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In the fall of 2013 Key Assets recruited its first Community Foster Carer. She began training and pre-placement visits in the late fall and early winter with a 12 year old boy. He was non-verbal and needed assistance with completing most of his activities of daily living. Weekly, the Carer began visitation at a psychiatric hospital to work with this young man who had been diagnosed with autism and reportedly had an IQ of 46. He had been involved with the Child Welfare system for almost 2 years with seven foster home placements and locked in an Acute Psychiatric Care unit for over a year. During her visits the Carer began to work with the young man on various activities, eventually she went with him on excursions out of the hospital and finally had a day long home visit. This transition process lasted about 10 weeks. He began to look forward to her arrival and even showed signs of stress or sadness at her departure. On January 17, 2014 this young man moved into her home and began his entry back into the community. His first love was riding the bus to public school. Since his placement in the community, he no longer needs diapers; he has greatly reduced self-harming, is learning to live in a public world, saying new words, had a summer job of feeding a neighbor’s cat and threw out the first pitch at a semi-professional baseball game. It is important to note that this young man was considered by the system to need a lifetime of institutional care.
At this time, Key Assets Kentucky does not have a Therapeutic Foster Care Program. The children and young people who have been placed in our care have been most successful in a specialized group home setting, therefore, we have focused our efforts on growing this program model to meet the increasing need for community options for children and youth in foster care who have not only experienced trauma but have co-occurring diagnoses.