National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative
(2)
Image For Activity Cover
Availability
On-Demand
10 Courses
Expires on Apr 04, 2026
Cost
$0.00
Credit Offered
25 CME Credits
25 Psychology CE Credits
25 Social Work CE Credits
25 COP Credits

The National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training for Mental Health Professionals provides the foundational knowledge, values and skills needed to enhance adoption competency for mental health professionals providing or interested in providing therapeutic or clinical services to children, youth and families experiencing adoption or guardianship. Core competencies include understanding and addressing the complex and often nuanced mental health needs of children experiencing adoption and guardianship, with a focus on the impact of grief and loss, trauma, attachment, identity challenges, and the impact of race, ethnicity, culture, class, and diversity on adoption and guardianship especially for transracial and transcultural families.

In addition to sharing clinical best practices in assessment and treatment and therapeutic parenting strategies, NTI provides an overview of evidence-based and evidence-informed treatment models that have been shown to be effective in helping children and youth heal from trauma and strengthen attachments.

Format

NTI for Child Welfare Supervisors is a 25+ hour web-based training to help mental health professionals learn the skills to address mental health challenges of children and youth in foster, adoptive and guardianship families.

Learning Objectives

Module 1: 

  • Identify core knowledge, values, and skills that characterize an adoption competent mental health professional.
  • Recognize the importance of using positive adoption language.
  • Identify and integrate into your practice the guiding principles that inform adoption competent clinical interventions to address the unique mental health needs of children, youth, and their families.
  • To understand the negative impact of impermanence on mental health and adjustment in adoptive and guardianship families.
  • To integrate this understanding into the foundation of your practice with children, youth, and families.
  • Describe the pathways to adoption and guardianship and how practice has changed over time.
  • Identify common myths about adoption and describe the accurate information associated with each myth.
  • The objective for this lesson is to identify the salient clinical issues associated with the various adoption and guardianship options.

Module 2: 

Identify and understand the risk and protective factors for children and families through the lens of adoption and guardianship.

  • Integrate the impact of risk and protective factors through the exploration of case examples.
  • Understand how early life experiences and risk and protective factors impact a child's or youth’s mental health and well-being, and to conduct assessment through an adoption and guardianship.
  • Recognize the importance of knowing children’s unique and complete story and the negative impacts of missing or misinformation and secrets.
  • Help children and youth construct a coherent life narrative that makes sense of their experiences and supports a positive identity.
  • Identify and describe the developmental stages and challenges of the adopted individual’s and adoptive family’s life cycle.
  • Recognize the need for family systems work with parents as primary agents of healing and the experts on their child.
  • Identify and describe goals for family work and strategies for engaging families.
  • Identify and describe the core mental health issues that are addressed in adoption competent clinical interventions with children, youth, and their adoptive and guardianship families.
  • Recognize limitations of current diagnostic assessment and medication practices commonly used with children and youth with foster and/or institutional care experiences.
  • Identify and describe strategies for effective collaboration with child welfare and other professionals that promotes information sharing, appropriate treatment planning and intervention, and parental involvement in the therapeutic process.

Module 3: 

  • Comprehend attachment and recognize its critical importance for children’s development.
  • Synthesize an understanding of attachment patterns and challenges in your work with families and the importance of appropriate diagnosis of attachment disorders.
  • Assess the impact of early insecure attachment on brain structure and social, emotional, verbal, and cognitive development.
  • Integrate common treatment goals for reparative work in your clinical practice with children, youth, and families.
  • Describe the process of early attachment formation and behaviors associated with child and parent attachment styles.
  • Integrate adoption competent clinical practices to assess attachment history.
  • Integrate into clinical practice strategies and therapeutic tools for helping families understand and honor their children’s previous attachments and unique story.
  • Integrate into clinical practice strategies and therapeutic tools for helping families:
  • Address attachment challenges.
  • Create a healing environment that facilitates attachment.
  • Employ therapeutic parenting strategies that enhance children’s safety and attachment.
  • Identify clinical practices associated with attachment that are not effective and could even be potentially harmful.
  • Identify and describe strategies and therapeutic tools for helping families understand and honor their children’s and youth’s previous attachments and unique story.
  • Integrate therapeutic parenting strategies that enhance children’s and youth’s attachment.

