5712 Iroquois Avenue, Harborcreek, PA 16421
P: (814) 899-7664   ·   F: (814) 899-3075

Therapeutic Foster Care Program (CRR Host Home)

Harborcreek Youth Services' Community Residential Rehabilitation Host Home Therapeutic Program, better known as Therapeutic Foster Care, provides children with individualized mental health care in a Foster family setting. Therapeutic Foster Care is an excellent alternative to placement in a residential treatment facility, and is also useful as a step-down intervention to ease a child's re-entry into the community.

Admissions, provision of services, and client referrals are made without regard to race, color, religious creed, disability, ancestry, national origin (including limited English proficiency), age, or sex.

What is a Therapeutic Foster Parent? Program Overview

Harborcreek Youth Services is currently seeking Therapeutic Foster Parents for our CRR Host Home Therapeutic Program. Children are placed individually in a family setting for six to nine months. What makes our program a “treatment program” is a collaborative team approach involving treatment Foster Parents, biological parents, therapists, and the child. All these people work together to ensure that the child’s emotional, behavioral, and educational needs are addressed and all identified problems are resolved as much as possible.

Our Therapeutic Foster Care Program serves children who are delinquent or truant and often are involved with the Erie County Office of Juvenile Probation. The child’s history is always shared with treatment Foster Parents prior to placement. Therapeutic Foster Parents are always free to refuse to accept a child for placement without jeopardizing their status with our agency.


Basic Requirements

Therapeutic Foster Parents must meet certain requirements that are mandated by state law. Among these requirements are the following:

  • Therapeutic Foster Parents must be at least 21 years old
  • Therapeutic Foster Parents must be physically able to care for a child and must be free of communicable disease
  • Therapeutic Foster Parents must provide references, employment history, evidence of financial stability, and other types of background information
  • Therapeutic Foster Parents and others over the age of 14 who are living in the home must obtain proof that they have no history of physically or sexually abusing children and have no convictions for committing certain crimes within a specified period of time.

In addition, prospective Foster Homes must meet certain minimum requirements, including the following:

  • At least one functioning flush toilet, one wash basin, and one bath and/or shower with hot and cold running water
  • An operable telephone
  • An operable heating system.

The most important requirement of all is that prospective Therapeutic Foster Parents have a genuine love for children and a strong commitment to helping them succeed. We'll be there every step of the way to help you with the rest!  Get started today by printing out the:

Therapeutic Foster Parent Application!  

Completed applications can be mailed to:

Tiahana Martinez, Program Director
Harborcreek Youth Services
5712 Iroquois Avenue
Harborcreek, PA  16421

Support Services

Harborcreek Youth Services’ Therapeutic Foster Parents are given ongoing supervision, support, and respite care, as well as a monthly stipend. Emergency assistance is available at all times. In addition, all treatment Foster Parents are provided with free trainingTherapeutic Foster Parents will have all the tools they need prior to initial placement to ensure that the child’s stay is a beneficial experience for everyone.

For more information about program requirements, please call 814-899-7664, extension 333 or 814-636-9203.

Every child deserves a chance, and Therapeutic Foster Parenting is a great way to offer a child a new and better life. Make a positive impact on the life of a child in need of stability, guidance, and love. We look forward to talking with you and welcoming you to our team!

Frequently Asked Questions

Foster Care - Harborcreek Youth Services

Who would be joining my home?
Children and youth from Erie County who have a mental health diagnosis and behavioral concerns would be joining your home. These are boys and girls ages 5-18 years old.

What is Therapeutic Foster Care?
Therapeutic Foster Care is a higher level of foster care and treatment for the children of Erie County. The Therapeutic Foster Parents are referred to as Host Home parents. They receive extensive training to help children with special needs cope. Each child also receives in-home individual and family therapy by a Masters Level Clinician.

How old are the children?
They are between the ages of 5 and 18 years old.

Can I adopt the child in my home?
If the child is approved for adoption, we will help you connect with the agency that is representing the child to explore the possibility of adoption.

