Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care Program (PR-TFC)

About This Program

Target Population: Youth who are 12-18 years old with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. These youth are in need of out-of-home placement and could not be adequately served in lower levels of care.

For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 12 – 18

Program Overview

The PR-TFC program is a program designed to provide intensive, effective, and short-term treatment to youth with emotional and behavior problems in a home environment with the foster parent as the primary agent of change. The model uses treatment foster parents who are given advanced clinical and technical training and support in order to best serve the youth placed in their home. Within the family setting, the treatment approach used by the program is behavioral, based upon measurable treatment goals which are monitored frequently. Treatment is guided by a treatment plan implemented by the treatment parents and consists of a set of specific goals which are tailored to each individual youth's needs and problems. Three basic tenets underlie the PR-TFC model: 1) youth's troubled behavior can change, 2) foster parents can learn to change youth's behavior, and 3) treatment is teaching skills for effective living.

Program Goals

The goals of Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care Program (PR-TFC) are to:

  • Assist the youth to obtain permanency primarily by returning the youth to his/her family of origin.
  • Assist the youth in developing effective skills for living (communication, conflict resolution, coping skills, peer relationships, etc.).
  • Assist the youth in managing his/her life in the present and future (preparing for independent living, managing daily stressors, etc.).
  • Assist the youth in making positive changes towards his/her targeted goals.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care Program (PR-TFC).

Essential Components

The main components of Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care Program (PR-TFC) are:

  • An ecological psychosocial assessment and treatment planning that establishes goals with the youth and family is provided.
  • Service is provided from an eco-systemic perspective and addresses youth's functioning in all domains.
  • Service provision is action-oriented with treatment foster parents using "teaching" with youth to assist them in replacing negative behavior patterns with more adaptive behaviors.
  • Attention is given to the therapeutic alliance between treatment foster parents and the youth.
  • The program uses structured and agenda-directed sessions to monitor progress on established goals.
  • Treatment parents use the Log of Daily Events (LODEs) to report on youth's progress and staff reviews with treatment parents on a regular basis.
  • A behavior management system is established for each youth and involves a daily point system.
  • Progress on achieving permanency is evaluated and strategies developed as needed.
  • The program is trauma-focused with each youth being screened for trauma symptoms and provided with Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), as appropriate.
  • Treatment foster parents are provided with support and access to on-call staff 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
  • Program Delivery

    Child/Adolescent Services

    Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care Program (PR-TFC) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

    • Disruptive behavior, verbal and physical aggression, opposition and defiance, substance abuse, property destruction, autism, and mood or anxiety disorders.

    Parent/Caregiver Services

    Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care Program (PR-TFC) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

    • Parent of a child in foster care with disruptive behavior, verbal and physical aggression, opposition and defiance, substance abuse, property destruction, autism, and mood or anxiety disorders
    Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

    This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: The PR-TFC program involves the family or other identified support resources of the youth during the youth's placement in care. PR-TFC involves the bio-family as part of treatment team and encourages their participation while the youth is in the program.

    Recommended Intensity:

    The program is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the home of a certified and trained treatment foster family. Individual therapy is provided at least one hour per week to the youth in care. The Treatment Coordinator has weekly contact with the youth and treatment foster parent which is usually for one hour. Ideally, weekly contact is also made with the biological family.

    Recommended Duration:

    The length of stay in the treatment foster care home is approximately 12 months.

    Delivery Settings

    This program is typically conducted in a(n):

    • Birth Family Home
    • Foster / Kinship Care
    • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
    • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


    This program does not include a homework component.

    Resources Needed to Run Program

    The typical resources for implementing the program are:

    Treatment foster parents do not need any resources aside from training. Staff in the program does need access to a computer and the Internet.

    Manuals and Training

    Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

    The PR-TFC model supports a staff intensive program structure.

    Treatment Foster Parent – No formal education is required for treatment foster parents. However, they must complete 42 hours of pre-service training. In addition, based on the importance of a therapeutic alliance between the youth and the treatment parent, treatment parents need to have attributes of: flexibility, warmth, tranquility, and emotional stability.

    Treatment Coordinator - Bachelor's degree in a human service field.

    Therapist - A licensed therapist provides the ongoing counseling services for each youth.

    Clinical Supervisor - The team is supervised by a licensed and credentialed at the Master's level in Social Work or Counseling.

    Recruitment and Certification Specialist - Bachelor's degree in Social Work who is responsible for recruiting and licensing of treatment parents and completes a home study assessment on all treatment foster parents.

    Program Director – Master's degree in a clinical field and managerial skills set.

    Manual Information

    There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

    Training Information

    There is training available for this program.

    Training Contact:
    Training Type/Location:

    Trainer Certification is obtained by attending any of the scheduled trainings at one of Pressley Ridge offices (usually in Pittsburgh, PA, or Baltimore, MD), or arrange for an on-site training.

    Number of days/hours:

    4 full days of training for trainers (Trainer Certification)

    Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

    Bishop-Fitzpatrick, L., Jung, N., Nam, I., Trunzo, A. C., & Rauktis, M. E. (2014). Outcomes of an agency-developed treatment foster care model for adolescents. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Advance online publication. doi: 1063426614530470

    Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest study
    Number of Participants: 612


    • Age — Mean=15.41 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — 45.6% European American, 43.6% African American, 2% Hispanic, 0.7% American Indian, and 8.2% Multi-racial
    • Gender — 53.6% Female
    • Status — Participants were youth discharged from Pressley-Ridge Treatment Foster Care programs over a 3-year period from July 2008 to June 2011.

    Location/Institution: 16 Pressley-Ridge Treatment Foster Care programs in Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, & District of Columbia

    Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
    This study examined outcomes for the Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care Program (PR-TFC) using de-identified administrative data from youth discharged from care over a 3-year period using a structural equation modeling path analysis. Measures utilized include the Restrictiveness of Living Environments Scale (ROLES) and the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS). Results indicate that youth enrolled in PR-TFC improve in functioning from entry to discharge and that, overall, youth in PR-TFC treatment typically improve in day-to-day functioning as they age, and youth who enter the PR-TFC homes at an older age generally function better at discharge than younger youth who stayed comparable amounts of time. Results also indicate that the effect of age at time of entry on day-to-day functioning at discharge is mediated by days spent in treatment foster care. Limitations include non-randomization of participants, lack of control group, possible reporter bias, and missing data.

    Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

    Additional References

    Hawkins, R. P., Meadowcroft, P., Trout, B. A., & Luster, W. C. (1985). Foster Family-based Treatment, Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 14(3), 220-229.

    Meadowcroft, P., & Trout, B. A. (Ed.). (1990). Troubled youth in treatment homes: A handbook of therapeutic foster care. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America.

    Trunzo, A. C., Fitzpatrick-Bishop, L., Strickler, A., & Doncaster, J. (2012). Pressley Ridge Treatment Foster Care: The model of care thirty years later. Reclaiming Youth, Reclaiming Children and Youth, 21(2), 22-26.

    Contact Information

    Amy Strickler, PhD
    Title: Interim Director
    Agency/Affiliation: Pressley Ridge
    Phone: (412) 266-4681

    Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2014

    Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: July 2020

    Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: November 2013