Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Adoption Services (AS) 7: Training for Prospective Adoptive Parents

Prospective adoptive parents complete required training to prepare them for adoption.

Interpretation

 Training must meet all applicable state requirements and for international adoptions training must also meet all requirements of 22 CFR Part 96.48 and the child’s country of origin.

NA The organization provides home study services only.
NA The organization provides post-placement and/or post-adoption services only.
NA The organization provides child-focused recruitment only. 

2020 Edition

Currently viewing: ADOPTION SERVICES (AS)

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Purpose

Adoption programs establish permanent family relationships for children in need of permanency, and increase the well-being, functioning, and stability of children, birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals.
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for the provision of training and preparation of prospective adoptive parents and for child specific training and preparation 
  • Table of contents of training provided directly by the organization and/or a list of trainings provided by third parties
  • Informational materials provided to prospective adoptive parents
  • Training curriculum for any training provided directly by the organization
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review case records

AS 7.01

Suitable training methods and standardized and individualized curricula are used by the program to ensure each prospective adoptive parent is adequately prepared for placement.

Examples: The program may customize their training methods and curricula based on the types of adoptions they are involved with or the unique characteristics of clients served.  For example, relatives, foster parents or prospective adoptive parents who have already adopted another child through the program may not need training in all areas as new prospective adoptive parents.     


Examples: Examples of training methods found to be effective or commonly used include:
  1. in-person, group seminars;
  2. online training through webinars and self-paced trainings;
  3. recorded trainings and podcasts;
  4. reading and writing assignments; and
  5. individual counseling and training.

AS 7.02

Prospective adoptive parents receive training and demonstrate competence in:
  1. the adoption process and significant provisions of laws and regulations;
  2. the availability of and application process for subsidies or other financial benefits;
  3. options for openness in adoption;
  4. the importance of legally finalizing the adoption and for obtaining and maintaining documentation of citizenship for children adopted internationally; 
  5. long term impacts of adoption on the child and the family; and
  6. the availability and importance of post-adoption supports and services.

Interpretation

With regards to element (a), it is especially important for training to include educating prospective adoptive parents on the ways in which laws and regulations might impact the adoption process. For example, it is important for prospective adoptive parents to receive training on the Indian Child Welfare Act, its impact on placement and permanency for American Indian and Alaska Native children, and its requirements relating to supporting the child’s cultural identity and facilitating connections to the his or her tribe.


Fundamental Practice

AS 7.03

Prospective adoptive parents receive training and demonstrate competence in common experiences and needs of waiting and adopted children, including: 
  1. the general characteristics and needs of waiting children;
  2. the frequency and impact of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, neglect, and child trafficking;
  3. the impact of institutionalization and living in out-of-home care;
  4. the impact of malnutrition, maternal substance abuse, and any other common factors that impact on health and development; and
  5. attachment and bonding.

Fundamental Practice

AS 7.04

Prospective adoptive parents receive training and demonstrate competence in skills and strategies for helping children heal and thrive throughout their lives, including:
  1. coping with separation, loss, and grief and supporting healthy attachments and relationships;
  2. navigating changing roles and relationships;
  3. supporting the child’s identity development;
  4. raising a child of a different race, ethnicity, culture, or religion and strategies for maintaining connections with the child's culture, community, tribe, and/or country;
  5. responding effectively and safely to children’s behavior and unknown or unexpected issues, and adapting parenting strategies and discipline techniques to fit the child’s needs;
  6. parenting a child with a history of trauma;
  7. recognizing signs of unknown or undisclosed abuse, effective strategies to support safe disclosure, and reporting abuse allegations to appropriate authorities;
  8. strategies for maintaining safety when there is a history of sexual abuse, trafficking, self-harming behavior, or other unsafe behavior; and
  9. overcoming barriers to seeking or obtaining help and support.

Interpretation

Having strategies and skills to navigate changing roles and relationships is especially important when the child and prospective adoptive parents are relatives, already known each other, or when some level of openness is being considered.
 
Examples: Regarding element (f), training can include:
  1. recognizing trauma triggers and conditioned responses;
  2. developing skills to avoid actions or reactions that may trigger the child;
  3. providing emotional support in ways the child can accept and normalizing their feelings;
  4. strategies for relaxation;
  5. providing positive experiences to encourage self-esteem;
  6. providing age appropriate information and education about trauma to the child;
  7. providing age appropriate opportunities for choice and control; and
  8. recognizing, preventing, and addressing secondary trauma.

AS 7.05

Prospective adoptive parents receive directly or by referral:

  1. needed customized education, counseling, or support specific to their unique needs or experiences which may impact on their readiness and suitability for placement; and
  2. reassment when needed to ensure they remain ready and suitable to move forward with an adoption.
Examples: Examples of unique needs and experiences can include, but are not limited to:
  1. prior history of trauma, mental illness, or substance use;
  2. experience of infertility, miscarriage, or loss of a child; and
  3. an unsuccessful adoption attempt or disruption or dissolution of an adoption.