How long is this commitment?
Typically, the child/youth is in your home for 6-9 months. However, it could be longer depending on the individual child’s circumstances.

How will HYS help/support me?
HYS will provide you with 24 hours of initial training and an additional 24 hours per year for ongoing training. We also provide 24/7 support to you and the child joining your home.

I'm single. Do I qualify?
Single parents are welcome to apply.

I've heard HYS is affiliated with Catholic Charities, but I'm not Catholic. Can I be a Therapeutic Foster Parent?
Yes, you are able to participate in the program no matter what your religious background. We welcome anyone who is willing to open their heart and home!

What do I need to be approved?
You need to complete an application, have a home study completed and pass a home inspection. This information is shared with a review committee who would approve or deny you.

I've heard that HYS is just "bad kids" - will I be living with a criminal?!
HYS supports children who have been traumatized and have a higher level of behavioral health needs. The children in the Host Home Program are typically adjudicated dependent or delinquent and may have a criminal history.

I work - what kind of schedule do I need to have to do this?
Since there are important appointments for the child such as meetings with their therapist, a psychiatrist and teachers, you may need flexibility in your schedule in order to meet these necessary requirements. If you work full-time and have the ability to flex your schedule then please feel free to apply.

I have other children - is this a good idea for me?
Please be mindful that Host Home children have been through trauma. Children who have been traumatized may have temper tantrums and other behavioral issues. If your own children can cope with behaviors displayed by another child and are willing to play and socialize with a Host child, then please apply. If you think your own children are unable to cope with issues from another child, then it may be best not to apply.

I live in a trailer/apartment/etc. - is that ok?
Living in an apartment or trailer is ok. Your home must pass a home inspection and you must carry renter’s insurance.

How many hours of training do I need?
You are required by the state to receive 24 hours of pre-service training. If you do not have any foster care experience, then you will be required to complete the “Parents As Tender Healers” training prior to completing our Host Home Program pre-service training.

Is this a paid position?
No, this is not a paid position and you are not an employee of Harborcreek Youth Services. You will receive a $65 daily stipend for each overnight stay of a Host child in your home.

What if it doesn't work out?
If it doesn’t work out, we will continue to train and support you in order for you to provide respite or become a temporary Host Home for another child.

I have a sister/friend/aunt/etc. who would be perfect for this. What should I do?
You may tell them to contact Program Director Tiahana Martinez at 814-899-7664 ext. 333 or our Community Programs line at 814-434-4691 to inquire about being a Therapeutic Foster Parent.

Can I pick the child I want?
You can state a preference such as a boy or girl or an age range. However, the role of the Host Home Coordinator is to make the match between the child and their strengths and needs and a Therapeutic Foster Parent. You will have the option to accept or decline having the child join your home. Our goal is to make a great match between Therapeutic Foster Parents and Host Home kids so both of you can succeed!

How many Host Home Children can be placed in my home?
Just one at a time. Our Host Home children are boys and girls between the ages of five and eighteen. They have complex needs and mental illnesses ranging from anxiety and depression to ADHD to Reactive Attachment Disorder. Because of this and other regulations, you can only care for one Host Home child at a time.

Will the Host Home child's family be involved?
Yes, the child’s natural or adoptive parents or another discharge resource may be involved in treatment. The child may also have supervised visits with siblings.

Can I afford to do this?
All potential Therapeutic Foster Parents must have a primary source of income other than the stipend they receive from being a Therapeutic Foster Parent.

What if they get sick?
Depending on the illness, you would take them to their Primary Care Physician or the ER and continue to provide care to them as if they were your own child.

Can I take them to church/religious services with me?
Yes, you may if the child is in agreement.

Can I take them on vacation?
Yes, you may take them on vacation. 

I want to help, but I can't take care of a Foster child. What can I do?
You can be a respite provider who can care for a child one to eight days a month. No matter what role you choose, you can always help us by passing along our information to friends and family who may be interested in becoming Host Home Parents.