Advanced Practice Certificate Program in
Adoption and Foster Care Competency

Session 1 - February 2-3
Overview: Changing Trends in Foster Care and Adoption

Gerald P. Mallon, DSW

Resources and Readings:

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Multiple Transitions: A Young Child's Point of View about Foster Care and Adoption Multiple Transition Video Text

Watch this Great Two Part Series "WE INTERRUPT"
Listen to what Minnesota Youth in Foster Care have to say about Permanency in their lives.  This fabulous production was made possible by Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS)
Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StY__eircls
Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvG0-JvmR-I

Learn More About the Orphan Train Experience in American Child Welfare History 


Learn More About Children and Families of Color in the Child Welfare System



Learn More About the Adoption Experience

Learn More About the Foster Care Experience

To review the Latest AFCARS statistics on Foster Care and adoption go to

NRCPFC Webcast:

Session 2 – February 16-17
Core Clinical Issues in Adoption and Foster Care Family Systems

Gerald P. Mallon, DSW
Resources and Readings:


Product Details

In his intensely personal, disturbing, and moving account of a father's struggle to come to grips with the devastating and yet preventable condition, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Dorris gives us vital information about a crisis demanding worldwide attention. Himself a Native American, anthropologist/novelist Dorris adopted an Indian child in 1971 who, after batteries of tests and transfer from school to school, was finally diagnosed as suffering from FAS. To understand fully his son's condition, Dorris was compelled to "systematically confront Native American history." Here he tells of infants born in the throes of delirium tremens, of social workers so frustrated that they frankly discuss the possibility of incarcerating drunken expectant mothers during pregnancy or of sterilizing repeat offenders. Dorris includes a wealth of scientific data, excellent treatments of alcohol's effects upon Native American culture and of the physiopathological aspects of FAS, and a very complete bibliography.

Adopted is a 2-DVD set: A DVD teaching guide with more than 2 hours of expert advice and case studies, plus an 80 minute documentary film.





“Adopted: The New American Family” follows Jen, an adult Korean adoptee, as she confronts issues of race and identity. In the video clip below, Jen has frank discussions with her parents about being teased as a child because of her race. Watch the video and tell us about your experiences with your child’s racial identity. Or if you’re an adoptee, let us know what it was like to grow up confronting racism and how you discussed your feelings with your parents.

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The 56 minute documentary Unlocking the Heart of Adoption bridges the gap between birth and adoptive families through diverse personal stories of adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in same race and transracial adoptions interwoven with the filmmaker’s story as a birthmother revealing the enormous complexities in their lives with fascinating historical background.
Unlocking the Heart of Adoption
Running time: 56:40 minutes

Session 3 – March 1-2
Assessing, Intervening and Creating a Treatment Plan

Barbara Thompson, MSW and Paula Davis, MSW, Catholic Charities, Baton Rouge, LA Practitioners and Graduates of the 2007-2008 class

Resources and Readings:

Our presenters for Session Three are: Barbara Thompson and Paula Davis.  Paula and Barbara are adoption professionals working with DCFS staff and Catholic Charities for many years.  Their expertise during this session will focus on development assessment and treatment interventions with foster and adoptive families.

MEPA - Multi-Ethnic Placement Act
This video presentation is sponsored by the Policy Division of the Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau, in coordination with the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Adoption, a service of the Children’s Bureau.

This is a two part video presentation.  Due to the large file sizes, you may need to wait until download is complete before navigating within the video.
Click here to download the PowerPoint handout (PDF format)

Nuestras Familias/ Nuestras Cultura
The Goal of this Guide
Children of Latino heritage now comprise 19% of the more than 500,000 children currently in foster care, an increase from 17% in 2003 and 15% in 1990. 

In response, the federal government has mandated AdoptUsKids to recruit foster and adoptive parents through a national television, radio, print and Internet advertising campaign in Spanish. Thousands of Latino families have answered the call and expressed interest in foster care and adoption.
AdoptUsKids reported 12,959 initial calls from Spanish–speaking prospective adoptive parents during the campaign’s first three years. This Cultural Guide for adoptive and foster parent recruiters, trainers, and caseworkers is the logical “next step” in promoting more effective work with the Latino population.

