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Adoption & Foster Care Educational Collaborative

The mission of the Adoption & Foster Care Educational Collaborative is to build the skills and knowledge of practitioners working with people whose lives are touched by adoption, foster and kinship care, and legal guardianship. The collaborative promotes a resilience and strengths perspective, which enhances and sustains functional family connections. This collaborative offers certification and training for practitioners of all levels.

The Certificate in Adoption & Foster Care Practice provides clinical and practical training for those working with families and children whose lives are touched by the complex, fascinating issues of foster care and adoption. Certificate participants take seven core and three elective workshops, which are offered in a 2 year rotation. Please note: workshops are open to all, including those who are not interested in pursuing a certificate.

Beginning in Fall 2012, the Adoption & Foster Care Educational Collaborative will be offering Advanced Clinical Workshops to licensed practitioners. These workshops will incorporate advanced practice skills and techniques, with an emphasis on real-life case studies and practical application. Peer interaction will be emphasized. Each workshop will provide 3 Continuing Education Units (CEU's). Please note: advanced clinical workshops will count for a .5 elective toward the Certificate in Adoption & Foster Care Practice.

The Adoption & Foster Care Educational Collaborative members include the following:
  • Rhode Island College School of Social Work
  • Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)
  • Adoption Rhode Island
  • Child Welfare Institute
  • Beacon Health Strategies
  • Child & Family
  • Family Service of Rhode Island
Advisory Committee
Darlene Allen Lee Baker* Janice E. DeFrances*
Tonya Glantz Corrine Hill Barbara Keefe
Kathleen Letourneau Roberta Pearlmutter* Maureen Philbin
Diane Savage Deborah Siegel Melissa Worcester
*ex officio members

Certificate in Adoption & Foster Care Practice

Program Requirements: Certificate in Adoption & Foster Care Practice

All full-day workshops provide 6 Continuing Education Units (CEU's)

Core Workshops:
  • Core Clinical Issues in Adoption & Foster Care
  • Impact of Abuse and Neglect on Child Development: Clinical Strategies for Working with Children and Families
  • Strengths-Based Approaches for Clinical Practice with Children and Families Impacted by Adoption & Foster Care
  • Clinical Skills to Address Trauma and Attachment
  • Ethical and Clinical Issues in Adoption & Foster Care: Guidelines for Practice
  • Clinical Issues in Working with Birth Families
  • Managing Behavioral Challenges: Guidelines for Clinical Intervention
Elective Workshops (Examples):
  • Play Therapy with Children in Foster or Adoptive Families
  • Clinical Issues in Kinship Care
  • Clinical Skills to Address Race and Ethnicity in Foster and Adoptive Families
  • Supporting Sibling Relationships
  • Gay and Lesbian Parenting in Adoption & Foster Care
  • Therapeutic Groups in Adoption & Foster Care
  • Advocacy in Foster Care and Adoption

Course Descriptions

Core Clinical Issues in Adoption & Foster Care
The participant will explore seven core clinical issues that can be affected by adoption & Foster Care issues.

  • Participants will understand the core clinical issues as they relate to the human experience and the meaning they have for individuals with adoption or foster care histories.
  • Participants will learn a strength-based approach to viewing developmental and situational aspects of adoption & Foster Care experiences.
  • Participants will learn strategies to help discern appropriateness of focusing on issues that are relevant to adoption, foster care, or typical developmental experiences.

Impact of Abuse and Neglect on Child Development: Clinical Strategies for Working with Children and Families
The participant will explore neurological and environmental issues that affect abuse and neglect issues presented by children and families dealing with adoption & Foster Care. The participant will also learn strategies to assist with healing.

  • Review child and adolescent developmental issues and brain development.
  • Explore interrupted developmental issues due to child abuse, neglect and trauma.
  • Learn techniques to assist with healing and fostering healthy, safe relationships with adoptive & Foster Care families.

Strengths-Based Approaches for Clinical Practice with Children and Families Impacted by Adoption & Foster Care
The participant will learn the value of strengths-based approaches to clinical practice with children and families dealing with adoption & Foster Care to instill hope and diminish despair.

  • Apply strengths-based approaches to clinical practice in adoption & Foster Care.
  • Identify clinical guidelines for practice.
  • Learn techniques to assist families in coping with the core clinical issues.
  • Learn how to embrace a collaborative, curious stance with clients to provide an empathic, non-judgmental environment.
  • Seek to focus on abilities and natural resources not deficits or pathology.

