Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (FKC) 19: Resource Family Training and Preparation
Resource families receive training and preparation to strengthen their capacity to care for children and support children’s families.
Training and other preparation activities should be structured to offer prospective resource parents exposure to real-life examples of caring for children that come into care, such as children that have experienced trauma and maltreatment and/or may exhibit emotional/behavioral challenges.
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Children in Family Foster Care and Kinship Care live in safe, stable, nurturing, and often temporary family settings that best provide the continuity of care to preserve relationships, promote well-being, and ensure permanency.
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.
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.
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.
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.
List of required training for resource parents (including specific requirements for foster parents, treatment foster parents, and kinship caregivers, as applicable) including specifications regarding pre- and in-service training requirements
Table of contents for training curricula
Emergency response procedures
Materials provided to resource parents describing their rights and responsibilities
Documentation tracking completion of required trainings
Sample of emergency protocols from resource homes, if resource parents develop individualized plans
Interviews may include:
Review resource parent records
Resource parents receive pre-service training on rights and responsibilities that addresses:
the organization’s mission, logic model or equivalent framework, and service array;
the rights of children in care;
what resource families should expect when they take in a child;
the competencies needed for effective resource parenting, and how those competencies are integral to the organization’s logic model or equivalent framework;
specific duties of resource parents;
available supports and services;
identification and reporting of abuse and neglect;
any fees or reimbursement for services, including compensation for damages caused by children placed in the home, as applicable;
notice of and participation in any review or hearing regarding the child;
procedures when allegations are made, and ways to prevent false allegations;
complaint procedures; and
circumstances that will result in revoking a resource family license or certification.
When working with unlicensed kin, organizations in some states may have the discretion to waive training requirements that they deem non-essential in an effort to encourage placement with relatives.
Resource parents receive pre-service training that addresses:
strategies for providing support appropriate to children’s ages and developmental levels;
promoting positive behavior and healing through coaching, nurturing, and positive discipline techniques;
recognizing and responding to behaviors that jeopardize health and well-being, including de-escalation techniques;
signs and symptoms of trauma, including triggers/antecedents for challenging behaviors;
providing protection and promoting psychological safety to mediate the effects of trauma, maltreatment, separation, loss, and exploitation; and
preventing and responding to missing children, including understanding factors that may contribute to the decision to run away, reporting protocols, and how to support children upon their return.
Regarding element (g), educating resource parents on sex trafficking is a critical component to prevention, identification, and treatment. Education should address topics such as internet safety, how to respond when a child runs away, and developing healthy relationships. Additionally, education should emphasize the issue of stigma associated with prostitution to to help resource families provide a healthy, nonjudgmental home environments that are supportive of a successful reintegration.
Examples: Kinship caregivers may be helped to develop these competencies through ongoing training and support rather than pre-service training.
Resource parents receive training and support to demonstrate competency in:
supporting and facilitating children’s emotional, physical, and legal permanency;
meeting children’s developmental needs across life domains, including addressing any developmental delays;
caring for a child of a different race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity;
supporting children's social identity development;
supporting and facilitating family relationships, friendships, cultural ties, and community connections;
collaborating with family team members and service providers; and
managing the caregiver role, self-care, and the impact on the family.
With regards to elements (d) and (e), training should include educating resource parents on the Indian Child Welfare Act, its impact on placement and permanency for American Indian and Alaska Native children, and the resource parents’ responsibilities for supporting the child’s cultural identity and facilitating connections to his or her tribe.
Resource families caring for parenting youth placed together with the youths’ children should also receive training and support to demonstrate competency in modeling positive parenting practices, supporting youth parents to meet their children’s needs, and meeting the dual developmental needs of the youth parents and their children.
Kinship Care Programs that are not required to provide a comprehensive competency-based training program may offer support groups or skill-building sessions that help kinship caregivers develop the competencies rather than offering a comprehensive training program.
Examples: Family Foster Care programs that work with kin and nonrelative resource parents may find it valuable to provide separate training for kinship caregivers in order to provide a space in which kinship caregivers can relate to each other and apply the training to their specific experiences of caring for their kin.
If resources do not allow for separate training the training facilitator can work to incorporate the experience of both groups into the training. Training facilitators can follow up with kinship caregivers about their concerns and the training experience, to ensure that their particular concerns can be addressed in the training or at another time by the staff working with their family. Some of the specific training and support needs of kin may relate to negotiating family dynamics, the experience of family trauma, managing boundaries, and disciplining traditions.
Resource parents are certified in CPR and trained in;
basic first aid, including retraining at least every two years;
protocols for responding to emergencies including accidents, serious illnesses, fires, and natural and human-caused disasters; and
medical or rehabilitation interventions and operation of medical equipment required for a child’s care, as needed.