Module 4: 

  • To identify and describe principles and key features of grief models and the mental health impacts and behaviors associated with ambiguous loss and unresolved grief
  • Describe the child’s developmental understanding of loss in adoption.
  • Describe the stages of grief for a child and common behaviors associated with those losses.
  • Integrate two loss and grief models that support grief work in your clinical practice.
  • Identify the impact of abandonment and rejection on mental health, how it presents clinically, how to support children through separation, and implications for therapeutic intervention, and
  • Describe the nature and therapeutic value of life books, loss boxes, journaling, bibliotherapy, and other tools that facilitate reflection about losses and the grieving process and build readiness for new relationships.
  • Identify and describe therapeutic strategies that help caregivers become aware of their own losses
  • Understand their child’s behaviors within the context of their loss and grief history
  • Employ rituals and experiences that help children and youth put a voice to their loss and
  • Identify special issues in relative caregiving, adoption, and guardianship

Module 5: 

  • Identify and describe types of trauma and implications for therapeutic intervention with each
  • Describe the impact of trauma and early and ongoing adverse experiences on brain development, behavior, and identity formation
  • Identify relevant diagnoses associated with trauma and the diagnostic limitations
  • Describe adoption competent clinical assessment practices and tools to assess trauma history and its impact on functioning to assure appropriate diagnosis.
  • Identify and describe therapeutic strategies and interventions with children that establish feelings of emotional safety, build coping and regulatory skills, and readiness to process emotions related to traumatic experiences, and
  • Integrate into your clinical practice therapeutic strategies that assist parents to provide the healing environment for their children to begin development of coping and self-regulation strategies
  • Establish safety and readiness to help children process emotions
  • Build coping and regulatory skills with children and youth
  • Assist parents to provide structure and routines, experiences that nurture and heal
  • Support the development of coping and self-regulation strategies.

Module 6: 

  • Identify differences among race, ethnicity, culture, class, and, children’s and youth’s awareness of these at different developmental stages.
  • Understand the process of racial identity development throughout the lifespan.
  • Demonstrate awareness of your own biases and commitment to culturally sensitive clinical practices and to preserve and honor children’s and youth’s culture, race, and ethnicity.
  • Increase your understanding of the complexities of adoption and guardianship in diverse families
  • Transform your clinical practice to meet the unique challenges of adoption and guardianship families.
  • Describe adoption competent clinical practices to assess racial cultural identity in children and youth and parental capacity to parent children of various cultures or gender identities.
  • Integrate into your clinical practice therapeutic strategies for assisting parents to initiate conversations with their children about race, ethnicity, and culture, understand the impact on their child’s mental health, and to support the integration of identities.
  • Facilitate parent’s understanding of how racial identity, bias, discrimination, and racism in transracial families impacts children’s mental health.
  • Integrate assessment and facilitation skills to enhance parental capacity to parent children in transracial and transcultural placements.
  • Identify and describe therapeutic strategies for assisting parents to initiate conversations with their children about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) and to support the integration of identities.
  • Identify and describe considerations related to supporting children placed in households with parents who have diverse SOGIE.

Module 7: 

  • Identify and describe how our identity is shaped, and the impact of adoption on identity formation.
  • Understand adolescence as the pivotal time for clarifying identity.
  • Integrate identity work in your clinical practice with adoptive youth and families.
  • Recognize adolescence as a pivotal time in identity formation and understand the importance of helping the youth integrate their story.
  • Identify and describe the nature of “stuck spots” in identity formation experienced by adopted children and youth, related developmental tasks, and therapeutic interventions recognized as effective.
  • Identify, and integrate clinical practices to assist youth in exploring dimensions of their identity and integrating their life story
  • Integrate into your clinical practice strategies to help youth manage difficult or intrusive questions or comments about their adoption story.
  • Identify and describe therapeutic interventions appropriate to assist parents to understand the identity formation process, support identity exploration, share difficult information and overcome their own fears.
  • Describe the clinical implications of current search and reunion practices.
  • Integrate into your clinical practice adoption competent strategies appropriate to assist parents to understand the identity formation process in connection with search and reunion, and the importance of their support during the search/reunion process if it occurs.

Module 8: 

  • Understand and integrate an adoption competent assessment protocol into your clinical practice.
  • Determine applicability of standardized assessment tools in working with adoption and guardianship families.
  • Recognize issues in assessment unique to relative care providers across diverse populations and cultures.
  • Synthesize your understanding of these issues into your clinical practice.
  • Formulate treatment plans that support secure attachments, resolution of grief and loss, self- regulation skills, and continued positive identity formation within a healing family environment.
  • Recognize the family as the core client and demonstrate a commitment to family systems work.
  • Understand the treatment implications regarding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder for this population.

Module 9: 

  • Describe the therapeutic strategies for helping parents develop realistic expectations and reframe discipline as teaching.
  • Help parents promote felt safety for the child and help establish parents as the primary agents of healing and safety.
  • Identify and describe specific therapeutic strategies to assist parents to:
  • Develop nurturing, trusting relationships with children who have attachment and behavioral challenges,
  • Provide a healthy balance of nurture and structure in the parent-child interaction, and
  • Support the development of the child’s capacity for self-regulation and healthy coping
  • Support parents to provide a healthy balance of nurture and structure in parent-child interaction.
  • Learn strategies that support the development of the youth’s capacity for self-regulation and healthy coping
  • Identify and describe very challenging child and teen behaviors and family problems experienced in adoptive and guardianship families.
  • Integrate into your clinical practice specific therapeutic strategies with parents to address challenging behaviors and avoid power struggles.
  • Describe therapeutic approaches that assist children and youth with deficits in brain development to make progress in treatment.
  • Integrate into your practice motivational interviewing techniques to address lack of treatment progress.