The Guide provides background information about Latino family and cultural values to increase our understanding of Latinos in the United States. It offers workers in the child welfare field specific tips and techniques for overcoming challenges and increasing effectiveness in working with potential foster or adoptive parents of Latino heritage. In doing so, we draw heavily upon the experiences and suggestions of Latino foster and adoptive parents, Latino youth who are in foster care or who have been adopted, and bicultural, bilingual child welfare professionals. 

Many of the suggestions offered in this Guide not only make sense in working with Latino families but also are applicable to working with all prospective foster and adoptive families regardless of ethnicity. Respect, relationship-building, courtesy: these values are the foundation of all good social work!

Session 4 – March 15-16
Pre and Post adoption issues for birthparents, adoptive parents and families (including a discussion of impact of infertility on adoption)

Gerald P. Mallon, DSW & Leslie Pate MacKinnon, CSW & panel of birth and adoptive/foster parents, and adopted/foster children/youth
Resources and Readings:

Definitions of Adoption


Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons

Leslie Pate MacKinnon's website


Adopted Person Blogs

Adoptive Parent Blogs

Boo, Mary. Maza, Penelope L. Radel, Laura. Strottman, Kathleen. Vandivere, Sharon. DeVooght, Kerry. Williams-Mbengue, Nina.
Child Trends. Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
These slides include findings from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP), which was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and represents the first ever nationally-representative survey on the characteristics, adoption-related experiences, and well-being of adopted children and their families in the U.S. The presentation focused on findings involving families with children adopted from foster care. Researchers from Child Trends presented key findings from the national survey, and policy experts discussed how these findings inform deliberations on adoption policies. Invited guests included adoption experts from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC).

Third Party Reproduction

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

Session 5 – March 29-30
Kinship Care, Partner Partners and Meaningful Parent Engagement

Sandra Jimenez
NRCPFC, New York
Resources and Readings:

Kinship Care Issues

Meaningful family engagement with parents is critical for good practice in child welfare.

In this session, our presenter will work with the class to discuss the principles of meaningful engagement with family members in the child welfare system.

Family Leadership and Perspectives

Rise Magazine - A Magazine which publishes stories by and for parents affected by the child welfare systemhttp://www.risemagazine.org/index.html


Rise Workbooks
These anthologies compile our best stories along with discussion guides and journal reflection worksheets for each story. Each workbook is a readymade parent support group curriculum. Bring parents' true stories to parenting classes. Use in staff and foster parent training.

Building a Bridge

Building a Bridge
Stories about building collaboration between parents and foster parents
#CW-BRD, 130 pp. $18.95 
20 stories by parents, foster parents, and teens + 14 worksheets 
Positive relationships between parents and foster parents help children feel more secure in care and adjust more easily after reunification. Ideal for staff and foster parent training.

It Won't Happen Again

It Won't Happen Again 
Stories about reunification by parents affected by the child welfare system
#CW-REUN, 82 pp. $12.00
Nine stories and worksheets
When children act out after reunification, parents often feel overwhelmed. Help parents understand children’s fear and anger and learn healthy responses that other parents have used to repair relationships with their children.

Healing Ourselves, Healing Our Children

Healing Ourselves, Healing Our Children 
Stories about parenting by parents affected by the child welfare system
#CW-HIST, 86 pp. $12.00
10 stories and worksheets 
Parents who grew up with chaos, trauma, or family separation need guidance to build safe, nurturing homes. Parents will feel capable of setting routines, improving communication, and using positive discipline when they read these stories by their peers.


Free Rise Booklets
It's OK to Need Support and One Step at a Time were designed for distribution at New York City Initial Child Safety Conferences. Parent community representatives who guide parents at these conferences—where the decision is made whether to place a child in foster care—selected these Rise stories to support parents in crisis.

'It's OK to Need Support'

'It's OK to Need Support' 
A parent-to-parent guide to family support services 
24 pp. / 21 stories FREE 
If you need help keeping your children safe or resolving family conflicts, the stories in this booklet will help you find the support you need and take steps to protect your children and yourself.

