Session One:

Connecting with PRIDE

This session connects participants with the Foster PRIDE/Adopt Pride program. Participants learn how the pre-service training informs assessment, selection, licensing, and certification. The competencies needed for successful fostering and adopting are reviewed in relation to the PRIDE pre-service sessions and the process of becoming a foster or adoptive family.

Standard features are introduced. These include PRIDE Connections (designed to connect classroom learning with life experience); "Making a Difference" (stories that highlight the rewards of fostering and adopting); and, "You Need to Know" (resource material to study at home).

Participants discover how to define family foster care and adoption. They learn how children and families get referred for services, and they explore the challenges and rewards of fostering and adopting. Session One features a video that dramatically portrays fostering and adopting experiences.

Session Two:

Teamwork Toward Permanency

This session introduces the importance of family relationships and the roles families play in supporting the child's identity, cultural identity, and self-esteem. Participants identify major tasks in planning for permanence, including ways to preserve connections and continuity through times of change. Teamwork is presented as the best way to promote permanence for children and families. Trainees discover the unique role of foster parents and adoptive parents as members of a professional team.

Session Three:

Meeting Developmental Needs: Attachment

This session reviews the "basics" of child growth and development. It considers how important bonding and attachment are for growth and development. Participants examine how the life experiences of children in family foster care affect their growth and development. Session Three emphasizes ways that the team, and especially the foster or adoptive parent, may build positive attachments in order to meet developmental needs.

Session Four:

Meeting Developmental Needs: Loss

Separation and loss critically affect the child's growth and development, particularly in family foster care and adoption. Participants learn the types of losses children encounter before entering foster care. They learn how placement can deepen the child's sense of loss. Trainees review the stages of loss and consider how they influence the child's feelings and behaviors.

Loss is presented as a universal issue. Foster families and adoptive families consider how they have dealt with loss in their lives. They discuss how they may approach loss that comes with fostering and adopting, and how they can be "loss managers" for children.

Session Five:

Strengthening Family Relationships

This session revisits how families promote identity, cultural identity, and self-esteem in children. Participants review the child welfare concept that children in placement should rejoin their families whenever possible. They discuss how the team can support reunification.

The role of visiting in strengthening family relationships is explored. Concrete information explains how to plan for visits, how to prepare children for them, and how to handle reactions afterward. The importance of families to children in the adoption process is discussed in terms of lifelong needs for identity and self-esteem.

Session Six:

Meeting Developmental Needs: Discipline

This session focuses on the challenges of instilling discipline in children. The content and activities focus on protecting and nurturing children and meeting their developmental needs. The session defines discipline, identifies its goals, and illustrates how discipline differs from punishment.

Trainees review the agency's policy on discipline and discuss the negative effects of physical punishment. Participants learn about the knowledge, skills, and personal qualities needed to instill discipline. They explore the meaning of a child's behavior and the factors that influence behavior. The session outlines the methods foster and adoptive parents, as team members, can use to meet the goals of effective discipline.

Session Seven:

Continuing Family Relationships

This session looks at different ways the team can help connect children to safe and nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime. Permanency planning goals are outlined, starting with efforts to support and reunify children with their families. Adoption, guardianship, and independent living are presented as other ways to provide lifelong connections when children cannot grow up with their biological family.

Session Eight:

Planning for Change

How placement impacts the foster or adoptive family is the focus of this session. The first hours, days, and weeks of a child's placement in the home are viewed practically. Trainees learn what to expect, what to ask the caseworker, and how to talk to the child.

Longer-term impact placement is also discussed, including how placement changes the foster family or adoptive family. Class discussion of abuse concerns explores the notion that fostering and adopting carry risks. Use of the Child and Family Team for support.

Session Nine:

Taking Pride: Making an Informed Decision

This session offers foster parents and adoptive parents a chance to learn firsthand from experienced members of the foster care team. Panelists including foster parents, adoptive parents, caseworkers, and family members present their perspectives and answer participants' questions. Participants will reflect on their growth and development regarding the pre-service competencies. They begin to make a final decision regarding their commitment to fostering or adopting.