Casey’s Trauma Trainings for Foster Parents Hailed as Promising

Posted April 3, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

A foster parent plays a board game with a child in foster care.

The fam­i­lies of fos­ter par­ents and kin­ship care­givers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in train­ings from the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion about man­ag­ing child­hood trau­ma expe­ri­enced greater place­ment sta­bil­i­ty, accord­ing to two recent eval­u­a­tions by Child Trends, a non­prof­it research cen­ter. The two train­ing pro­grams assessed — Trau­ma Sys­tems Ther­a­py for Fos­ter Care (TST-FC) and ARC Reflec­tions — are promis­ing approach­es for inte­grat­ing trau­ma-informed care into child wel­fare sys­tems,” accord­ing to researchers.

The eval­u­a­tions of TST-FC and ARC Reflec­tions show that these train­ing cur­ric­u­la can increase the safe­ty, per­ma­nence and well-being of kids in fos­ter care,” says Tracey Feild, direc­tor of the Casey Foundation’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group. The cur­ric­u­la are impor­tant tools that pub­lic child wel­fare agen­cies can use today to pro­vide fos­ter par­ents with the knowl­edge and skills need­ed to sup­port chil­dren heal­ing from trauma.”

About the TST-FC curriculum

The TST-FC train­ing cur­ricu­lum con­sists of four group ses­sions. Facil­i­ta­tors lead care­givers through role play­ing, hands-on exer­cis­es and con­ver­sa­tions aimed to con­nect a young person’s life expe­ri­ence with his or her behav­ior. Writ­ten by Kel­ly McCauley, for­mer­ly of KVC Health Sys­tems Inc., in con­sul­ta­tion with Glenn Saxe of NYU Lan­gone Health, the cur­ricu­lum includes detailed facil­i­ta­tor guides, train­ing pre­sen­ta­tions, hand­outs and a fos­ter par­ent resource guide.

Key find­ings of the TST-FC eval­u­a­tion:

  • Homes of care­givers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in TST-FC achieved bet­ter place­ment sta­bil­i­ty than did homes of care­givers who did not receive the training.
  • Care­givers and agency staff increased their child trau­ma knowl­edge and skills and felt more equipped to han­dle child behav­iors. Care­givers also report­ed an increased sense of effi­ca­cy in their par­ent­ing role.
  • TST-FC imple­men­ta­tion improved rela­tion­ships and com­mu­ni­ca­tion between child wel­fare agen­cies and men­tal health providers.

About the ARC Reflec­tions curriculum

Based on the Attach­ment, Reg­u­la­tion and Com­pe­ten­cy frame­work (ARC) devel­oped by Mar­garet Blaustein and Kris­tine Kin­niburgh of the Jus­tice Resource Insti­tute, the ARC Reflec­tions cur­ricu­lum spans nine group ses­sions. Care­givers learn how trau­ma affects chil­dren, prac­tice prob­lem-solv­ing skills and reflect on their own reac­tions to children’s behav­ior. The cur­ricu­lum includes an imple­men­ta­tion guide, Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tions, facil­i­ta­tor guides and oth­er mate­ri­als to help agen­cies con­duct their own trainings.

Key find­ings of ARC Reflec­tions eval­u­a­tion:

  • Care­givers found the train­ing to be both use­ful and practical.
  • Few­er chil­dren exit­ed” the homes of trained care­givers for neg­a­tive reasons.
  • Care­givers dra­mat­i­cal­ly increased and retained trau­ma-relat­ed knowl­edge and skills. They also report­ed feel­ing more con­fi­dent in their abil­i­ty to par­ent chil­dren in their homes.
  • Sev­er­al child wel­fare agen­cies plan to con­tin­ue offer­ing the ARC Reflec­tions curriculum.

See what child wel­fare pro­fes­sion­als have to say about ARC Reflections

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