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How Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is changing lives

Posted at 1:34 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 15:34:42-05

Devereux Behavioral Health is a paid sponsor of The Morning Blend.

"Devereux was founded in 1912 and today we are one of the largest nonprofit behavioral health organizations in the country. We pride ourselves in effectively engaging our clients and families, providing a welcoming and inclusive environment and giving them a positive behavioral health and healthcare experience. Our Tucson area programs include Brief Intervention, Outpatient Counseling, Respite and Therapeutic Foster Care. Because of the COVID pandemic, we are in need of more Therapeutic Foster Care providers in the Tucson area for our child and adult programs."

"Traditional foster care is rooted in child welfare and is a service provided to children removed by the state from abuse or neglect.
In therapeutic foster care the children, ages 10-15 on average, are all different races and ethnic backgrounds. They may or may not be in state custody due to abuse or neglect. Just like counseling or group therapy, therapeutic foster care is a behavioral health service funded by the behavioral health system or intervention vs. a placement for a child’s safety. It just so happens that the intervention is in a foster home, but at its core therapeutic foster care is a behavioral health intervention. The children we serve have a diverse range of diagnoses from Oppositional Defiant Disorders to PTSD, Adjustment Disorders, and various Disruptive Behavioral disorders. We also clients on the Autism Spectrum, kids that identify as LGBTQ, etc.
It is pretty common that our clients have been in and out of multiple group homes and foster homes before they are referred to therapeutic foster care."

"The age group ranges from 18 through the life span. Older adults and young adults. The composition of the population is a little different – it is more so diagnoses of schizophrenia, schizoaffective, mood and psychotic disorders that are limiting the individual’s level of functioning to the point that they are not able to live on their own for the time being.
They need support with daily living skills, like hygiene, doing laundry, and more advanced skills like cooking, shopping, budgeting, and keeping their medication straight and being able to keep to a schedule. Our typical client is living with various forms of psychosis be it hearing voices or responding to various stimuli. If you see these individuals, it is immediately evident that this is not your average adult and that they need additional support, mentoring and teaching of skills, so that hopefully, eventually they can live in a less restrictive environment like a semi-supervised apartment, board and care, or potentially independent living if they make sufficient progress – which is always the goal.
Whereas the child program is focused on behavioral management and learning to respond to structure, authority, and preparing for life as a young adult on their own and working on social skills, with the adult program, it is more about the activities of daily living and teaching them about independent living skills and managing mental illness,
Many of our adult clients attend a day program as opposed to school for the children’s program, but overall the providers in the adult and child programs should expect similar routines."

"Specific licensing requirements: One year of experience working with children or a related college degree, passing a background check, participating and passing a home study process, completing required training, and you must be 21 years or older."

"If you meet the basic experience and background requirements, whether you are single, partnered, married, cohabitating, in same sex relationship, and you have the ability to support your household without a reliance on foster care monies, you may qualify to be a therapeutic foster parent. You don’t have to be a stay-at-home parent, but you need to have flexibility in your employment so that you can be available to the clients at any time, because our clients are unable to participate in after school programs, they may get suspended from school, etc.
Other important characteristics to have include a sense of humor and being fairly easy-going, where things don’t ruffle your feathers very easily. You need the ability to relate to children and teenagers and the issues they go through; a willingness and the ability to not take things personally; and an ability to see through and past problem behavior and try to figure out the need being communicated by the behavior."

"It is helpful for people to have a support network whether it is family, friends, their church, or other community group. It is important to have the skill to be open and willing to work as a team. The understanding that you may have parented and been very successful, but these are not like your children and these kids in a lot of ways need a different approach – so you need to be willing to try and implement different strategies. You have a whole team of support internally at Devereux and on the treatment team at large, and with that support is direction on how to work therapeutically with the client."

"Reimbursement: Therapeutic foster parents receive lots of free training and 24/7 personal support from program staff. Our parents never have to deal with things on their own. They also receive a non-taxable reimbursement of approximately $3000 dollars per month, per client. We have retention activities throughout the year, and paid respite of up to 14 days per year. There are also the non-tangible benefits of having a significant impact on a child’s life and their future and by extension the Tucson community. The work our providers do is difficult, but therapeutic foster parents receive a lot of support and benefits to assist them."

"Give us a call, we can talk about it more with you or attend one of our monthly Virtual Information Sessions by visiting DevereuxAZFosterCare.org. or calling 520 576-5801"