ARC Reflections: Trauma Training for Foster Parents and Caregivers

Posted October 16, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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A new skill-build­ing cur­ricu­lum to help fos­ter par­ents, kin and oth­er care­givers sup­port chil­dren who have expe­ri­enced trau­ma is now avail­able. ARC Reflec­tions pro­vides care­givers with tools and hands-on train­ing to help chil­dren and teens build healthy attach­ments with adults, reg­u­late their emo­tions and behav­ior and build strengths and com­pe­ten­cies that may have been dis­rupt­ed by expo­sure to trauma.

Down­load the Fos­ter Par­ent Resource Guide

ARC Reflec­tions is a free­stand­ing, in-ser­vice par­ent­ing course that adds a trau­ma focus to a child wel­fare agency’s array of resources for care­givers,” says Tracey Feild, direc­tor of the Casey Foundation’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group. If imple­ment­ed well, the cur­ricu­lum can reduce place­ment dis­rup­tions and fos­ter par­ent turnover and allow chil­dren and their care­givers to focus on build­ing a rela­tion­ship and permanence.”

Test­ed in six pilot sites in 2015 and eval­u­at­ed by Child Trends, ARC Reflec­tions — a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Casey Foun­da­tion and the Jus­tice Resource Insti­tute — was writ­ten by clin­i­cians Mar­garet Blaustein and Kris­tine Kin­niburgh, the devel­op­ers of the Attach­ment, Reg­u­la­tion and Com­pe­ten­cy (ARC) frame­work. A grow­ing body of research indi­cates that the ARC frame­work reduces children’s symp­toms of post­trau­mat­ic stress and increas­es their adap­tive and social skills.

ARC Reflec­tions includes every­thing an agency needs to per­form the train­ing pro­gram, includ­ing an imple­men­ta­tion guide, Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tions and facil­i­ta­tor guides, hand­outs for fos­ter par­ents, a case man­ag­er guide and sur­vey and feed­back mate­ri­als. The cur­ricu­lum is avail­able with­out cost.

Dur­ing the curriculum’s nine two-hour ses­sions, facil­i­ta­tors help care­givers prac­tice prob­lem-solv­ing skills that they can apply in their homes and rela­tion­ships. In addi­tion, Olivia’s Sto­ry,” a com­pos­ite case study of a child’s expe­ri­ences at dif­fer­ent ages and devel­op­men­tal stages, rein­forces key themes and illus­trates strate­gies for help­ing chil­dren with their emo­tions and behavior.

The cur­ricu­lum encour­ages fos­ter par­ents to be curi­ous and reflec­tive about chil­dren in their care and gauge their own reac­tions and respons­es. Fre­quent check-ins” allow adults to link their lev­els of ener­gy and emo­tion­al states with their abil­i­ty to be thought­ful, engaged caregivers.

View ARC Reflec­tions Train­ing Pro­gram materials

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