One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time
A parent-to-parent guide to the child welfare system 
32 pp. / 26 stories FREE 
If your children have been removed, the stories in this booklet will take you step by step through the process of reunifying with your children.

Nuestras Historias

Nuestras Historias
Nuestras Histories is a collection of 10 stories in Spanish about parenting by Mexican-American immigrant mothers. Stories explore the challenges these mothers face maintaining safe and stable homes and supporting their children and families while living in a new culture. Stories were developed in a writing workshop at the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park

Family to Family Parent Partners
The Annie E. Casey Foundation Family to Family initiative works with child welfare systems nationwide to improve practices. Many sites develop Parent Partner programs, which work with parents who have been through the system to guide and support other parents.

Parents as Partners
Workers and families learn from each other in 15 cities nationwide.

Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP), New York, NY
The Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) is a parent / professional partnership dedicated to public child welfare reform in New York City through increased, meaningful parent involvement in service and policy planning.

Family Engagement & Self Advocacy

Transfer of Learning Family Engagement and Self Advocacy

Session 6 - April 19-20
Attachment and Bonding

Dr. Julie Larrieu, Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, New Orleans, LA Tulane University
Resources and Readings:

Julie A. Larrieu PhD    

Current Positions:
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Infant Team, Associate Director and Supervising Psychologist
Director of Training, Clinical Psychology
Consultant, Office of Public Health, Maternal Child Health

Phone: (504) 988-5405
Fax: (504) 988-4264
E-mail: jlarrie@tulane.edu

Julie Larrieu PhD

Session Six Handout 
Attachment and Bonding

Child Trauma and Stress in Child Welfare  



Facts for Policymakers: Trauma Exposure, Psychosocial Functioning and Treatment Needs of Youth in Residential Care.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Facts for Policymakers: Complex Trauma and Mental Health of Children Placed in Foster Care: Highlights from the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS) Core Data Set.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Facts for Policymakers: The Need for an Integrated System of Care for Youth with Traumatic Stress and Substance Use Disorders.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

On Thursday, April 26th at 12:00pm EST/11:00am CST/9:00am PST, The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress will launch an exciting and important speaker series on Screening and Assessment for Trauma in the Child Welfare Setting.  This series will be kicked off this Thursday with Cassandra KisielPhD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, James Henry, PhD., Western Michigan University, and Lisa Conradi, PsyD, Chadwick Center for Children and Families, presenting “An Overview of Screening and Assessment for Child Trauma”.

To View the Slides & Listen Online: 

Visit the NCTSN Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma at http://learn.nctsn.org  and join the Screening and Assessment for Trauma in the Child Welfare Setting webinar series. Or use the following course link: http://learn.nctsn.org/course/view.php?id=72

To submit a question for the presenters during the webinar, click on the chat bubble icon in the top left of the screen.

To Listen by Phone:
Call 1-866-295-5950 and enter guest code 5318986#.
To submit a question, email question@nctsn.org
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jane Halladay Goldman at jhalladay@mednet.ucla.edu.
Technical Problems? Email help@nctsn.org

Session 7 – May 3-4
Trauma, Abuse/Neglected and Sexually Abused Children and Youth

Our Speaker for this class is:

Maris Blechner, MSW
Family Focus Adoption Services
54-40 Little Neck Parkway, Suite 4
Little Neck, NY 11362

Handout 1

Handout 2

Handout 3

Resources and Readings:

Session 8 – May 17-18
Clinical Practice with Diverse Children, Youth and Families

Dr. John Raible, University of Nebraska
Resources and Readings:

Our Speaker for this class is:
Dr. John Raible

Who is John W. Raible? 

