The Foster Family-based Treatment Association is the only membership association in North America that supports treatment foster care agencies through research, public policy, networking, standards development, dissemination of best practices and an annually sponsored conference. With nearly 430 members and 18 state chapters, the association is critical to the quality and success of our TFC program. The Alaska Chapter was formed in 2011 with 12 member agencies. The Chapter as a state-wide entity has given credibility to TFC programs and it has been successful in making practice and policy changes. Collective bodies are always more successful at affecting system change than individual agencies.
I have had the privilege of serving on the board of directors of FFTA for the past three years. The experience has been invaluable, not only for me professionally, but for the perspective of future threats and opportunities for working with and treating vulnerable children and families. Maintaining relevant professional affiliations that support quality treatment will ensure long term sustainability of our agency and promote effective treatment programming.
A recent invitation to develop a TFC program in Bethel was the direct result of the state Division of Behavioral Health and the Office of Children’s Services recognition of our expertise in TFC and credibility gained from national affiliation with FFTA.
The FFTA board of director’s strategic plan currently is to; research and promote best practices in TFC, be the leaders in public policy advocacy and legislation and build a collaborative learning community to support and learn from one another. Additional areas of focus are on domestic minor sex trafficking, kinship care in TFC and getting a bill passed in congress to include a TFC definition in Medicaid statute. Senator Begich has been a consistent supporter of this effort.
I want to thank the Community Programs staff, particularly, Holly Grant, TFC Program Supervisor, Aurora Sidney-Ando, Clinical Program’s Supervisor (overseeing Activity Therapy services), Katya Kalachevskiy and Jennifer MacLaughlin, Clinical Case Management Supervisors, who without trust in their supervisory skills and leadership I would not be able to take time away from the agency to do this important work.