Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO formerly MTFC)

TFCO (formerly MTFC) is an evidence based solution for youth with behavior problems, their families, and their communities. The goal of the TFCO (formerly 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.

Program Description

Homes For Kids established the TFCO Program (formerly MTFC) in 2009 as an alternative to institutional, residential, and group care placements for youths with severe and chronic criminal and mental health behavior. The TFCO Program (formerly MTFC) serves male and female adolescents, ages 12 to 17. The program addresses the needs of severely delinquent youth for whom in-home therapy is not an option. Youth are placed individually in a family setting on average for nine months. Four key elements are targeted in TFCO (formerly MTFC) and in aftercare:

Providing youth with a consistent, reinforcing environment that builds on individual strengths

  • Providing clear structure and limits with well-specified consequences
  • Providing close supervision of the youth’s whereabouts
  • Helping youth avoid associations with peers who are likely to have a negative influence, and developing skills for building relationships with positive peers.

The Treatment Team

The TFCO (formerly MTFC) treatment team is led by the Program Supervisor, who coordinates all services and acts as the TFCO (formerly MTFC) foster parent advocate. The team also includes a family therapist, a client therapist, a youth skills coach/trainer, a psychiatrist, and a daily telephone contact person where data is collected on behaviors across home, school and community settings in an effort to aid in the timing, design, and implementation of interventions. The team meets weekly to review the daily behavioral information collected by telephone, to assess the progress on each case, and to adjust individualized programs as needed.

Foster parents are recruited, trained, and supported to be an integral part of the treatment team. Foster parents provide close supervision and implement a structured, individualized program for each child in placement. The client’s treatment plan is designed to build on his or her strengths while specifying clear rules, expectations, and limits. TFCO (formerly MTFC) foster parents receive specialized preplacement training; participate in weekly group meetings; are contacted each day by telephone; and have access to assistance at any time of the day or night.

Program Components

Foster families are trained in behavior management and are supported by a program supervisor who coordinates all aspects of the client’s treatment program. Youth in placement receive all the services associated with Homes For Kids Treatment Foster Care Program. Additional components of the program include the following:   

  • Daily phone contact
  • Weekly supervision and support meetings for MTFC parents
  • Skills-focused individual treatment for youth
  • Weekly family therapy for biological parents or other aftercare resource
  • Frequent contact between participating youth and their biological or adoptive family members
  • Coordination with probation/parole officers
  • Close monitoring of the client’s progress in school
  • Psychiatric consultation/medication management, as needed.
  • Empowering parents to effectively address their children’s needs
  • Enabling families to build skills and supportive social networks in their communities
  • Emphasizing long-term change that continues after MTFC involvement ends.

Program Outcomes

The first TFCO (formerly MTFC) program to target serious and chronic juvenile offenders was established in 1983. Since then, federally-funded research studies have evaluated the pilot program’s outcomes, as well as those of TFCO (formerly MTFC) programs worldwide. When compared to peers in group home or residential care, TFCO (formerly MTFC) youth:

  • Spent 60% fewer days incarcerated in follow-up
  • Ran away from programs three times less often
  • Had significantly less hard drug use in follow-up
  • Had fewer than half the number of subsequent arrests
  • Returned to live with parents or relatives more often