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Cayuga Centers Celebrates 20 Years of Treatment Family Foster Care

A mix race couple and two children seating on a couch

20 years of a foster family

The agency reflects on a milestone as a national treatment foster care provider

All children are our future. All children matter and all have the potential to do great things with their lives.”
— Ann Sheedy, Cayuga Centers’ Chief Operating Officer
AUBURN, NEW YORK , KINGS, June 1, 2022 / -- Cayuga Centers proudly recognizes 20 years of continued success as a provider of treatment foster care through each of its Treatment Family Foster Care (TFFC) programs. Since its start in Auburn, NY, the agency has expanded across 26 counties in Upstate New York, in South Florida, and throughout New York City, Pennsylvania, and the State of Delaware. In collaboration with children, youth, families, foster parents and community stakeholders, Cayuga Centers has successfully established and serves more than 350 TFFC placements nationally.

TFFC is an evidence-informed, trauma-informed, and culturally-informed foster care model that provides bundled services and highly individualized treatment to youth with trauma experiences. In Cayuga Centers’ TFFC program, children are placed with highly trained, licensed, and supported foster parents while undergoing intensive individual and family therapy, with the goal of keeping the youth in the least restrictive setting while maintaining a safe environment for everyone.

When Cayuga Centers first started implementing TFFC as a program, the norm was that anti-social or delinquent youth were placed in residential settings.

Highly aware that congregate care is too often ineffective, the organization took a radical yet research-informed approach and formed its first TFFC program in Auburn NY as a solution to the negative effects of placing children in residential care⁠—Cayuga Centers insisted that troubled youth should instead be placed in a home and family setting. Though at first the program was mostly focused on behavioral issues, it quickly turned its focus to trauma, mental health treatments, attachment regulation and competence.

As one of the pioneers of TFFC, Cayuga Centers took a holistic approach to foster care and created an entire team that could support the physical, mental and emotional needs of a traumatized child. The team looked at trauma as a root cause for behavior and created a bundled approach that considered the medical and psychological treatment each child would need⁠—every specialist, from skills coaches to clinicians, considered a family’s history, the accumulative instances of trauma, and the child’s unique needs and experiences, and conjunctively created a treatment plan that worked specifically for each individual.

20 years later, the agency’s success in replicating TFFC across New York, Florida, and Delaware is in large part due to its unique, intensive matching process and focused tailoring of the program to meet the needs of each child and family.

Cayuga Centers works in partnership with community stakeholders such as community-based organizations, local governments, and fellow service providers to collaboratively meet unique needs and challenges. Cayuga Centers has distinguished itself by its support of the specific needs of not only each child, but birth families and foster families as well, in an effort to achieve placement stability and long-term goals related to safe reunification or independent adulthood.

Cayuga Centers’ Chief Operating Officer, Upstate New York Ann Sheedy mentions how all the team members surrounding a child employ a relentless search for strengths as a treatment strategy, and she recognizes the program as the cornerstone of not just the organization, but of child services. “All children are our future. All children matter and all have the potential to do great things with their lives. All children deserve nurturing, kind, safe adults who listen and support their growth every day. Cayuga Centers Treatment Family Foster Care programs work to support every child, every parent, every foster parent to succeed and thrive,” says Sheedy.

Each of Cayuga Centers TFFC programs provide a therapeutic, safe environment where youth have the maximum opportunity to reunify with their family, move to a lower level of care, or build the skills necessary to enter the community as productive and healthy adults. By involving families and youth in every aspect of planning and implementing treatment, goals are more realistic and achievable in a shorter amount of time, responsibility is shared, and change is sustainable, all while doing whatever it takes to guarantee the child’s safety with the least disruption possible.

Originally founded as an orphanage in 1852, Cayuga Centers has a long history of demonstrating adaptability and innovation. When new evidence highlighted the benefits of a foster care setting as compared to a congregate care setting, the agency further adapted and expanded its focus on effective foster care models, eventually moving away from congregate care. Cayuga Centers looks forward to celebrating 20 years of the program, the TFFC model and expanding its services to other cities throughout the country.

Zoe Hutchinson
Cayuga Centers
+1 646-740-1899
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