Uplift Family Services is excited to announce the opening of its second on-campus professional parent cottage! This second home, like the first, is on our Los Gatos campus, serving teens in Santa Clara County, and a certified professional parent and teen have already moved in.
What is a Professional Parent?
Before we dive into the exciting news about the professional parent cottage, here is a quick introduction to what a professional parent is, or a refresher for those already familiar.
A professional parent is a type of resource parent who offers support to children and teens during times of transition in their lives. Professional parents provide the bridge to permanent placement for children and teens who may be struggling in certain areas while delivering direct, specialized services that have been individualized for each child. Professional parents help higher acuity children with higher behavioral health needs than the average child in foster care.
Also read: Professional Parent Spotlight: Grace Towns
What are the Benefits of a Professional Parent Cottage?
From Congregate Care to Individualized Care
Uplift Family Services is making a concerted effort to move away from congregate care style foster care, which is expensive and has unreliable outcomes. The model of placing children and teens in a family home has proven to be successful both nationally and in California. By opening a home on our campus, Uplift Family Services can take some of the burden off the professional parent who might otherwise not have the space to host a child or the resources and support that come with being next door to our offices.
Congregate care settings often place multiple children who have been impacted by trauma together with fewer resources and providers per child. Professional parenting, on the other hand, allows for individualized, one-to-one care with a trained caregiver with a max of two children in the home. Not only does the professional parenting help the child or teen flourish by directly addressing their complex needs, but it limits the opportunity for them to be negatively influenced by the behavior of their peers.
No matter which type of foster care program a child or teen needs for success, Uplift Family Services will always attempt to place them in a home-like setting to ensure the highest care and best chance for success.
Professional Parents in the On-Campus Cottage
One of the biggest barriers to supporting high risk teens is the cost of living. Opening an on-campus home provides the professional parent with free housing and utilities in a fully furnished home. The professional parent receives a monthly stipend, removing the need for a full-time job. This means the professional parent can focus on providing full-time care to the teen.
Other benefits of living on campus include quicker access to Uplift Family Services’ support structure, a dedicated Los Gatos Police Department liaison, housing stability and a landlord who will always be open to supporting high-risk teenagers, and a location slightly displaced from downtown, removing some of the temptations with which teenagers occasionally struggle. On top of that, there is direct access to hiking trails, a recreation room, a gymnasium, and a playground on the expansive campus grounds.
Opening a Second Professional Parent Cottage
This professional parent cottage will be the second on the Los Gatos campus, after the first was opened in October 2019. The additional cottage further positions Uplift Family Services as a leading provider of individual, home-like settings for children and teens in Santa Clara County foster care. This means more teenagers will have the opportunity to stabilize with a dedicated caregiver and a supportive team.
The process for finding a professional parent for the cottage started like it would for any other professional parent. It began with the resource family approval process, plus the additional training that is required of professional parents. Next, the Foster Care, Parent Support Services, and Wraparound teams interviewed parents who indicated they would be open to living in the cottage, and determined whether the 60-day (Placement Support Services) or six-month (Wraparound) model would be a better fit for the professional parent. Finally, a candidate was selected and moved in earlier this fall.
None of this would have been possible without the dedicated staff working behind the scenes to open the new professional parent cottage. Thank you to our Board, Physical Plant Operations team, the Champions Workgroup, Foster Care and Adoptions team, Wraparound Program, Placement Support Services, Los Gatos and Santa Clara County community, our auxiliary volunteers, our donors, the professional parent taking on this new opportunity, and so many others.
The Future of Professional Parenting at Uplift Family Services
Uplift Family Services is fully invested in developing alternatives to congregate care and will continue to explore similar models to professional parenting that can benefit sibling sets to make sure biological siblings are not separated. Uplift Family Services is also exploring models that might allow families who need additional support or structure to move onto campus with a professional parent for targeted, full-time support and coaching.
Would you like to learn more about professional parenting in Santa Clara County? You can start an application on our online portal and a resource family recruiter will reach out to answer any questions you have. You can also read more about the process from one of our newly minted professional parents, Lupe Chapa-Green.