Teaching-family model

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The Teaching-Family Model (TFM) is a model of care for at-risk, under-served and challenging populations ages birth to eldercare. The Teaching-Family Model is implemented internationally in foster homes, treatment centers, schools, intensive home-based treatment, residential and family homes, psychiatric hospitals, assessment centers and other youth and dependent adult care programs. The Teaching-Family Model was developed in the late 1960's through research at the University of Kansas. Researchers included Montrose Wolf (the inventor of time-out as a learning tool to shape behavior) and Gary Timbers. TFM has been replicated over 1,000 times, although not all of the replications have proven effective and successful.[1] Successful and effective replication is dependent upon agencies and programs working with qualified developers and building sustainable capacities to implement standards and systems to ensure and manage fidelity.


This model of care is based on an "organized approach to providing trauma-informed, evidence-based humane, effective, and individualized services that are satisfactory to clients and consumers.[2] It is cost effective and replicable." The focus using scientifically proven methods of behaviorism known as applied behavior analysis and sometimes known as behavior modification to teach and reinforce pro-social skills and allow the individual to maintain or advance in his or her environment.

Many programs across the U.S. use this model of care, including Certified sites such as Garfield Park Academy, Thornwell, Kenosha Human Development Services, Inc., Methodist Home for Children, Children's Hope Alliance, Methodist Family Health, Tennessee Family Solutions, St. Aloysius, Teaching-Family Homes of Upper Michigan, Northern Family Intervention Services, Adriel, Hope Center for Children, Boys Town, The Children's Home of CincinnatiVirginia Home for Boys and Girls, Closer To Home Calgary, Alberta, Canada, The Indiana United Methodist Children's Home, and Utah Youth Village, Additional international organizations include Youth Horizons in New Zealand, Berry Street in Australia, and Eagles' Wings in Albania. Sites are either Accredited Agencies, Developing Agencies, or Supportive Teaching-Family Association member agencies.

The Teaching-Family Association (TFA) is an international organization founded in 1975 to promote exceptional standards in the areas of providing care, services and treatment for clients and families, and outstanding support, training and development for staff persons working with clients. More information can be found on their website at teaching-family.org.


Many years of research exist on the Teaching-Family Model.[3] In general, research supports the use of Teaching-Family Homes to reducing recidivism while in program and some suggestion that it reduces post-programming.[4] The Teaching-Family Model has been suggested as a model program for residential treatment facility.[5] Furthermore, TFM produces exceptional outcomes in the areas of day treatment, intensive in-home services, foster care for all ages, assessment and emergency care and shelters, psychiatric hospital settings, independent and transitional living, and others. The quality of care and standards associated with the Teaching-Family Model bring consistency and integrity to the work agencies perform.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fixsen, D.L.; Blasé, K.; Timbers, G.D. & Wolf, M.M. (2007). In Search of Program Implementation: 792 Replications of the Teaching-Family Model. The Behavior Analyst Today, 8(1), 96–114 BAO
  2. ^ Bernfeld, G.A.; Blase, K.A. & Fixsen, D.L. (2006). Towards a Unified Perspective on Human Service Delivery Systems: Application of the Teaching-Family Model. The Behavior Analyst Today, 7(2), 168–74 BAO
  3. ^ See review by Kingsley, D.; Ringle, J.L.; Thompson, R.W.; Chmelka, B. & Ingram, S. (2008). Cox Proportional Hazards Regression Analysis as a Modeling Technique for Informing Program Improvement: Predicting Recidivism in a Boys Town Five-Year Follow-up Study. Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim: Treatment and Prevention, 1(1), 82–97 BAO
  4. ^ Kingsley, D. (2006). The Teaching-Family Model and Post-Treatment Recidivism: A Critical Review of the Conventional Wisdom. International Journal of Behavioral and Consultation Therapy, 2, 481–96. BAO
  5. ^ Underwood, L.E.; Tallbott, L.B.; Mosholder, E. & von Dresen, K. (2008). Methodological concerns of residential treatment facilities and recidivism for juvenile offenders with disruptive behavior disorders. The Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim: Treatment and Prevention, 1(2), 214–28. BAO