Dr. John Raible has been educating audiences about transracial adoption for more than thirty years. He began speaking to adoptive parents in the 1970s as a teen panelist at regional and national adoption conferences. He is one of the adult adoptees featured in the widely-shown 1998 documentary film Struggle for Identity: Issues in Transracial Adoption. More recently, he was a returning cast member for the award-winning 2007 Struggle for Identity: A Conversation 10 Years Later.
As an outspoken and nationally-known adult adoptee, Professor Raible has appeared on television talk shows such as the Joan Rivers Show and Sally Jesse Raphael, and has been interviewed by numerous media organizations, includingEssence Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and BBC Radio’s World Service.
Dr. Raible received his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies, concentrating in Language, Literacy, and Culture. His thesis examined the experience of non-adopted white siblings who grew up with adopted African American or Korean brothers and sisters.
After a long career as a public school teacher in diverse sites such as the Navajo Nation, Compton California, and upstate New York, John returned to graduate school to pursue a doctorate in Multicultural Education. Dr. Raible currently teaches courses in Multicultural Education and Family Diversity at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he is Assistant Professor of Diversity & Curriculum Studies.
Prof. Raible’s research examines the ways racial identities unfold in multicultural social contexts, as for instance, among members of transracial/transnational adoptive families or within racially integrated schools. Dr. Raible’s publications include Lifelong Impact, Enduring Need in Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (2006);  Beyond Categories: The Complex Identities of Adolescents (2003 & 2008, with Dr. Sonia Nieto); Transracialized Selves and the Emergence of Post-White Teacher Identities (2007 with Dr. Jason Irizarry); andReal Brothers, Real Sisters: Learning From the Non-adopted White Siblings of Transracial Adoptees (2008). His Checklist for Allies Against Racism has long been a popular reprint, along with his more recent 9 Steps to a Transracialized, Anti-racist Lifestyle.
Over the years, Dr. Raible has provided trainings, lectures, keynotes, and other presentations to a variety of audiences, including Black Administrators in Child Welfare (BACW), the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), National Court-Appointed Special Advocates for Children (National CASA), the Africana Studies & Research Center at Cornell University, the University of Washington School of Social Work, and the School of Social Work at Hunter College.  Dr. Raible is available as a speaker, trainer, and consultant on a variety of topics, including transracial adoption and foster care, family diversity, multicultural identities and anti-racism, and multicultural education issues.
Issues of difference, identity, and belonging affect adopted children, birth parents and adoptive parents alike. Birth parents have been parents to a child, at least during gestation, but may no longer actively parent of that child after adoption. Adoptive parents may feel they are different from biological parents because they did not give birth to this child. Children feel different because of their histories and connections to two families and the feelings of loss and lost information that is a part of their story. These differences may be compounded by additional issues of diversity brought on by transracial or transcultural adoptions, adoption by gay or lesbian couples, and/or adoption by a child's relatives. This module will explore the therapeutic implications for working with diverse families and will briefly address the issues around intercountry adoption

Session 9 – June 7-8
Search and Reunion Issues for Adoption Triad Members Patricia

Martinez Dorner, MSW, San Antonio, Texas
Resources and Readings:


  7. 20 THINGS by Sherrie Eldridge

Session 10 – June 14-15
Clinical Practice/Therapeutic Strategies with Adoptive Triad

Members: Wrap Up Gerald P. Mallon, DSW
Resources and Readings:



Times Union  February 14, 2012
Armed with the slogan "I Wonder Who My Mommy Is?" a group of advocates with the Unsealed Initiative lobbied Tuesday for a bill that would allow adoptees to receive a copy of their birth certificates when they turn 18.
NCFA Releases Adoption Advocate No. 45: Birthparent Counseling in Policy and Practice
While an adoption is a one-time legal act, understanding and coming to terms with adoption can be an ongoing experience for all involved. In the March 2012 issue of NCFA's Adoption Advocate, "Birthparent Counseling in Policy and Practice," Chuck Johnson and Kris Faasse focus on the specific counseling needs of birthparents and expectant parents considering adoption, including the evolution of pregnancy counseling and best-practice recommendations for adoption service providers working with and counseling expectant parents.

NJ.com     March 25, 2012
Pam is also an advocate. Much of her energy, her passion, her belief in “the right cause,” has been devoted to adoption, specifically the right of adoptees to have access to their birth records. (In many states, including New Jersey, that access is denied.) That Pam is adopted herself is central to this advocacy; it is at the core of her being. Her search for her own birth parents, for the information on her birth, led her to support the right of all others to have the same kind of information she was seeking.