The importance of safe and supportive homes for youth in foster care cannot be overstated. The "Safe & Supportive Homes: Family Foster Care Recruitment and Retention" workgroup, part of Vaya's Pathways to Permanency project, has been making significant strides in enhancing the foster care experience for both children and resource families. As an extension of the highly successful virtual Treat Them Like Gold (TTLG) Learning Collaborative, the workgroup is now introducing the All-Staff Treat Them Like Gold Training. This training is designed to provide child welfare professionals across both public and private agencies with invaluable insights into building strong relationships with resource families and fostering lasting placements.
Expanding the Scope
The 6-session virtual learning collaborative for licensing staff received exceptional attendance and feedback from participants. The overwhelming response led to the decision to extend the training's benefits to all agency staff, including front-line social workers and support staff. Recognizing the staffing and capacity challenges faced by many agencies, the workgroup designed the All-Staff TTLG Training as a less intensive yet highly impactful version. This new training focuses on the universal components of the larger training, ensuring that the valuable knowledge and best practices of the training can reach a wider audience.
The All-Staff TTLG Training aims to equip participants with the essential skills and knowledge to strengthen their relationships with resource families. This, in turn, significantly contributes to retaining "happy" resource families, thereby improving the overall recruitment & retention efforts of the agency. The training will offer opportunities for participants to connect with peers in similar roles, fostering a sense of shared learning, community, and collaboration.
The All-Staff TTLG Training covers vital aspects of engaging and supporting resource families. Key components addressed during the training include:
- Key characteristics of partnering with resource families: Understanding the fundamental qualities needed for successful collaboration and support between frontline staff and resource families.
- Building relationships with resource families: Providing practical strategies and tools for front-line staff to foster positive relationships with resource families.
- Offering support that encourages continued fostering: Learning to identify the needs of resource families and providing the necessary support to promote ongoing fostering commitments.
- Building affirming relationships across lines of difference: Cultivating a culture of inclusivity and respect, ensuring that resource families from diverse backgrounds feel valued and appreciated.
- Engaging families effectively: Recognizing the potential challenges and opportunities when engaging with resource families and implementing strategies for effective communication.
- Improving frontline staff support: Enhancing the level of support offered by front-line staff to resource families, leading to increased satisfaction and retention.
By equipping child welfare professionals with the necessary skills and insights, this training aims to contribute to the retention of dedicated resource families. Remember, fostering strong relationships is the heart of successful family foster care, and every staff member plays a critical role in this process. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve!