The purpose of this portion of the training is to enhance your learning around Continued Connections. In this program, Continued Connections targets the honoring of the teens’ former attachments, acknowledges that teens are part of other families and have other relationships, and recognizes that the loyalty and connection to those relationships may be significant. Continued Connections also explores the importance of your relationship with the youth’s birth family and other people who are important to the youth. This theme captures the concept that resource parents may need to move beyond their own discomfort toward prior relationships in order to help the youth grieve losses, maintain connections, confirm their identity, and form healthy attachments with others.

Once you have completed this portion of the training program, you will:

  • Enhance your understanding of the importance of supporting youth’s connections
  • Identify ways to support youth’s connections to people who are important to them
  • Recognize the connection between birth family and identity development
  • Identify strategies to actively and intentionally engage, honor, respect, and co-parent with the birth family

A critical element of creating a safe, predictable environment is to ensure smooth transitions for youth. Transitions include moves such as being placed from the birth home into a foster home, moves from one foster home to another, being placed into a group home or treatment setting, moving into an adoptive home or returning to the birth home from foster care. The purpose of this portion of the training is to enhance your learning around transitions. This session focuses on how change impacts the youth, you, and your family. Strategies are introduced to help you prepare for and manage the emotional impact (stress, fear, uncertainty, pain, loneliness, anxiety and hopelessness) that are often a part of the transition process.

The learning objectives are to:

  • Learn how to prepare for periods of transition
  • Learn how transitions impact youth
  • Identify ways to respond to youth through transitions
  • Recognize how youth are coping with the transition
  • Increase awareness about the impact of transitions on you and your family

The purpose of this learning opportunity is to enhance your learning around sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE). SOGIE is a term that includes all types of sexual orientation and gender identities and expressions. In this program, the term diverse SOGIE is used to describe youth who are expressing a non-traditional sexual orientation or gender identity, and who need to be supported through their sexual orientation or gender identity exploration with understanding and acceptance. The learning objectives are to:

  • Increase awareness of the complexities of youth who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S)
  • Strengthen understanding of behaviors that demonstrate acceptance and support of LGBTQ2S youth
  • Enhance awareness of the critical role that family support plays in determining long term well-being outcomes for the youth in your care
  • Learn strategies to help reconcile your value system with the support needs of your youth
  • Enhance awareness of the needs for advocacy for LGBTQ2S youth\

The purpose of this learning opportunity is to further explore how trauma effects youth’s behaviors. The experience of trauma often produces behaviors that will seem out of context and usually includes anger, mistrust or defiance. The experience of trauma can also impact school performance and relationships, and can result in delays in and social skills and development. You will explore how the interactions and interventions used with youth who have experienced trauma are different than those used with youth who have not experienced trauma. The learning objectives are to:

  • Understand what traumatic events are and how they affect youth physically, emotionally and psychologically
  • Recognize emotions and behaviors in your child that are associated to a traumatic event
  • Learn how triggers work and how to respond effectively to a traumatic response
  • Gain usable knowledge on how to parent traumatized youth and promote successful behaviors

The purpose of this learning opportunity is to continue to enhance your understanding and recognition of the effects of trauma and trauma-informed parenting. This session explores how trauma affects the youth’s physical, psychological and emotional well-being and introduces the critical framework of "Regulate, Relate, Reason” which will help you remember how to best respond to youth who have been affected by all types of trauma. Trauma informed resource parenting is defined as the framework that includes understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma on children and youth in care. The learning objectives are to:  

  • Understand the basics of brain development
  • Understand what traumatic events are and how they affect youth physically, emotionally and psychologically
  • Increase your ability to recognize the impact of trauma in youth
  • Increase your understanding of the "Regulate, Relate, Reason” framework

The purpose of this learning opportunity is to enhance your understanding of parental regulation. Parental Regulation is the set of skills and abilities that help us manage our feelings and behaviors so that we can then use the right skills, interventions and supports at the right time. The learning objectives are to:

  • Learn the important components to parental regulation.
  • Understand how to regulate yourself through a variety of techniques.
  • Understand the importance of self-regulation and modeling those behaviors for the youth.

The purpose of this learning opportunity is to enhance your knowledge around Parental Adaptation. Parental Adaptation is based on the idea that youth cannot be parented in the same manner as “traditional” parenting. It targets the thinking and skills parents will need to adjust to assure that their parenting responses successfully respond to the needs of the youth. 

The learning objectives are to:

  • Understand why parenting responses need to be adjusted based on the youth’s skills, emotion development and needs
  • Increase awareness of how a youth’s prior experiences have shaped their sense of identity, values and/or behavior, and how the lack of alignment between their values and yours can create discomfort for you
  • Identify new support and intervention strategies

The purpose of this portion of the training is to enhance your learning around relationship development. In this program, relationship development is defined as the critical tasks and skills required to engage, increase commitment and positive connection, and develop a supportive healing relationship between foster caregivers and the youth in their homes.  

Once you have completed this portion of the training program, you will:

  • Understand how trust and safety are critical to relationship development
  • Understand how parenting characteristics are related to relationship development
  • Identify parenting strategies that support relationship development

Relational trauma occurs when one person betrays, abandons, or refuses to provide support for another person with whom he or she has developed an attachment bond. However, youth who have experienced relational trauma can be very complex individuals to be in a relationship with. Because vulnerability is such a part of many trauma survivors’ lives, the family’s ability to communicate and demonstrate safety is a central component to relationship building. The adolescent is more likely to open themselves up to a relationship if, repeatedly over time, there is little evidence of threat (whether physical, sexual or associated with criticism or judgment).  Trust, though, does take time, and for some, it may take a very long period of time.   

As you will learn throughout this segment, youth have their own work to do in growth and healing; your role is to consistently create the caregiving environment for them to feel safe enough to do their work. Tremendous parental insight and control is required to create that safe environment, and this portion of training will assist you on your journey of developing more insight into your own thoughts and feelings towards your child, and toward becoming a more intentional parent.