Module 10: 

  • Recognize adoption as a life-long process, with ongoing elevated mental health needs often years after placement.
  • Identify and describe the continuum of post-adoption mental health needs and the services that help to sustain families and promote stability.
  • Understand the different types of adoption and guardianship instability and contributing factors present.
  • Identify key characteristics of post-adoption work across the life cycle.
  • Assess the need to collaborate and advocate with multiple systems to support family stability and child well-being.
  • Engage relevant professionals and systems in addressing child and family needs.
  • Identify your strengths as an adoption competent therapist and recognize areas in which you can expand your knowledge.
  • Identify how this curriculum has impacted your clinical practice.

Target Audience

Child Welfare Administrator/Manager/Supervisor, Tribal Child Welfare Provider

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 30+ hour web-based training
Begin Date: April 4, 2023
End Date: April 4, 2026

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, CE credit for psychologists, CE credit for social workers, or a certificate of participation may do so by viewing the live presentation and completing the evaluation. Participants claiming CE credit for psychologists and those claiming CE credit for Social workers, must have full attendance to claim credit. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians), CE certificate (psychologists), CE certificate (social workers) or certificate of participation (other disciplines) showing the event date and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Physicians 

The APA designates this enduring event for a maximum of 25.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Psychologists 

Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibility for the content of the programs.  

Social Workers  

As a Jointly Accredited Organization, American Psychiatric Association (APA) is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. APA maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 25 continuing education credits.

 

Continuing education requirements vary from state to state. Many state boards grant reciprocity with national accrediting organizations and other state boards. It is the responsibility of each professional tounderstand the requirements for license renewal or check with the state or national licensing board and/or professional organization to become more familiar with their policies for acceptable continuing education credit. Social workers and Psychologists should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval.

 

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

The American Psychiatric Association adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CME activity — including faculty, planners, reviewers or others — are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity. 

Program Presenters

  • Uma Ahluwalia, MSM, Former Director, Montgomery County (MD), consultant with Health Management, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Carol Bishop, MA, Co-founder, Kinship Center, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • David Brodzinsky, PhD,Development, clinical, and forensic psychologist, Family Mental Health Consultants, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Terry Cross, LCSW, Senior Advisor, National Indian Child Welfare, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Susan Livingston Smith, ACSW, LCSW, MSW, Adoption Consultant, Center for Adoption Support & Education Harmony Family Services, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Madelyn Dewoody Freundlich, M.S.W., M.P.H., J.D., LL.M, Managing Director and Senior Child Welfare Consultant, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.

Program Planners

  • Uma Ahluwalia, MSM, Former Director, Montgomery County (MD), consultant with Health Management, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Carol Bishop, MA, Co-founder, Kinship Center, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • David Brodzinsky, PhD,Development, clinical, and forensic psychologist, Family Mental Health Consultants, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Terry Cross, LCSW, Senior Advisor, National Indian Child Welfare, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Susan Livingston Smith, ACSW, LCSW, MSW, Adoption Consultant, Center for Adoption Support & Education Harmony Family Services, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Jan Dick, LCSW, MSW, Retired Director of Child and Family Permanency, Family & Children’s Service Nashville, TN, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Nicole Dobbins, Child Welfare Partnership, Casey Family Programs, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Jetaine Hart, Consultant, Foster Youth in Action, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Rebecca Jones Gaston, MSW, Former Deputy Executive Dir., Social Services Administration, Maryland Department of Human Services; current Director, Child Welfare, Oregon DHS, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Darla Henry, Ph.D., Trainer, Consultant, Author of 3-5-7 Model, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Sarah Gerstenzang, LCSW, MSW, Clinical Social Worker; Birth, Foster/Adoptive and Kinship Parent, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Cassandra Kiesel, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Traci LaLiberte, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare University of Minnesota, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Ruth McRoy, Ph.D, Adoption Researcher/Scholar, Boston College School of Social Work, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Susan Rich, MD, MPH, Child/Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist, Potomac, MD, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Derrick Riggins, Consultant, Former foster youth, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Susan Smith, LCSW, Professor Emerita, School of Social Work, Illinois State University, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Nicki Steinhof, Former Chief Strategy Officer and Director of Training & Community Support, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.
  • Karri Vasquez, Consultant, Foster/Adoptive Parent, Reports no financial relationships with commerical interests.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

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Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
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Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
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