Advanced Trainings for Kin, Foster & Adoptive caregivers are offered regularly online through our e-learning portal.

Online training topics include:

Caring for Opioid Exposed Infants

This class was designed for families that are providing, or are willing to provide foster care for children that have been exposed to opioids in utero. Over the last few years the number of infants in care due to the opioid epidemic in Vermont has continued to increase. This class is our attempt to provide some specialized information and resources on how to best care for these infants, how to understand your role within the foster care system, and to share the resources in your communities that can assist you in your responsibility as a foster parent.
In addition, this class will provide education on the reality of addiction and recovery and its impact on birth families and children and your role in helping these families meet their responsibilities in parenting children at risk.

Its content will promote our beliefs that most infants with proper post-natal care and intervention can be healthy and thrive. Your role in caring for these infants is very important work, and we hope this class can provide some assistance in your role as caregiver.


Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Training for Caregivers

In this 3 hour important online training for kin, foster and adoptive caregivers, you will raise your awareness of the child welfare system response to commercial sexual exploitation of children and the role of foster parents/caregivers. You will learn about the Federal definition of commercial exploitation of children/sex trafficking.

You will gain the tools to recognize risk factors associated with children and youth who may become victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children/sex trafficking and the impact of commercial sexual exploitation of children on survivors.

Like other types of abuses and injustices, there are signs of human and sex trafficking. As a caregiver, you are positioned in a place to respond to youth in foster care who are survivors, or at risk of being victims, of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Your engagement and participation can make a difference in the life of the youth you are caring for!


Court Overview Training for Caregivers

You will be provided an overview of the family court system and the ways in which the caregivers, parents, children and the department of children and families interact with it. As you move through the course, you will hear similar ideas that build upon this broad overview, in greater detail.

The court system and family services use a lot of unique vocabulary, or jargon. This can be difficult to understand and may take a little while to learn. You will review some of that jargon to help you understand what is being discussed in your meetings and during hearings.

The opening of a case can be a trying time for both the child in your care and for caregivers. It is also difficult for families. Often times the beginning of a case happens quickly and information is still coming into the department of children and families. You will review some of the things you can expect during the opening of a case.

During the life of a case, Family Services gathers a lot of information. Some of this information is available to you as a caregiver, and some may not be. Court hearings are also a place where a lot of information is discussed. It is important to know what you have access to and what needs to be kept confidential. You will learn about how you may get access to information and notified of hearings.

Case planning is both a team effort and held by the family services worker. There are policies and information that impact case planning and what it looks like. As a caregiver, you are an important part of the team. You will explore ways that you can support case planning, communicate efficiently and document appropriately. Your knowledge of the child and your observations during the life of the case are crucial!

You will also walk through each hearing, one by one and learn more about what may occur during this hearing. You will learn about potential outcomes and what governs the information may be presented during the hearing. You gain greater insight into the specific court process that occurs.

LGBTQ+ 101 for Caregivers

The purpose of LGBTQ+ 101: Caring for DCF Involved Youth is to provide Family Service Workers, partner agency staff and foster families with a basic understanding of the experiences and needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) youth who are involved with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). This training provides an overview of basic information that will help foster an understanding of how to support youth.

You will look at policies and practice requirements for Family Services. You will understand developmental milestones and typical gender and sexual identity markers and how to use affirmative language in response. You will gain strategies for working with LGBTQ youth and learn more about the statistical landscape of experiences and risks for LGBTQ identified youth. You will also gain an understanding of local and national resources for supporting youth and have the opportunity for self-assessment and practice.

As a caregiver for youth in custody, you will interact with members of all groups (ethnic, racial, spiritual, sexual orientation, gender identity, political, social class, age, cultural beliefs and dietary differences etc.). To support these relationships it will be important to demonstrate respect of differences, actively seek knowledge of cultural values and ethnicity, and apply this knowledge in caring for children in foster care and being a member of a child welfare team.


Fundamentals of Trauma Informed Practice

This training is offered through the Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership and the Placement Stability Project with support from the University of Vermont. It is an 11 module course that has the ability to offer discipline specific CEU’s. Please check the training for more details.

Participants will gain a foundational understanding of the key concepts of family systems work, family therapy and the specialized treatments necessary for youth exposed to chronic trauma.

Participants will learn and identify key concepts of attachment and attachment theory. They will learn to understand why and how youth develop healthy & unhealthy attachment styles and understand the necessary components of attachment focused parenting.

Participants will be provided a broad overview of the human brain, major brain structures, and their functions. They will learn about the developmental processes that shape the brain from conception through adolescence. Participants will learn about the impact of maternal mental illness, stress, and drug and alcohol use in utero on brain development. They will also discuss the impact of child maltreatment on the brain and the developmental functioning of children. Participants will learn to identify resilience factors that can positively influence brain development in children and youth.

Individuals will learn about developmental trauma by exploring the 12 core concepts of Traumatic Stress in Children and Families. They will be able to identify the complex ways that trauma can affect children.

The course will explain what assessment is, and is not and what types of assessments are available. It will go into further detail about the need for ongoing assessment and how they are used to inform case formulation.

Participants will learn about the stages of change, the key elements of Motivational interviewing and be able to demonstrate the 4 core Motivational Interviewing skills. They will increase awareness of racial, ethnic, and class biases and be able to define cultural and linguistic competency and indicate familiarity with the stages of cultural competency (or continuum).

This course will define secondary traumatic stress (STS), risk factors and signs and symptoms. Participants will learn about assessment tools and strategies for addressing STS.

Participants will learn skills in reflective practice for providers who work with children and families who have been exposed to trauma.
Fundamentals in Adoption Competency


Fundamentals in Adoption Competency

This training offers participants the opportunity to learn about adoption history and ethical considerations in permanency and adoption. Participants will be able to understand basic brain development, identify differences between acute trauma, chronic trauma, and complex trauma and understand the way trauma impacts a child’s brain development. Caregivers will then be able to identify factors that support resilience for children with traumatic histories.

This training will identify the 7 core issues in adoption, and how they affect adopted children, adoptive families and birth families. Though adoptive families offer permanency for their children, caregivers will understand the concept of ambiguous loss and how it relates to the concept of permanency and adoption. Participants will be able to identify how permanency and adoption impact children at all stages of development from birth to adulthood.

Caregivers will learn about the basic tenets of the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act and the Indian Child Welfare Act and understand how race and culture interacts with identity development. The training will help you to understand the concerns that transracially adopted or placed children might face. It will also discuss the topic of the different types of openness in adoption and identify some of the benefits and some of the challenges of that openness.

Lastly, participants will be able to understand the differences between types of placement discontinuity including adoption disruption, dissolution, and displacement. You will know the main impacts of placement discontinuity on children and parents and about what factors research has found correlate to future placement discontinuities. It is important that you are able to recognize “red flags” that might indicate potential placement discontinuity. To help you maintain placement stability, you will gain some tools and strategies that help families prepare for a child’s transition from out-of-home residential treatment facility back to the adoptive home.

Below are links to more information regarding upcoming Advanced Training:

Additional Resources