Sunday, December 17, 2017

Adoption / Caregiver Training: Day 1

I've started my training! It's officially called Orientation for Caregiver Training or OTC.

Training is offered two times a year and runs for 4 days total. This time it runs Fri and Sat from 9:00 to 4:00.

My mailed acceptance letter didn't arrive so I emailed  and got one so here's hoping the mailed version didn't have any added pamphlets or anything. (Fun fact- many of us had trouble finding the building as the address was wrong and it was just a door to a small entryway, no large signs to indicate anything so I suggest calling before hand and asking where the building is and what it looks like.)

From what I've gathered this training will help us understand the types of children in care, a variety of needs, and how to best care for them. After this is the home study (see the timeline here.)

There was about 15 people, me being the only singleton (no surprise there) and only person from my area. Most were there for foster or kinship care training. We met in a boardroom-type room with view of a slide show.

Day 1

Session 1: The caregiver's Journey Begins

Table of Contents
  • Exploring Motivation to Foster, Adopt, or Provide Kinship Care
  • Your Values as a Family
  • Your Cultural Practices
  • How if Your Self-Esteem?
  • Temperament and Goodness of Fit
  • Matching
We played a matching game. Each person was given either a parent card or a kid card and told to find their match. My card said "I am patient. I understand some people need extra routine to learn things." I went around asking kids if they needed repetition and everyone said "no". I found kids that said "I have Cerebral Palsy and want to die", and "I want a relationship with my birth parents." Well, I could be a fit for them but was it my "perfect" fit?

On my second round I found a kid with a card that said "I am an 8-year-old boy. I am very proud I can count to 10." We passed each other by but then I realized that he should be at a higher counting skill and maybe he needed repetition and routine. I found my match.

Two kids and two parents didn't find a match. One of the hosts pointed out that sometimes that happens. We were invited to share our thoughts and I said that my card could have fit with a couple kids as it was quite generic and she spoke about how some fits can be fine but others better and how it could sometimes be difficult to make matches with what might not be much info.

Session 2: Child Development and Well-Being

Table of Contents
  1. Why is Knowledge of Child Development Important?
  2. Parenting Styles
  3. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  4. Typical Child Development
  5. Domains of Development
  6. Culture and Family Experiences Influence Development
  7. Indigenous Children and Development
  8. Brian Development
  9. Types of Special Needs
Maslow's Hierarchy states that needs have an order or precedence to them and if the needs before it aren't met that we can't move upwards. (My notes don't exactly match the picture above but they're similar.)

The bottom is physical needs: air, food, sleeps, health, etc.
Next is safety needs: protection, order, peace, etc.
Love needs: acceptance, affection, participation in a group, etc.
Self-Esteem needs: recognition, confidence, achievement, etc.
Self Actualization needs: concern for human rights, global issues, justice, etc

If you are unable to to eat or sleep, how likely are you to have confidence or creativity? If you don't feel safe how likely are you to voice an opinion in a group? "Not everyone may move through the hierarchy in one upward direction but may move back and forth between the types of needs."

We later spoke about Culture and Family Experiences. Most of our examples relate to Indigenous peoples as they are higher represented in care. It was said that caregivers are encouraged and expected to find and participate in cultural activities even if the children didn't do so with their biological family. One person asked "why?" and raised their point. The hosts were/are very well spoken but did point out that this seems to be a point that people often make but wouldn't say "they didn't get good nutrition before, why would I give it to them now?".

The Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act states:

"If the child is an aboriginal child, the uniqueness of aboriginal culture, heritage, spirituality, and traditions should be respected and consideration should be given to the importance f preserving the child's cultural identity."

My book goes on to say: "If a foster or kinship family does not feel comfortable becoming involved in supporting a child's culture, then foster/kinship care is not really for that family. Adoptive families are highly encouraged to allow their adopted child to grow up understanding, appreciating, and participating in his or her own culture." 

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