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Perkins begins Intensive Foster Care program.

LANCASTER - Countless people from across the Commonwealth have served as Intensive Foster Care (IFC) parents to children who, despite having complex needs, are able to live in a home environment and benefit from the support of a loving family. Thousands of boys and girls have become part of a typical home environment, bolstering their sense of belonging and overall well-being, which, in many cases, puts them on a path to a better future.

In a move to help match IFC children with potential foster parents, Perkins recently earned approval by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families to serve as a provider of IFC services.

"Right now we are trying to connect with people from the area who might be interested in learning what is involved in welcoming an Intensive Foster Care child into their home," said Timothy Hammond, assistant executive director for programs at Perkins and director of its Intensive Foster Care Services. "Individuals who are skilled at parenting, can provide a high level of supervision and offer unconditional support are key IFC parent candidates - having a sense of humor helps, too."

Hammond said that due to the higher needs of children in IFC, the reimbursement rate is higher than standard foster care at $50 per day. Extensive training prior to becoming an IFC parent and ongoing support is provided to all IFC parents by the Perkins Intensive Foster Care team.

"It made such a positive difference in my life to just be a part of a `normal' family," said Jason, an IFC child, who is now a junior in college. "Knowing that my foster father would have my back for me always - even when things weren't going great - that was something I had never experienced before. Foster care was the best thing that ever happened to me."

According to Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, IFC parents must meet several requirements and qualifications, including passing a Criminal Offender Record Information check; fingerprinting; completing the Massachusetts Approach to Partners in Parenting (MAPP) training and passing a home study, which includes safety standards. In addition, IFC parents must be in generally good health and be available to address safety and health needs of children at all times.

Anyone interested in learning more about IFC parenting, or who would like information, should contact Hammond, at (978) 368-6545 or thammond@perkinschool.org.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Aug 16, 2013
Words:390
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