Model Family Programs for Delinquency Prevention
Rating * Exemplary Target * 12-18 Speciality * Parent Training
Program * Treatment Foster Care (TFC)
Description *

  TFC is a parent training program that works with foster parents to provide 6 month placements to 12-18 year old adolescents referred because of histories of chronic delinquency. The teenagers biological parents (or other guardian) are also worked with intensively during the placement period as well as during a 12 month after-care period. Youth are referred by the juvenile justice system and are at-risk for commitment or have been committed to the Oregon State Training schools. Treatment goals for the youth are to reduce criminal behavior and substance use, improve school attendance and grades, reduce association with delinquent peers, and improve the youngsters ability to live successfully in a family setting. Treatment goals for the youth's family are to increase their parenting skills, particularly their ability to supervise and to use effective discipline strategies, to increase their level of involvement with their youngster, and to help them engage in prosocial activities in the community.

After intensive pre-service training, Treatment Foster parents are contacted daily to monitor youths progress/problems and they attend a weekly meeting where they receive supervision and support. TFC parents implement a daily behavior management program that is individualized for each youth. Each day youth have the opportunity to earn and lose points that translate into long and short-term privileges. As the youth progress through the program the level of supervision and control over their activities is titrated. Youth also participate in weekly individual therapy that is skill-focused and their parents/guardians attend weekly sessions as well. Youth attend public schools where their attendance and performance is tracked on a daily basis. Twenty-four hour, seven-day on-call support is provided to TFC parents and to parents/guardians during home visits and in after care.

The effectiveness of the TFC program has been evaluated in three studies: one comparing participation in TFC to a matched comparison group, one comparing the relative effectiveness of TFC for boys and girls, and the third a randomized clinical trial comparing TFC to group care (GC) placements for boys averaging 14.5 years old who had an average of 13 arrests pretreatment. In that study boys were assessed at baseline, after they had been placed for 3 months, then every subsequent 6 months throughout two-year follow-up. significantly more of the boys in TFC completed their programs than in GC, they were institutionalized less often, and they had dramatically fewer arrests (less than half the rate of GC boys) in followup. In addition TFC boys reported significantly fewer psychiatric symptoms, had better school adjustment, returned to their family homes after treatment more often, and rated their lives as being happier than boys in GC. This model is now being adapted for working with adolescent girls who are referred by the juvenile justice system but who have serious mental health problems.

    Contact * Patricia Chamberlain, Ph.D., Director 
    Address* Oregon Social Learning Center,
160 East Fourth 
        Eugene, OR  97401
    Phone * 541 485-2711
    Email  * 
    Dept. of Health Promotion and Education

Funded by - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention