The Family Resource & Training Center (FRTC) was originally named the Idaho Child Welfare Research and Training Center (ICWRTC) and was initially conceived in 1993 when Eastern Washington University (EWU) partnered with the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare in the interests of creating a small, one-person office where Master of Social Work (MSW) students from the EWU School of Social Work would be able to receive real-life, first-hand field experience working with children and families.
FRTC officially opened in 1997 as a full-fledged Center offering a wide variety of child welfare services, including substance abuse training and child guardianship advocacy. After examining the Center’s needs, EWU and IDHW agreed to enter into a partnership with state colleges and universities to recruit potential undergraduate Child Welfare Workers. They forged partnerships with Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, College of Southern Idaho, North Idaho College, and Northwest Nazarene University in 2001.
In 2002, FRTC partnered with the Foster Parent Initiative and became involved in foster parenting and pre-adoption work. Using the Child Welfare League of America’s PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education) Resource Family Curriculum, the Center began training parents, foster parents, caregivers, social workers, and others.
In 2006, in response to the rising number of Idaho children placed in foster care and the increasing rate of Child Welfare Worker turnover, the Idaho Child Welfare Partnership between the IDHW, Casey Family Programs, EWU, and Boise State University was announced. In an effort to develop a uniform “best practice” for child welfare work, the ICWP formally utilized the PRIDE model; FRTC subsequently became an even more significant source of PRIDE training. FRTC continues to provide a modified PRIDE training today.
In 2007, FRTC & IDHW collaborated to develop and implement a new program for recruitment and retention called Recruitment Peer Mentoring (RPM). The program employs experienced foster parents (RPMs) to share their knowledge and experience with potential foster families. FRTC hired an RPM Coordinator in 2008 and began developing a system of processes and procedures within the Center that would strengthen the RPM program and increase its effectiveness as a foster family recruitment tool.
In 2011 FRTC was formally contracted to conduct Family Group Decision Making meetings. This project had been student-driven up to this point. FRTC employed two full-time and one part-time coordinator. The focus is on family meetings, Independent Living Transition meetings, and search and engagement for family members.
In 2015, FRTC was awarded the State of Washington's Recruitment and Retention Program for Regions 1 & 2 in the eastern part of the state. This contract utilized the RPM program that was developed in Idaho.
In 2016 FRTC was awarded the Idaho Wednesday’s Child contract. This program provides television and other media profile listings for children/youth who are legally free for adoption from foster care. This program is a good fit with FRTC’s work towards supporting permanency for children/youth when they are unable to be reunified or placed with a family.
In the spring of 2019, FRTC was charged with the Foster Care Academy training program. This addition is in alignment with the mission and goals of the FRTC. It also goes back to the roots of how and why the Center was formed. The focus of this program remains on meeting the needs of new social workers through training and coaching during the first year of service and providing support throughout their careers.