Therapeutic Visitation Services

When a child or youth is placed in Foster Care, the County makes every effort to assure that they will have immediate and ongoing contact with their family while placed out of the home. In most circumstances, the County focuses their efforts on Reunification as the primary permanency goal. Therapeutic Visitation Services provided by A Better Way help these families maintain contact, improve family relationships, and develop the insights, skills and supports that improve their chances of reunification.

The main goals of Therapeutic Visitation Services are:

To help children heal from any trauma they have experienced (e.g. from abuse, neglect or family separation);

To assure that children maintain safe contact with parents and siblings;

To promote improved child-caregiver relationships; and

To help parents
  • understand and address the safety concerns that led to the intervention of Child Welfare Services
  • and develop and demonstrate the protective capacities that help parents keep children safe

Although we do not provide recommendations to the court about dependency status or placement decisions, we help families understand the requirements of their County service plans, and we inform the County of the family’s progress so that they can make informed recommendations to the court. Therapeutic Visitation Services can be provided at the clinic, and (with County approval) in community based locations such as the family home.

Many parents participating in Therapeutic Visitation Services have never had access to positive parent role models or parent-training. We offer them highly effective, state-of-the-art parent training and we coach them as they practice new skills of attunement, nurturing and safe limit-setting. We create the supportive atmosphere that allows parents to offer their very best to their children.

As families progress, we work with the county to adjust the treatment setting toward an increasingly natural structure – always seeking to offer families the least restrictive setting necessary to assure safety. This also helps adjust and modulate the level of support parents receive – assuring that they always experience the “optimal challenge” that promotes the development of new knowledge and skills without overwhelming them.

If the court determines that reunification is not an option, we provide the support that helps children experience a healthy transition to their permanent placement.

A Collaboration with Foster Care Mental Health of San Francisco County