HAWAIʻI ISLAND

What is a Therapeutic Foster Parent?

A therapeutic foster parent, also referred to as a therapeutic resource parent, supports the specialized needs of children and youth who require an elevated level of support outside of their home. To be placed with a therapeutic foster parent, youth may:

  •  Exhibit special emotional requirements
  • Present mental health or behavioral challenges
  • Have delayed developmental milestones
  • Display behaviors that are not typical for their age group

Transitional Family Homes (TFH)

Through the Transitional Family Homes (TFH) program, therapeutic foster parents on Hawaii Island can expect to be a part of a comprehensive system of support for youth, including providing a stable sanctuary, skills training, counseling, and clinical services. TFH services must be accessed through a referral from the Department of Health (DOH), Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division.

The program ensures that youth are kept as close to home as possible and continue participating in family, school, and community activities.

While the youth and support team prepare for a safe transitions out of the home, therapeutic foster parents provide consistent supervision. The TFH program offers extensive resources to address the complex issues that necessitated the youth’s placement. This may include weekly individual therapy for the youth, family therapy, and ongoing support for the therapeutic foster parents. Additionally, 24/7 support from the TFH clinical team is available for crisis situations. The goal is for youth to return to their families, find a family setting where they can live long-term, or live independently.

Why become a Therapeutic Foster Parent with the TFH Program?

Foster parents make a really real difference in the lives of youth every day! They provide stability, model healthy family interactions and relationships, teach values, share their homes, lives, and can be a lifeline for a youth. When you become a Therapeutic Foster Parent, the youth placed with you will likely share your home and your life for a short time, between 3-9 months. However, during that time, you will have countless opportunities to nurture the youth’s growth and development in supportive, loving ways and positively shape that adolescent’s life forever. Many of our youth have been successfully reunited with family, some have enrolled in college, and a large percent obtain employment in the community and lead independent lives with the skills they have learned from foster parents while in our program. You can be part of a youth’s success story.

Of course, raising any adolsecent is not always easy, and youth in therapeutic foster homes come with their own life experiences. Child & Family Service provides the following benefits and services to foster parents:

The Impact of a Stable Home

  • Emotional Stability: A stable home environment provides emotional support and consistency, offering children and teenagers a safe space to express themselves and develop healthy coping mechanisms for any trauma or challenges they may have experienced.
  • Educational Success: With support provided by therapeutic foster parents in the TFH program, youth are better equipped to focus on their education. This often leads to improved school attendance, better academic performance, and increased motivation to pursue their educational goals.
  • Improved Social Skills: Through consistent interactions and guidance, youth learned social cues, conflict resolution strategies, and most importantly, how to form trusting connections. These social skills allow them to build meaningful relationships with their caregivers and peers.
  • Behavioral Development: In a structured and nurturing environment, youth can learn appropriate behavior and boundaries. Consistent guidance helps them develop self-efficacy, responsibility, and respect for others, which is essential for their overall growth and development.
  • Positive Life Outcomes: The impact of a stable home extends beyond the immediate future, providing youth with a strong foundation for their adult lives. By experiencing safety and connection during their formative years, they are more likely to develop resilience, self-esteem, and the skills necessary to thrive independently as they transition into adulthood.

Are You Interested in Becoming a Therapeutic Foster Parent?

Call (808) 323-2664 or email hawaiifosterparents@cfs-hawaii.org to learn how!


The Department of Health provides access to its programs and activities without regard to race, color, national origin/ancestry-including language, age, sex-including gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, color, religion, or disability.

Write or call the Hawaii State Department of Health, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division at 3627 Kilauea Avenue, Room 101 Honolulu, Hawaii 96816 or at (808) 733-9333. Or write or call the Affirmative Action Office at P.O. Box 3378, Honolulu, HI 96801-3378 or at (808) 586-4614 (voice/TRS) or 586-4648 (TDD) within 180 days of a problem.

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