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Innovative Teaching Systems

Innovative Teaching Systems was founded by Cristy Schlientz in 1995 to assist child welfare agencies with the replication of the Teaching-Family Model (TFM). Cristy is now endorsed by the Teaching-Family Association as an individual developer with credentials to assist agencies with full TFM program implementation.

The Teaching-Family Model is an evidence-based model used throughout the country to help families with children who have special needs learn new skills that will help them lead a productive and satisfying life. It is one of the only childcare models that is well defined and therefore can be effectively replicated. The National Institute of Mental Health provided major grants to fund research in the late 60’s and 70’s; research that helped define the model as we know it today. The model is designed to train and support the Teaching Parents as they spend significant time with the youth and have a major role in the treatment process. The youth’s success begins with the skills they learn living in a family style group home.

Implementation of the Teaching-Family Model is a long-term investment that helps to assure the sustainability of the treatment program. Fidelity is assured when the agency implements the training, consultation, evaluation and administrative systems to create a comprehensive application of the model. The model has been successfully implemented in multiple program settings including group homes, foster care, home-based services, alternative schools, detention facilities, and psychiatric hospitals. In each of these replication areas, the program technology has been adapted to the new setting to assure individualized, strengths-based treatment.

The role of the “individual developer”, endorsed by TFA, is to assist human service agencies in the development and implementation of the Teaching-Family Model.

If an agency is interested in utilizing the Teaching-Family Model, Innovative Teaching Systems will conduct an on-site assessment to assess the agencies strengths and needs. The individual developer is then able to design and implement a custom-made Teaching-Family Model program. The program is strengths-based and specifically tailored to the client population and needs of that agency.

Innovative Teaching Systems offers training for direct care workers, skill development for supervisors, professional evaluations for Practitioners, assists with the collection of outcome measurements, and provides administrative consultation. These services can be provided to new sites implementing the model for the first time or Certified Teaching-Family Model agencies as needed (i.e. when staff turnover occurs or when contract services are more cost effective).

Training Workshops


Cristy is creative and flexible when applying the model and helped us design the tools and procedures that were right for us.
Dr. Steven A. Morse, Garfield Park Academy
Cristy was instrumental in the successful TFA certification of our agency by helping make changes in our therapeutic foster care program so we could meet the standards for evaluating a network of over 120 homes.
Kay Wyse, LSW, MHSA, Adriel Foster Care and Adoption
Any agency who works with children and youth will be enriched by Cristy’s knowledge, expertise and compassion for troubled children and families.
Kim Mullins, VP, Marsh Foundation
Cristy Schlientz work is truly cutting edge. It has broad appeal not just with behavioralists, but also with those coming from a mental health perspective.
Rebecca A. Wray, Former CEO, BGH-NC
Cristy is a passionate and tireless advocate of the highest quality services for children and families who is especially skilled in individualizing her services allowing agencies to replicate the TFM for different populations.
Jacquelyn Lowe, MSW,LSW, Child Centered Teaching Systems


29Sep, 2012

Foster Care Training Materials

Caring for foster children takes a special kind of person. Foster Parents and Foster Care Staff take on the huge responsibility of caring for children who are in need of role models, parents, teachers, and [...]

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