The History of TFCO


What is TFCO?


History of TFCO

girl smilingThe TFCO program model is rooted in studies conducted in the 1960s and 1970s by Gerald Patterson and John Reid at the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC).  Social learning theory and its principles form the basis for the TFCO model. Numerous research studies have been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) at OSLC and elsewhere to identify key predictors of child and adolescent conduct problems, antisocial behavior, and mental health problems. More than 20 years of research in these areas led to the development of the TFCO model.

The TFCO model was established by Patricia Chamberlain and colleagues in 1983; it focused on treating serious and chronic juvenile offenders. This program continues to operate today and is funded by the Oregon Youth Authority and the Lane County Department of Youth Services. In 1992, Dr. Chamberlain adapted the model for youngsters (ages 9-18) with severe mental health problems who were being discharged from the Oregon State Hospital.  This program is currently funded collaboratively by the local Department of Health and Human Services (Child Welfare) and LaneCare, the county’s managed care Medicaid program. Beginning in 1999, Dr. Chamberlain and colleagues have conducted a series of studies that examine the unique needs of girls involved in the juvenile justice, child welfare and foster care systems and to evaluate how the TFCO model could be tailored to fit these needs.

In 1996, Phil Fisher and colleagues developed the TFCO-P model to focus specifically on the needs of preschool-aged children. This program addresses reducing children’s behavior problems and enhancing the stability of placements while in care. It also focuses on increasing foster children’s attachment to caregivers, and on improving permanency outcomes. Finally, TFCO-P promotes school readiness through a therapeutic playgroup.

Over the years, the original program model has been expanded to fit the needs of youngsters in all of the major publicly-funded child service systems (juvenile justice, mental health, and child welfare). TFCO programs are now funded by multiple public agencies and organizations around the United States and in Europe.   .

Currently, TFC Consultants, Inc. provides implementation services, consultation, and technical assistance for sites interested in implementing TFCO programs.