Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Child and Family Services (PA-CFS) 24: Resource Family Training and Preparation

Resource families receive training and preparation to strengthen their capacity to care for children and support children’s families.

NA The agency is not responsible for resource parent training and preparation.
2020 Edition




Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.
Note: See PA-CFS 27 for additional requirements specific to preparing for adoption or guardianship.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. 
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.  
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.   
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner. 
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.   
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.  
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • List of required training for resource parents (including specific requirements for foster parents, treatment foster parents, kinship caregivers, and prospective adoptive parents and guardians, as applicable), including specifications regarding pre- and in-service training requirements


  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Emergency response procedures
  • Materials provided to resource parents describing their rights and responsibilities
  • Training curricula
  • Documentation tracking completion of required trainings
  • Sample of emergency protocols from resource homes, if resource parents develop individualized plans


  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Resource parents
  • Review resource parent records

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 24.01

Resource parents receive pre-service training on rights and responsibilities that addresses:  
  1. the agency’s mission, logic model or equivalent framework, and service array;
  2. the rights of children in care;
  3. what resource families should expect when they take in a child;
  4. the competencies needed for effective resource parenting, and how those competencies are integral to the agency’s logic model or equivalent framework;
  5. specific duties of resource parents; 
  6. available supports and services;
  7. identification and reporting of abuse and neglect; 
  8. any fees or reimbursements for services, including compensation for damages caused by children placed in the home, as applicable; 
  9. notice of and participation in any review or hearing regarding the children; 
  10. procedures when allegations of maltreatment are made, and ways to prevent false allegations; 
  11. complaint procedures; and 
  12. circumstances that will result in revoking a resource family license or certification.

Interpretation: When working with unlicensed kin, agencies in some states may have the discretion to waive training requirements that they deem non-essential in an effort to encourage placement with relatives.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 24.02

Resource families receive pre-service training that addresses: 
  1. strategies for providing support appropriate to children’s ages and developmental levels; 
  2. promoting positive behavior and healing through coaching, nurturing, and positive discipline techniques; 
  3. recognizing and responding to behaviors that jeopardize safety, health, and well-being, including de-escalation techniques;
  4. signs and symptoms of trauma, including triggers/antecedents;
  5. providing protection and promoting psychological safety to mediate the effects of trauma, maltreatment, separation, loss, and exploitation; and 
  6. 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. 



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 children run away, and developing healthy relationships. Additionally, education should emphasize the issue of stigma associated with prostitution to help resource families provide healthy, nonjudgmental home environments that are supportive of successful reintegration. 


Kinship caregivers may be helped to develop these competencies through ongoing training and support rather than pre-service training. 

PA-CFS 24.03

Resource parents receive the training and support they need to demonstrate competency in: 
  1. supporting and facilitating children’s emotional, physical, and legal permanency;
  2. meeting children’s developmental needs across life domains, including addressing any developmental delays;
  3. caring for a child of a different race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity;
  4. supporting children’s social identity development;
  5. supporting and facilitating family relationships, friendships, cultural ties, and community connections;
  6. collaborating with family team members and service providers; and
  7. managing the caregiver role, self-care, and the impact on the resource family.



With regards to elements (e) and (f), 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. 

Examples: Agencies that work with both 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 personnel 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. When kinship caregivers provide temporary care for children not in the custody of the child welfare agency, the agency may offer support groups or skill-building sessions that help kinship caregivers develop the competencies rather than offering a comprehensive training program.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 24.04

Resource parents are certified in CPR and trained in:  
  1. basic first aid, including retraining at least every two years; 
  2. medication administration, including retraining at least every two years;
  3. protocols for responding to emergencies including accidents, serious illnesses, fires, and natural and human-caused disasters; and 
  4. medical or rehabilitation interventions and operation of medical equipment required for children’s care, as needed. 


CPR certification and training elements (a) and (b) are not required when children are in the temporary legal custody of kin.