FIRST (Fostering Idaho Resources & Skills Training) is broken down into 7 sessions and meets for 3 hours per class. Classes are co-facilitated by a team that includes an experienced trainer, Idaho Health and Welfare staff, and foster parents. The purpose of this training is to support and prepare families. Sometimes, prospective foster and adoptive parents have unrealistic ideas about what is expected of them, what the children will be like, and how the child welfare system works.
FIRST is a competency-based and trauma-informed model founded on the belief that resource families need to have special strengths, knowledge, skills, and a community of support to be successful. The curriculum is based on competencies that promote the understanding of how to help children who have been abused and/or neglected and also to strengthen all families. The classes clarify what resources parents are expected to know and can provide for children in their care. Another aspect is the relationship of the family assessment (home study) to the competencies. Disruptions occur when resource parents do not have the willingness, ability, or resources to fulfill one or more of these competencies. This Model of Practice integrates pre-service training and assessments, to ensure that they have the willingness, ability, and resources to demonstrate these competencies. The competencies include the following set of skills.
Resource families need to know how to best help a child feel safe and nurtured (even when there are big behaviors).
Resource families need to know how to find resources and how to work to best meet a child’s needs. They also need to know how to help a child overcome developmental (physical, emotional, intellectual) delays due to neglect and trauma.
Resource families need to know how to best help children build relationships with their birth family (whether children have a lot, little, or no contact with their families, they have feelings about them). Best practice dictates that child welfare services promote healing between children and their families.
Families need to know how to help children build other connections that will sustain them through life. (Children need continuity, commitment, and legal social status that comes from having a family of one’s own.)
Foster and adoptive parents need to understand how to be part of a team to help children and their families. (Children from trauma need this team approach.)
It is important to be prepared and well trained before embarking on the beautiful adventure of foster care. We understand it is difficult to fit in 27 hours into your month and find childcare. We also believe this information is important for the little lives coming into your home. Trainers agree to give their 100% to each class and will make it informative, practical, and real. We offer hearty refreshments at the start of class to transition your workday into a learning setting. We provide a manual, pens, and assessment forms.
Try to arrange your schedule to avoid missing class. Though you can re-schedule a class, it prolongs the process and can change the make-up of the class members. We do ask that you bring your own water or drink to each class. Do whatever you need to do for yourself to get the most out of this information. Some people find the course fast-paced; others think it is slow. If you need doodling pads, gum, fidget toys, etc., please bring them.