Training for Becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent in Illinois

Parents considering foster care and adoption in Illinois are asked to attend 39 hours of pre-service training to prepare them for the process.

Pre-Service Foster / Adoptive Parent Training (PRIDE Training)

Foster and adoptive parents throughout Illinois are asked to attend 39 hours of pre-service training (called PRIDE TRAINING) in order to develop skills and better understand what will be asked of them and what they can expect as foster and adoptive parents.

The training is organized into 9 sessions of 3 hours each of PRIDE Pre-Service Training. There is an additional 12 hours of PRIDE Pre-Service Supplemental Training. This additional 12 hours can be done online or in-person but must be completed within 30 days after completing the 9th session.

The training is held on weeknights and on Saturdays at various locations in the Metro-East area. The training is team-taught by an experienced foster or adoptive parent and by a social worker.

Agencies realize that attending PRIDE training requires a large time commitment and are grateful for your willingness to participate. The training is thorough and practical.

Foster PRIDE / Adoptive PRIDE (Overview of Sessions)

Session One: Connecting with PRIDE
This session gives you the unique opportunity to learn about the world of foster care and adoption through the stories of children receiving child welfare services. You will discover how families are licensed and certified for this important work.

Session Two: Teamwork toward Permanency
This session lays the foundation for understanding how to support a child’s birth family relationships by first exploring the ways in which families support a child’s identity, cultural heritage, and self-esteem. You will also learn why we value permanence in the lives of children and how we seek to provide it. You will learn why teamwork is the best way to promote permanence for children and families.

Session Three: Meeting Developmental Needs – Attachment
When children are separated from the only family they have known, an overwhelming sense of loss may slow growth and development. This session covers the types of losses children have, stages of loss, and their impact on the child, along with how loss affects the child’s behavior.

Session Four: Meeting Developmental Needs – Loss
When children are separated from the only family they have known, an overwhelming sense of loss may slow growth and development. This session covers the types of losses children have, stages of loss, and their impact on the child, along with how loss affects the child’s behavior.

Session Five: Strengthening Family Relationships
This session focuses on how families instill identity, cultural heritage, and self-esteem in children. It also considers how the team can support the goal of reunification. Session Five gives very practical information about how to plan for visits, how to get children ready for them, and how to handle their reactions when the visit ends.

Section Six: Meeting Developmental Needs – Discipline
Session Six explores the challenge of discipline. It includes a definition of discipline, a set of goals, and a discussion about how discipline is different from punishment. You will review the agency’s policy on discipline and discuss why physical punishment is not permitted.

Section Seven: Continuing Family Relationships
In this session, a “Job Description for Permanency Planning Team Members” outlines the specific tasks needed in order to help children achieve their permanent goal. Goals for reaching permanence are detailed, starting with efforts to support families, and to place children back in their birth families or in the home of a relative.

Section Eight: Planning for Change
Session Eight takes a practical view of what to expect during the first hours, days, and weeks of a child’s placement in a home. You will learn what to ask the worker and how to talk to the child. You will also have the opportunity to explore how placement will impact your family, and particularly your own children.

Session Nine: Making an Informed Decision
In this closing session, you will hear from a panel of experienced members of the foster care team. Birth parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, workers, and other members of the child welfare team present their views and answer questions. You will be on your way toward a final decision about making a commitment to becoming a foster or adoptive parent.

PRIDE Pre-Service Supplemental Training Overview

Trauma – This session reinforces the important role foster and adoptive parents assume in helping children recover from traumatic events. It is based on the premise that the more foster and adoptive parents learn about how traumatic events affect children, the more they will understand the reasons for children’s behaviors, and motions, and be better prepared to help them cope. This session provides participants with a chance to explore the Resources for Parents and Caregivers page on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, or NCTSN website. This training suggests that they will need to continue to explore trauma as they proceed in their foster and/or adoptive caregiver experience. The NCTSN site is recommended as an excellent resource they can utilize as a member of the Child Welfare professional team to help children in their care recover, heal and grow

Social Media Training for Caregivers – This training provides information and guidance on Department policy and the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved (including foster caregivers) with youth in care relative to usage of social media and digital communication devices.

Life of the Case – Part I- Every child wants and deserves a permanent home and family. In foster care we try to help foster children return to their birth families. This training, which is the first of two parts, walks participants through events in this journey.

Life of the Case – Part II – This training will enable the participants to continue through the Life of the Case. Participants will examine three components from the foster caregiver’s perspective.

Keeping Children Connected (Maintaining Sibling relationships) – This session examines the subject of keeping children connected to their brothers and sisters. Participants learn effective communication and relationship building techniques to use in their work with youth-in-care. They will also gain clinical insight and skills to foster positive connections with families while learning how to support and guide youth-in-care.

Human Trafficking Training for Caregivers – This training explores Human Trafficking from the perspective of the foster caregiver. The participants examine the essential components of human trafficking and the threats it poses due to the child’s risks based on their history of abuse and neglect, lack of positive connections and mental health or behavioral issues. This session will help participants learn enough about child trafficking to do all they can to help keep our children safe.