Managing Behavioral Challenges: Guidelines for Clinical Intervention
The participant will learn behavioral challenges presented by children and families dealing with adoption & Foster Care, and will explore treatment approaches for this population.

  • Discuss neurological issues that can affect developmental and behavioral outcomes for children.
  • Examine parenting styles that positively or negatively affect children's behaviors.
  • Learn to assess reasons associated with behavioral challenges.
  • Discuss the goals of intervention to reduce explosive episodes, pursue expectations, and teach cognitive skills that may be lacking.

Ethical and Clinical Issues in Adoption & Foster Care: Guidelines for Practice
The participant will explore ethical and legal issues presented by children and families involved with adoption & Foster Care.

  • Identify ethical issues that can be present in adoption & Foster Care situations.
  • Discuss legal issues that are relevant to adoption & Foster Care.
  • Explore participants' biases and how these can interfere with clinical practice.
  • Explore how to provide an open, non-judgmental environment in clinical practice.

Clinical Issues in Working with Birth Families
The participant will learn about maintaining birth family connections and explore the roles of adoptive and birth parents and the adopted child.

  • Learn the rationale for building birth parent, foster/adoptive parent connections.
  • Identify practice guidelines for building successful foster/adoptive and birth family relationships.
  • Identify normal predictable issues in these relationships.
  • Apply treatment approaches to cases in which these relationships exist.

Clinical Skills to Address Trauma and Attachment
The participant will explore biological and environmental issues related to trauma and attachment presented by children and families dealing with adoption & Foster Care.

  • Examine the effects of trauma and attachment on the brain's development.
  • Examine three types of trauma and various examples of trauma.
  • Discuss attachment theories and four different attachment styles.
  • Explore resilience as it relates to attachment and trauma issues.

Advanced Clinical Workshops

Course Descriptions: Advanced Clinical Workshops

The following strengths-based advanced clinical workshops may be taken by people who have the LCSW, LICSW or other licensure in a mental health profession. All half-day workshops provide 3 CEU's.

Advanced Clinical Issues: Transracial/Transcultural Families
Unique family dynamics and parenting issues emerge when a child of one race or culture is parented by someone of a different race or culture. Clinicians working with children in foster care or adoption must be familiar with these issues and ways to help families develop a child's positive racial identity. This workshop explores the intricate intrapsychic, interpersonal and social issues woven into the transracial/transcultural family and identifies clinical strategies for helping these families.

Advanced Clinical Issues: Ethical Challenges in Psychotherapy
Clinicians doing psychotherapy with adoptive and foster families face unique ethical challenges managing countertransference, boundaries, confidentiality, autonomy and self-determination, paternalism, and distribution of scarce resources. This workshop presents difficult clinical cases in order to help participants hone skills for identifying and addressing ethical issues embedded in the worker/client relationship.

Advanced Clinical Issues: Legacy of Loss in Adoptive Families
Even the most experienced, skilled clinician can become tangled in the complex interplay of loss issues woven throughout the fabric of adoptive and foster families. Identifying the role of loss in child and parent feelings and behaviors makes effective therapeutic intervention possible. This workshop uses cases involving complex psychodynamics to illustrate the assessment and treatment skills needed to help families untangle the complex web of loss to help adoptive and foster families weather the storm.

Advanced Clinical Issues: When Behavior Therapy Doesn't Work
When foster and adoptive parents are already skilled in behavior modification methods, and parent skills training is not resolving child behaviors, what is the experienced clinician's role? This workshop presents a theoretical and practical clinical framework for addressing behavioral challenges in adoptive and foster families.

Advanced Clinical Issues: Therapeutic Interventions with a Child's Adoptive and Birth Families
As many adoptions today involve contact between the child's adoptive and birth families, therapists must address complex family dynamics that emerge as members of the extended family formed by adoption progress through the life cycle. While these dynamics are unfamiliar to most clinicians, they reverberate throughout the family system in predictable, normative ways. This workshop identifies these patterns and themes, and explores treatment strategies to help children, adoptive and birth parents navigate their relationships.

Contact AFCC

For further information, please contact:

Debra Medeiros
AFCC Program Coordinator
Rhode Island College School of Social Work
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Providence, RI 02908
Email: afcc@ric.edu
Telephone: (401) 456-2753

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Page last updated: August 29, 2013