The Casey Foundation and the Justice Resource Institute developed ARC Reflections, a training curriculum to develop foster parents and caregivers’ understanding of traumatic stress, increase their own emotional regulation and provide tools to support their parenting skills. This implementation guide serves as a primer for child welfare agencies interested in installing the curriculum within their existing in-service foster care training program. It includes two parts: how to install ARC Reflections, which describes the curriculum’s components, logistics and planning steps; and a review of implementation considerations, which includes lessons from jurisdictions that have piloted ARC Reflections.
In addition to the implementation guide, the curriculum includes detailed facilitator guides, training presentations, facilitator welcome and handouts, Olivia’s story, a case manager guide, handouts for participants, and survey and feedback materials.
There are three phases of installing ARC Reflections: planning, training and evaluation.
A critical early task is deciding which data should be measured to track whether training is having the intended result.
If implemented well, ARC Reflections can lead to improvements in a system’s ability to provide trauma-informed services, reduce placement disruptions and foster parent turnover, and allow children and their caregivers to focus on relationship building and permanence.
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When communities and child welfare systems support foster parents by helping them build stronger caregiving skills and including them in all aspects of a child’s life, children and teens have a better chance to heal from the trauma of maltreatment and separation from their families.
Implementing a systemwide trauma focus, as ARC Reflections does, can be critical to developing well-prepared, confident foster parents and caseworkers who know how to work together as a team and ensure that children and teens who have experienced trauma can thrive, now and in the future.