If you have looked into fostering at all, you have may have heard the term ISFC, or “intensive services foster care.” So, what exactly does that mean?

Intensive services foster care is a level of care. Foster youth who are considered ISFC have a higher level of need and therefore need to be placed with resource parents who have been trained specifically to meet those needs.

What are some examples of this “higher level of need”?

  • Behavioral needs. Examples include severe mental illness, violent behavior, or self harm.
  • Special health care needs (SHCN). Examples include cerebral palsy, enteral feeding tube, or childhood cancer.

When talking about ISFC it is always important to come back to the “why” behind some of the more severe behavioral needs. We must take into account the severity of trauma a foster youth has experienced in order to more adequately understand where these behaviors stem from. In fact, understanding trauma on a deeper level is essential for all foster parents, not just those who plan to take in an ISFC placement.

What is the benefit of training parents to care for the specialized needs of children/youth referred to our ISFC program?

If at all possible, our goal is to keep children in a home-based, family setting; training resource parents to care for ISFC children/youth allows them to avoid being placed in a facility such as a group home, short-term residential treatment program (STRTP), or out-of-state residential center. 

The added benefit of training parents for ISFC is they are generally more equipped to care for individuals who have special behavioral or health care needs in all facets of their life. The knowledge, skills, and strategies they learn while going through ISFC training can be applied to a myriad of situations.

What type of support do ISFC resource parents receive? 

At Koinonia, we offer 24/7 on-call support to ALL of our resource parents, as well as extensive training that prepares them for the many highs and lows they will face on their journey.

In addition to our standard support and training, ISFC resource parents will receive supplemental visits and services from social workers and paraprofessionals who specialize in ISFC. We require ISFC parents to go through more extensive training than our other resource parents in order to address the behavioral/medical needs of ISFC placements.

To provide the best care, Koinonia’s resource parents are restricted to having no more than two ISFC placements at one time (there are rare exceptions to this).


Koinonia is committed to providing the highest quality programs and services to the children, youth and families we serve. Although our services may be the vehicle through which we serve our community, we know hope and healing starts with meaningful relationships. As we train our resource parents, our goal is not only to prepare them for the journey ahead, but also develop a relationship and establish a strong support system.

If you are interested in learning more about ISFC or want to explore the possibility of foster care/adoption, please give us a call at 877-244-5374, or fill out an online inquiry here.