Date: 9/15/2016, 9:00 am—4:00 pm
County: Alameda County
CEUs: 48 BBS & 48 GHA
Sponsor: Seneca Family of Agencies
ACT is a permanency curriculum that provides intensive practice and training to adoption and permanency professionals and community based service providers. The curriculum expands the application of techniques and knowledge from related fields, such as education and neurobiology to the practice of adoption and relative guardianship. ACT is designed to advance and inform adoption practice, expand the pool of qualified permanency professionals available to families, integrate permanency practice across an array of programs, and engage and retain qualified staff in adoption and post-permanency services. ACT transmits core competencies to individuals and to agency staff groups seeking to improve and standardize their programs with shared, quality knowledge and a commitment to integrated practice principles. The core curriculum for Kinship Center’s ACT was developed in 1992 and has been refined and field-tested to more than 7,000 professionals over 15 years. Overview by Session: Session 1 – 9/15/16 “Permanence in Context,” provides an introduction to the curriculum and the facilitators, and gives background information on the development of ACT. This session begins the adoption and permanence knowledge and the skill building content, focusing on policy and practice challenges for permanence in a child’s life. The theoretical framework of this curriculum, the Seven Core Issues in Adoption, is introduced, with time spent on the first three issues, Loss, Rejection and Guilt & Shame. Emphasis is on the unique issues that the adopted person, birth family, and permanent family face in the lifelong process of adoption and permanency. Session 2 – 9/16/16 “Core Issues,” continues the adoption knowledge and skill-building with further exploration of the Seven Core Issues in Adoption, discussing Grief, Identity, Intimacy and Mastery/Control. The clinical practices that are the focus of ACT have evolved over time, and adoption from a historical perspective is reviewed. This session introduces several practice interventions that professionals can use in their work, including: building self-esteem, genograms, time lines, life books and boxes, and bibliotherapy. These effective tools help both professionals and clients better understand the core issues in play. Sessions 3 – 10/13/16 “The Art and Science of Attachment,” gives an introduction to the neurobiology of attachment. Early brain development in children establishes how their attachment patterns evolve, which determines how they cope with the world around them. Learning to recognize these behaviors and exploring ways to empower parents to change this organized system of faulty internal beliefs held by the child will be the focus of this session. Session 4 – 10/14/16 “A Developmental Perspective,” builds on not only the child’s attachment pattern, but their developmental level of understanding of adoption. A child’s understanding of adoption is not the same as an adult’s, and careful preparation of the child and family is needed to make the transition to permanency; sibling issues are also introduced. The discussion will include the questions around siblings and decision-making factors in sibling placements. Sessions 5 – 11/17/16 “Family Constellation Challenges,” discusses whether to place siblings together, when to separate them, and helping children discuss their feelings. This session takes a look at birth parents, those who voluntarily relinquish their children and those who have their parental rights terminated by court decree, and the need for post-adoption support. A significant area of child welfare today involves kinship care, and how professionals can help assess and support this type of family building. Session 6 – 11/18/16 “Supporting the Permanent Family,” explores interventions to support constellation members, and how the practice of open adoption is defined. The values, attitudes and beliefs underlying the practice are discussed and participants are asked to examine their own perspectives. Search and reunion is another focal point; reasons people search, their roller coaster emotions, and the benefits and challenges experienced by not only those who undertake this task, but all parties involved. Sessions 7 – 12/8/16 “Tools for Skilled Practice,” addresses such issues as lifelong impact of infertility for individuals and couples; individual identity, marital/couple relationships, sexuality, extended family relationships and parenting. Factors for the professional to consider during the assessment of clients considering adoption or relative care giving are reviewed. Participants are given the opportunity to practice their assessment skill, including attention to factors to consider when looking at transracial adoptions. The complexities that arise when concurrent planning is the plan for a child and the issues surrounding placement disruptions and adoption dissolutions are discussed. Session 8 – 12/9/16 “Diversity, Healing and the Family,” discussion reflects back to the neurobiology presented in Session 3, and the implications presented for healthy attachments. The difficulties that impaired attachments, developmental needs and traumatic histories bring, and the parenting challenges they created are addressed. Ways to enhance family attachment with appropriate discipline and therapeutic parenting methods will be presented. The conclusion of the curriculum focuses on the role of rituals and ceremonies in adoption and permanency related work.