Foster Care Overview

Each year, Howard Center provides therapeutic foster care for children with significant mental health needs. At any time, there are about 60 children in Vermont waiting to receive foster care.

What is therapeutic foster care?
Therapeutic foster care is a planned and time-limited supported living arrangement for children who need additional support and care outside of the home environment. Foster parents can make a significant impact on a child’s well-being by helping children form connections with caring individuals and forging positive relationships and healthy relationship-building skills. 

There are many reasons why a child may benefit from foster care:

  • Some children need a temporary home while they work towards becoming reunited with their families.
  • Some children are looking for adoptive families. 
  • Many children are able to live successfully with their families as long as they are able to have planned breaks with foster parents. 
  • Sometimes older youth are ready to live on their own, but they benefit from having a foster parent who can mentor them as they transition to living more independently. 

Regardless of the specific situation, children in foster care need a safe and stable home where they can learn and develop skills that will help them be successful in their daily lives.

Do I need any special credentials to be a foster parent?
Therapeutic foster parents are not expected to be therapists or counselors, but they are expected to provide care that recognizes a child’s mental health needs and promotes positive growth. Children often receive additional services (case management, various therapies, medication checks, educational coordination and on-going crisis support) while in foster care.

Foster parents provide a sense of belonging, acceptance, and love. They play a key role throughout the process of helping children successfully transition to a new placement or return to their families, as well as determining if permanent placement in their home is appropriate. 

What are the Responsibilities of a Foster Parent?

  • Ensure the child’s basic needs are met including safety, food, clothing, and shelter.
  • Care for, protect, nurture, and guide the child in your home.
  • Collaborate with the child’s treatment team to support the child’s growth toward goals in his or her Individual Plan of Care.
  • Share and receive feedback from other treatment team members.
  • Attend trainings for continued development of parenting skills
  • Meet developmental and emotional needs of the foster children in your home.
  • Advocate on behalf of the child.
  • Provide transportation of the child.
  • Collaborate with child’s biological family if supported by his or her team.
  • Offer recreational opportunities and teach life skills.


The rewards of foster parenting far out way the challenges it can present. Foster parents have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of children.  By doing so, foster parents enrich their own lives as well.  Therapeutic foster parents are contracted employees of Howard Center and are available to provide placement and parenting for children. 

To learn more call:
Kristen Rajewski, Operations Coordinator

To apply send application to:

Howard Center
Attn: Kristen Rajewski
1138 Pine St.
Burlington, VT 05401