foster families that are specifically trained to assist children with severe and persistent mental health diagnoses and behavioral issues. Other members of the team can include psychologists, psychiatrists, educational providers, county agencies, and insurance companies.

Therapeutic Family Care differs from traditional foster care in the kind of treatment provided, as well as the level of support provided to foster families. TFC foster families are responsible for providing day-to-day care for children in the program, as well as implementing supportive elements of the child’s clinical treatment plan. TFC foster families are also a significant part of the transfer of skills to the child’s natural supports/families to ensure a successful return to home or to another positive discharge resource. Foster families also receive intensive support from the clinical team. All foster parents are educated with a minimum of 40 hours of clinical training designed to assist with understanding behavior, diagnosis, de-escalation of behavior, and a variety of other training topics that support children with significant and persistent mental illness and behavioral challenges. In addition to training, foster families are supported weekly with multiple home visits and in-home therapy by the treatment team, access to Merakey 24/7 crisis response, respite services, and a generous tax-free daily stipend and expense reimbursement significantly higher than traditional foster care agencies.

Foster Care Plus (FCP)

Merakey offers a more traditional form of foster care services through the Foster Care Plus program (FCP). FCP utilizes the same families’ identified to support Therapeutic Family Care children and is only available to children supported by the child welfare system – County Children and Youth & Juvenile Probation programs. Traditional foster care services provide a similar approach to treatment and care of the child, with a less intense focus on mental health diagnosis and behavioral issues. Foster families participating in traditional foster care still have access to the same levels of support as the Therapeutic Family Care program through regularly scheduled home visits, case management, access to Merakey 24/7 crisis support, and a generous tax-free daily stipend and expense reimbursement significantly higher than traditional foster care agencies.

Requirements to be a Merakey Foster Family:

Merakey is always seeking individuals and families willing to open their homes and their hearts to children in the foster care system. Merakey is an industry leader in meeting the unique needs of foster families by providing crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, holding frequent support groups specifically tailored to foster parents, providing quality pre-service and ongoing trainings, as well as a generous tax-free daily stipend and expense reimbursement significantly higher than traditional foster care agencies. To qualify, families must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Obtain PA Child Abuse and Criminal Clearances
  • Obtain an FBI fingerprint clearance
  • Pass a physical by a medical doctor
  • Have reliable transportation
  • Have a valid driver's license
  • Prove financial stability without the stipend from Merakey
  • Agree to be an active participant of a treatment team and attend treatment meetings

If you would like to become a foster parent/family, please fill out the Resource Parent Application (writable .pdf form).
Download the Merakey Foster Care Step by Step Guide

For more information on how you can become a foster parent, please call 1-877-TFC-2210 (1-877-832-2210) or send us a message.