ISFC: Intensive Services Foster Care - Special Health

Providing full team services for special needs foster youth.

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What is Intensive Services Foster Care (ISFC)?

Intensive Services Foster Care (ISFC) is a specialized program designed to meet the unique needs of children and youth who require more individualized and intensive care than what traditional foster care offers. This program is tailored for young individuals, who may have significant emotional, behavioral, or health challenges. ISFC centers on providing a nurturing and supportive family environment, coupled with comprehensive services and treatments, to ensure the holistic well-being and development of each child. By emphasizing a team-based approach, ISFC brings together dedicated foster parents, skilled professionals, and tailored resources to create a stable and healing environment, fostering resilience and positive growth in young lives.

Penny Lane Centers’ Intensive Services Foster Care Program - Special Health Program (ISFC SHCN)

Our Intensive Services Foster Care Program based in Los Angeles - California, focuses on children or youth, ages 0-21 that have special health related needs. The illnesses are of a nature that without trained care, could lead to serious injury or death (diabetes, asthma, seizure disorders as an example). Children receiving these services while placed in foster care, are referred by Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and screened to match them with a qualified caring resource parent(s).

Intensive Services Foster Care Training

In the Intensive Services Foster Care application process, parents are provided the initial training to become a resource parent. Applicants are also provided additional training that pertains to the specific child’s health. With every child placed in this ISFC program, Penny Lane provides a social worker, therapist as needed, and nursing staff to provide oversight and support to the child/youth and the resource parent(s). The nursing staff provides training for the resource parent and the child/youth specific to the child’s health diagnosis and communicates with the assigned Physician and Specialist to ensure that the nursing care plan addresses what is prescribed. The social worker assigned to the ISFC family is also trained in the specific health needs of each child/youth on their caseload. They do weekly visits to the home to provide full support to the resource parent while also making sure the needs of the child/youth are being met. Nursing staff meet weekly with each resource parent and child/youth and are available 24 hours a day. The training is extensive and must be completed prior to placing a child with special health needs in the home. A family will complete the initial 40 hours of training and then 16 hours of training that addresses the types of special health needs.

Support for ISFC Resource Parents

Resource parents receive on-going specialized training specific to the needs of the child/youth in their home. ISFC parents meet weekly for support and receive a significantly higher stipend than regular foster parents.

Ways to Support Our ISFC Program

Even if you do not know anyone in ISFC but would still like to support the program, there are ways to help! Consider making a donation to Penny Lane, that helps meet the ever expanding continuum of care. You may also consider volunteering for Penny Lane to help make a difference.


Sign up to learn more about the opportunity to foster or adopt a child.

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General Inquiries
Charito Guerrero
Senior Director of In Home Services
General Inquiries
Edgar Cobos
ISFC Family Specialist

 Frequently Asked Questions

How does Penny Lane Centers match children with ISFC foster parents?

We send our available families list and when there is a child or youth that may be a good fit, we attend a meeting so that we can learn more about that child or youth. If we agree it’s a good match, we present that information to the caregiver and let them decide if they want to move forward with a potential match. If they do, we have another meeting to discuss any additional concerns and whenever possible, we try to advocate for a pre placement visit. The pre placement visits give the child, youth, and caregiver an opportunity to get to know one another by meeting before any potential moves. This helps reduce disruption of the match. IF all goes well, we move forward and the child or youth moves in with our families and begins receiving iSFC services and supports.

What are the main responsibilities of an ISFC foster parent?

All caregivers are required to care for the children 24/7, as if they were their own. They become a part of our “treatment” team and their participation is crucial. Our teams are available to provide any kind of support needed and we expect our caregivers to contact us if there are any issues or concerns. We expect them to support the needs of the child or youth, advocate for what they think is in the best interest of the child, communicate any areas for growth, and continue to be open to ongoing learning by participating in training and our caregiver support group. In order for both the families and child or youth to be successful, there needs to be full and open communication and we expect our caregivers to feel comfortable calling and letting us know what may be going on so we can support them.

Can I become an ISFC foster parent if I already have children?

If there are already children in your care, we would have to do an assessment to determine if ISFC is a good fit. Given the high level of needs of our ISFC children and youth, we try to limit the number of children in the home to only one. However, exceptions have been made but are not guaranteed. Ultimately we want to ensure that the setting is appropriate for the child, youth, and family and that everyone is set up to succeed under the current circumstances.

How long does a child typically stay in an ISFC home?

A child or youth can typically be involved in ISFC anywhere from a few months to over a year, it all depends on the needs of the child and how much support is needed to help them stabilize, have their needs met, and be able to function without the support of a team. For example, if we are helping an older youth prepare for a transition to college or living on their own, that can take some time. The great thing about ISFC is that we meet the needs of the child or youth and there’s no one way to do that. We meet every child or youth “where they are,” and go from there.