National Foster Care Month (May 2016)


National Foster Care In 2014 there were an estimated 415,129 children in foster care (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System). A child can be removed from the home and placed in foster care for a variety of reasons including abuse or neglect, parent-child conflict, and the presence of serious physical or behavioral problems in the child that cannot be addressed in the home. This year marks the 27th anniversary of the observance of May as National Foster Care Month. Originally envisioned by the National Foster Parent Association as a way of recognizing the contributions of foster caregivers, National Foster Care Month expanded into a campaign that draws attention to the needs of children in foster care, spotlights the importance of permanency for them, and celebrates the contributions of those who work to help children in foster care.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has compiled a list of helpful resources for birth parents, resource parents, (i.e. foster care, kinship care providers, and adoptive parents), youth, an child welfare and mental health professionals that address the needs of children and adolescents in foster care including mental health treatment, permanency planning, and the transition to independence for older foster care youth.


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NCTSN Resources

Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: A Workshop for Resource Parents (2010) (PPT)
Training curriculum that provides support for resource (foster) parents and helps them understand the link between trauma and their children's behavior, feelings, and attitudes—some of which can seem baffling! Includes a Facilitator's Guide, a Participant Handbook, and a Slide Kit. The curriculum can be access through Resource Parent Curriculum (RPC) Online a web page for providers and resource parents who are using or interested in using “Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: A Workshop for Resource Parents” in their communities. Additional resources, including interative learning modules, are available as well. Users must create an account to access the course but all materials are free and available to all.

Child Welfare Trauma Training Toolkit (2013) (PDF) (PPT) (Audio)  
Training curriculum that helps teach child welfare workers the basic knowledge, skills, and values they should apply when working with traumatized children in the child welfare system. Also teaches how to apply this knowledge to support children's safety, permanency, and well-being—using case analysis and corresponding interventions tailored for the children and their biological and resource (foster) families. Includes a Trainer’s Guide, Participant Manual, and Slide Kit.  The curriculum can be accessed through *link*, which includes additional resources for trainers. 

Complex Trauma: Facts for Caregivers (2014) (PDF)
Fact sheet that helps parents and caregivers recognize the signs and symptoms of complex trauma and offers recommendations on how to help children heal.

Complex Trauma and Mental Health of Children Placed in Foster Care: Highlights from the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS) Core Data Set (2012) (PDF)
This policy brief gives the finding of the NCCTS study of trauma histories and trauma reactions of 2,125 children and adolescents in the child welfare system between 2004 and 2010—most of whom have  experienced at least one caregiver-related trauma (e.g., abuse or neglect)—and presents recommendations and implications for further research.

Parents and Caregivers Web Pages
Web pages designed by NCTSN for birth parents, adoptive parents, resource/foster parents, grandparents, caregivers, and all others who care for children and teens.

Service Systems Speaker Series: Building Trauma Informed Systems and Practices for Children and Families in the Child Welfare System (2008)  
Explains the elements of a trauma-informed child welfare system. Discusses realistic and practical actions that can be taken to improve the system for the children, the families, and the child welfare workforce.

Zero to Six Child Welfare Speaker Series (2012)
A series that is a collaboration between the Early Trauma Treatment Network (ETTN) and NCTSN’s Zero to Six Collaborative Group. Addresses the complex issues surrounding—and the critical needs of —young traumatized children in the child welfare system and those who care for them. Topics include cultural issues, impact of trauma, attachment issues, medical issues, transition issues, and therapeutic interventions. 

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For Foster Families 

National Foster Parent Association
The association’s mission is to support foster parents in achieving safety, permanence and well-being for the children and youth in their care.

Children Welfare Information Gateway
Child Welfare Information Gateway connects child welfare and related professionals to comprehensive information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families. We feature the latest on topics from prevention to permanency, including child abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption.

Foster Family-based Treatment Association
A leading advocate (composed of 400+ Treatment Foster Care agencies in the US and Canada) for the development, evaluation, recognition, and expansion of Treatment Foster Care.

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For Birth Parents

Rise [Stories by and for Parents Affected by the Child Welfare System]
An organization that works to combat negative stereotypes of families in the child welfare system. Trains parents to write about their experiences with the child welfare system, with the goals of: 1) supporting parents and parent advocacy, and 2) guiding child welfare practitioners and policy makers to become more responsive to the families and communities they serve. Publishes Rise Magazine (online and print), which reaches 15,000 parents and child welfare practitioners nationwide; workbooks designed for parent support groups; and related Spanish-language materials. Website includes advocacy resource materials.

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For Child Welfare Professionals

Casey Family Programs
“The nation’s largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system . . . [that works to] provide and improve—and ultimately prevent the need for—foster care in the United States.”

Children's Trauma Institute Treatment and Services Adaption Center
The Children's Trauma Institute (CTI), a collaboration between the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM) and the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS), operates an NCTSN Treatment and Service Adaptation (TSA) Center that is dedicated to developing, adapting, evaluating, and disseminating evidence-based trauma-informed interventions for use with child welfare populations.

  • Easing Foster Care Placement Practice Brief (2012) (PDF)
    Practice brief for child welfare providers and other stakeholders seeking to develop trauma-informed practice.  This brief focuses on easing children’s transitions into foster care.

National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association
The mission of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused or neglected child can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive.

  • Educational Advocacy Resources
    Provides lists of publications and links to websites.  The resources will help educators understand and address the needs of foster children in the foster care system. 

National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
“A training, technical assistance, and information services organization dedicated to help strengthen the capacity of State, local, Tribal and other publicly administered or supported child welfare agencies to: institutionalize a safety-focused, family-centered, and community-based approach to meet the needs of children, youth and families.”

The Chadwick Center for Children and Families
The Chadwick Center, one of the largest hospital based child advocacy and trauma treatment centers in the nation, is staffed with more than 75 professionals in the field of medicine, social work, psychology, psychiatry, child development, nursing and education technology.  They are committed to family-centered care and a multidisciplinary approach to child abuse and family violence.

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For Educators

National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention
The Resource Center offers resources and technical assistance to states, tribes, territories, and local communities to come together to prevent youth violence.

For Mental Health Professionals 

Casey Family Programs
“The nation’s largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system . . . [that works to] provide and improve—and ultimately prevent the need for—foster care in the United States.”

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For Policy Makers 

Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative
The mission of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is to ensure that young people—primarily those between ages 14 and 25—make successful transitions from foster care to adulthood.

  • Policy Tools
    Tools to help young people, political leaders, service professionals, foster and birth families, and other partners get involved with improving policies.

National Governors Association
The National Governors Association (NGA) is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors.

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For Youth 

Casey Family Programs
“The nation’s largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system . . . [that works to] provide and improves—and ultimately prevents the need for—foster care in the United States.”

  • Casey Life Skills
    “A free practice tool and framework for working with youth in foster care [that] assesses independent living skills and provides results instantly.” Contains tools for assessing the types of behaviors and competencies youth need to acquire in order to achieve their long-term goals. Includes customized learning plans to help adolescents in foster care prepare for adulthood, and develop healthy and productive lives.

Foster Club
“FosterClub's mission is to lead the efforts of young people in and from foster care to become connected, educated, inspired and represented so they can realize their personal potential and contribute to a better life for their peers.”

  • Transition Toolkit
    The toolkit is designed to help youth and their team of adult supporters take inventory of your current assets, identify your resources, and map out a plan for the challenges after foster care.


Preparing for National Foster Care Month 

National Foster Care Month
Provides links to information about foster care. Includes a link to the 2015 Foster Care Month Toolkit, which can be used to plan local activities to observe the month.

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