Toowoomba foster care program a first for Queensland
TOOWOOMBA is one of the first sites in Queensland to trial an evidence-based foster care program through OzChild.
The program, titled Treatment Foster Care Oregon, provides intensive support to children aged 7-11 years who live in group homes staffed by volunteers.
Assistant director of services Ozchild Qld Estelle Paterson said 14 Toowoomba children would undertake the $2.7 million state government-funded trial across a two-year period.
"The goal of the program is to treat children exhibiting complex behaviours in residential care, helping them to live successfully in a birth or foster family," she said.
"We also work with families, up-skilling them with strategies they can use when the child is placed in their care."
Ms Paterson said several of the 150 children in south west residential care needed to develop their pro-social behaviours.
"Many of the children in the program come with trauma and how that manifests is through their behaviour. This can impact their ability to live positively within social settings.
"The program is rewards based and focuses on good behaviour."
Ms Paterson said they had accepted the first child into the trial in December.
"Our first young person will graduate next week and we're really excited about their future," she said.
"We've seen huge changes in his behaviour and emotions.
"We helped him feel like he was secure and could achieve - it's been a wonderful journey and now he will transition into a family."
The program was founded in America 30 years ago and has since been implemented in the UK and New Zealand.
"We would like to see this trial expand and become available to every child that needs it," Ms Paterson said.