CONTACT: Dr. John David Smith, Director, Social Work Program; Professor of Social Work; Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
Foster and Adoptive Care Training—Retreat Held at Concord
Athens, W.Va. - Concord University’s Social Work Department hosted a retreat for trainers, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) employees, Children’s Home Society representatives, and other child welfare agency representatives on Friday, September 29, 2006, to review progress made in the foster and adoptive care training program. The retreat was one of four retreats to be held during the 2006-2007 training year. Child welfare agencies then train prospective and current foster and adoptive parents in the southeastern region of West Virginia.
The first step to becoming a foster or adoptive parent is a 27-hour preservice training session that covers the “recruitment, preparation, assessment, and selection” of parents for children in need. The curriculum used in this training is the PRIDE module, developed by the Child Welfare League of America. Preservice modules include nine sessions, covering topics on attachment, loss, strengthening relationships, and discipline.
After parents are approved either as foster or adoptive parents, they take an “in-service” component. The in-service component targets foster or adoptive parents with children living in their households, and twelve hours of training are required per year for each family. Parents are referred to specific sessions based upon the needs of the child or children in their home. Modules include sessions on such topics as avoiding chemical dependency, addressing cultural and personal identity issues, improving communication skills, dealing with sexual abuse, effective discipline strategies and promoting self-esteem.
Concord University began sponsoring and facilitating PRIDE training in 1998-1999 as a pilot in southern West Virginia and has since spread throughout the state. Funding for this training is provided through Title IV-E/B federal monies administered through WVDHHR.
Concord provides training across southern West Virginia, provides training materials to trainers and participating parents, schedules training sessions in various locations in the southern part of the state, maintains databases of parents who have completed training, surveys the parents on the strength of the training and instructors, and provides leadership for other universities in the state who also facilitate this type of training program. Concord’s faculty helps develop modules for the training program, and each member also acts as a resource for specific training locations. This year there are 225 three-hour sessions scheduled throughout southern West Virginia. Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent may contact Concord University, 1-304-384-5353 or a child care agency or the WVDHHR.