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FOSTERING AND ADOPTING THE CHILD WHO HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED




PURPOSE

The Fostering and Adopting the Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused program has been designed to support experienced foster and adoptive parents who have completed a general program of preparation for their role. This program supports experienced parents by developing specialized insights and skills for working with children and birth families where there has been sexual abuse. This program of 12 meetings has been developed with the help of foster parents, adoptive parents and child welfare staff in the state of Georgia, who participated in the pilot test of the program and provided feedback on the design.

This program is designed to be led by foster parents, adoptive parents and agency staff who have experience leading general preparation training of foster and adoptive parents. The program requires a parent co-leader and a staff co-leader to present the program as a team. This co-leadership models for participants the agency’s teamwork with foster and adoptive parents, an essential component of the Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting.

The purpose of this program is to help parents develop four essential core abilities (Meetings 1 through 4) and seven specialized core abilities (Meetings 5 through 12) for working with children and families where there has been sexual abuse. Each of these essential and specialized core abilities is supported by specific enabling abilities.

Child welfare administrators, program managers and trainers will need to evaluate the current training needs in their community in order to select from the meetings that develop the seven specialized core abilities. For example, if a foster or adoptive parent has recently been accused of sexual abuse of a child in his or her care, then Meeting 10, "Handling False Allegations of Sexual Abuse," might be scheduled soon after the four essential core abilities are presented in the first four meetings.


THE FOUR ESSENTIAL AND SEVEN SPECIALIZED CORE ABILITIES

The basic Fostering and Adopting the Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused program, consisting of Meetings 1, 2, 3 and 4, develops the basic knowledge and skills for fostering and adopting the child who has been sexually abused.

Following completion of the basic program, participants will have developed four essential core abilities. There are seven specialized core abilities which are supplemental to the basic four core abilities. Each of these seven specialized abilities is supported by enabling skills.

  • Essential Core Ability No. 1


    Participants will be able to identify the relationships among a person who sexually abuses, family members who do not abuse and the child who is sexually abused.

  • Essential Core Ability No. 2


    Participants will be able to identify the signs of sexual abuse.

  • Essential Core Ability No. 3


    Participants will be able to identify needs and general strategies for meeting the needs of children who have been sexually abused.

  • Essential Core Ability No. 4


    Participants will be able to help children adjust to placement when children experience the double trauma of sexual abuse and placement.

  • Specialized Core Ability No. 5


    Participants will be able to meet the needs of children who have been sexually abused and who express needs in challenging ways.

  • Specialized Core Ability No. 6


    Participants will be able to manage the impact on the adoptive or foster family of a child who has been sexually abused.

  • Specialized Core Ability No. 7


    Participants will be able to meet the needs of a child who has not disclosed sexual abuse, but whose behavior indicates prior sexual abuse.

  • Specialized Core Ability No. 8


    Participants will be able to take primary responsibility for protecting the child from further sexual abuse.

  • Specialized Core Ability No. 9


    Participants will be able to respond constructively if a child falsely accuses them of sexual abuse.

  • Specialized Core Ability No. 10


    Participants will be able to participate as active members of the child welfare team.

  • Specialized Core Ability No. 11


    Participants will be able to develop a partnership with birth parents.

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