The Buckner Therapeutic Foster Care Program serves the most vulnerable children in the foster care system. While all children in foster care are traumatized and vulnerable, those needing therapeutic care are the most vulnerable of all. These children, like all children, need a safe nurturing home where they can be empowered to reach their full potential.

Children in the therapeutic foster care program have moderate to significant social, emotional, behavioral or unmet physical needs requiring the extra care and attention of a skilled caregiver. These children need foster parents who believe caring for the most vulnerable children in foster care is their mission. They need passionate caregivers who can provide a healthy balance of structure and nurturance.

Therapeutic foster parents help children blossom

raymonds--therapeutic-foster-care.jpgPaula and Lance Raymond are the only couple in their Sunday school class who are not empty nesters. Though they are both in their 60s, the Raymonds’ home is often full of childish voices and little footsteps echoing through the halls.

Paula and Lance have been foster parents for over 17 years.

“I think what keeps us doing it is the same reason we went into it,” Paula said. “We really saw a need and we could fill that need. We felt like we could do a good job of filling that need.”

One of their favorite things has been seeing how their foster children respond and relate with their son Eric. Eric has Down syndrome and while some of the children are a little leery of him at first, Eric’s smiles and bright personality often helps the children settle in sooner and feel secure.

Eric also inspired Lance and Paula to begin therapeutic foster care. They saw a need they were qualified to meet so they stepped up to help care for some of the most vulnerable children in foster care.

“My favorite thing is seeing them change,” Paula said. “We have had some that we have not seen change, but for the majority, once they feel secure and safe and know they are going to be OK, they just blossom.”

Read more about the Raymonds and how they are caring for children in foster care.

How can Buckner support you and your family as you care for the therapeutic child?
At Buckner, we desire to walk alongside you as you care for children from hard places. In addition to our passionate team and helpful training opportunities, we have the unique ability to offer extra support to families through our extensive volunteer and church networks.

At Buckner, we have a wraparound service approach for families:

Click on the image to make larger.


What is a therapeutic child?

The therapeutic foster child has additional social, emotional, behavioral and/or physical needs requiring a healthy balance of structure and nurturing with a deep commitment from caring foster parents.

Why is there a need for therapeutic foster parents?

We believe every child deserves the love and security of a family. Currently, there is a shortage of foster homes to care for children with therapeutic needs. Unfortunately, many child-placing agencies have not had the resources to prepare, train and support foster parents as they care for children with therapeutic needs. Buckner has recently developed a therapeutic model for preparing, training and fully supporting foster parents as they care for these children.

How is a foster parent different from a therapeutic foster parent?

These children are very similar to other children in the foster care program, but they may have experienced more trauma with prolonged exposure to abuse and/or neglect, multiple placement moves, a lack of connections, other therapeutic or physical needs that have not been fully treated.

What are some essential things a therapeutic foster parent needs?

Passion, drive, support and flexibility! We pray each of the families who desire to care for therapeutic children believe it is their ministry to serve the most desperate children in foster care. As parents, we all need support, but caring for children with additional needs will necessitate a deeper support system with family, friends and faith community. Therapeutic foster families will also need flexibility with their parenting style, structure and job.

I am a current foster parent, but I would like to begin taking therapeutic children. What steps do I need to take to do this?

We would be honored for you to take this step, and we will walk alongside you through this journey. We require each of our families to have basic, pre-service training rooted in trauma-informed care so we can build new skills along with your current skills. Please contact us today so we can discuss this process with you!


If you live in the Dallas area and are interested in becoming a therapeutic foster parent, please contact Andi Harrison, Foster Care and Adoption Program Director, at aharrison@buckner.org or 214-319-3457.

E-Newsletter Signup

Get uplifting stories of how Buckner is shining hope in the U.S. and around the world!