Developing and Supporting Families

With the right development and support from child welfare agencies, prospective foster and adoptive parents will be better equipped to meet the needs of older youth. Child welfare agencies start this relationship building with parents at the first point of contact, and it continues past adoption finalization. The skills and knowledge prospective and current foster, adoptive, and kinship parents gain improves their awareness and confidence in meeting the specific needs of older youth and will help parents feel supported.

In this section you will find resources to help families understand the effects of trauma and loss as well as how to improve pre-and postpermanency support services that your agency provides.

Helping families understand the effects of trauma, grief, and loss

Focusing on Well-Being: Developing a Protective Factors Framework for Youth in Care [Webinar]
Browne & Notkin (2012)
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Provides an overview of research on youth development, resiliency, neuroscience, and the impact of trauma on brain development. It also discusses how child welfare agencies can use this information to improve the overall well-being of youth in foster care.

Understanding Ambiguous Loss (PDF - 61 KB)
Minnesota Department of Human Services, MN Adopt (2014)
Discusses ambiguous loss, which is a term used to describe the grief associated with a loss in which there is confusion or uncertainty about that person or relationship. Symptoms of ambiguous loss and the way it can affect adopted children, birth family members, and adoptive parents are reviewed and suggestions are made for helping children manage feelings of ambiguous loss.

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Improving pre- and post-permanency support services for families

Intervention and Program Catalog
Quality Improvement Center for  Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation
Offers information on specific programs and services that are evidence-based or use promising practices to provide pre- and postpermanency support for families.

Support Matters: Lessons from the Field on Services for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Care Families (PDF - 2,225 KB)
National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids (2015)
Provides details on specific program models, including services for older youth, parents, and families and tips for implementing and sustaining support services.

Recruitment, Retention, and Preparation
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Includes information related to the recruitment of foster and adoptive families for children in foster care, including summaries of issues, best practices, and tools.

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