The second component is Classroom-Based Training which includes both in-person and online training elements. The classroom-based training provides concrete information on the roles and responsibilities of parents who foster and/or adopt as well as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to effectively parent children who have experienced trauma, separation and/or loss. Each theme has clearly delineated competencies. The content is presented using various teaching modalities, including: skill based practice, activities, lecture, videos, small and large group discussions. This type of content layered learning includes approximately 15 minutes of lecture which is then reinforced with some type of interactive learning. There are “hands-on” activities and group work to encourage brainstorming and deeper conversations. Clips from media are used including Instant Family, Foster and Dark Matters of Love as well as media specifically designed for NTDC. Families are able to apply the information to their own life through writings of self-reflection and relevance. The curriculum is designed to be quick moving with lots of interaction.
The classroom content builds upon 19 themes that were determined to be essential for families who want to foster or adopt. There are 4 additional themes that are specific to one of NTDC’s target population. Each theme is one to two hours of classroom instruction plus 30 minutes of prework which families complete outside of the classroom. The prework consists of a podcast and sometimes an additional article or video. The prework is designed to provide parents with a basic understanding of the material that will be covered in the classroom. Characteristics of successful foster and adoptive parents that are included in the self-assessment are also highlighted in each theme. Because the characteristics align with the self-assessment, the facilitator has the opportunity to encourage parents to re-visit the results of their self-assessment: reminding themselves of their strengths or challenge areas that relate to the theme.
The design of the classroom-based training allows for flexibility in how it is delivered. Sites can chose to reorder themes, combine themes, or eliminate themes. Although we have created a best practice document identifying what we believe to be the optimal way to train the material, we realize that states, counties, tribal nations and territories will need flexibility in order to meet the requirements within their own systems.