Continuing Education for Professionals

Human services professionals need continuing education and support in order to effectively address the complex needs of the children and families they serve. FamilyWorks Together offers specialized training and continuing education services for counselors, therapists, social workers, and other professionals that are designed to increase awareness and enhance knowledge and practical skills.

Our continuing education courses, training, and support services for professionals include:

  • Annual Professional Conference
    Each year, FamilyWorks Together sponsors an educational conference for professionals to share current information and research in the field and to introduce new strategies and techniques that professionals can apply in their daily work with children and families.
  • Consultations
    FamilyWorks Together is available to consult with other agencies or organizations seeking guidance on best practices, program development or replication, clinical issues, and pre/post adoption services and support.
  • Attachment Training Series
    Children who have experienced trauma and multiple disruptions early in life often have difficulty developing healthy, trusting relationships. Many mental health professionals find that their strategies for helping traumatized children and their families are not effective, despite years of training and supervision. Our Attachment Training Series offers licensed mental health professionals five full days of intensive and comprehensive training followed by six months of supervision. Facilitated by trained professionals with expertise in attachment issues, the Attachment Training Series focuses on the latest research, theories, and practices in the field.
  • Agency Business Practices
    This seminar provides instruction in some of the business practices that set FamilyWorks Together apart from other agencies. Topics addressed include ethical principles in the workplace, board development, and staff training, retention and development.
  • Adoption Awareness in the Schools
    Programs for teachers and administrators are designed to provide current and relevant information that can be applied in a meaningful way to their daily work with children. Our goals are to:
    • Help school personnel become more comfortable with adoption, foster, and kinship care issues.
    • Encourage sensitivity to children who have been touched by adoption and other family constellations.
    • Increase confidence and skills in addressing issues regarding adoption and other family constellations.
    • Enhance classroom performance and build the self-esteem of students.
    • Equip school personnel with information and strategies that can be applied to their daily work with adopted children and children in foster and kinship care.
    • Improve communication and collaboration between school personnel and adoptive, foster, and kinship parents.
    Our signature training programs for school professionals include:
    • Adoption, Foster and Kinship Care: Increasing Awareness and Sensitivity in Your School
    • Trauma, Attachment and the Developing Brain: Implications for Behavior Management and School Success

Professional Training Seminars

FamilyWorks Together offers professional training and foster care licensing seminars for human services professionals and the foster/adoptive parents they serve. Training can be conducted at your site and scheduled at a time that is convenient for you. Continuing education units (CEUs) for Maryland social workers can be awarded. A program can also be customized or designed to meet your organization’s specific needs.

Here is a partial list of professional seminars available through our agency:

  • Always Wear Clean Underwear: Ethics in Foster Care and Adoption
    Child welfare professionals are confronted with ethical dilemmas and challenges on a daily basis. This continuing education seminar examines ethical principles and provides a unique decision-making model for the challenging, real-life situations encountered by those who serve children and families. This dynamic and interactive session presents various scenarios for critical consideration and discussion.
  • Advanced Ethics in Child Welfare & Social Work Practice: Multiple Relationships
    Designed for experienced child welfare and social work professionals, this seminar will explore how personal and professional values and ethics impact critical thinking, moral decision making, clinical integrity, and more. Participants will examine the delicate balance between partnering with a family to help them become a stronger unit, and becoming personally enmeshed in a family by creating an unethical multiple relationship. Specific scenarios and ethical dilemmas will be presented and discussed, and participants will be encouraged to engage in self-exploration to enhance their personal and professional growth. Program administrators and supervisors are encouraged to attend.
  • Looking Past Placement: Supporting Permanency
    One of the most crucial aspects of servicing adoptive families is realizing that placement is just the beginning. As professionals, we want to ensure that the needs of our families are met from home study past finalization. Numerous studies highlight that adoptive families require educational services and support in order to decrease the risk of disruption. This seminar provides you with the information needed to provide continuous support and guidance to families as they reach and work to maintain permanency.
  • Complicated Children: Changing Their Behaviors While Helping Them to Heal
    Children with complicated histories of neglect, abuse, and disrupted attachments are a huge challenge to their parents. Their behaviors are often more extreme and harder to change than those of other children their age. Angry outbursts, defiance, lying, stealing, food issues, and toileting issues are just some of the behaviors with which parents struggle. “I’ve taken away all his privileges and nothing makes a difference.” “She just doesn’t care.” These are statements expressed by many families. Parents cannot do a better job without the appropriate guidance and support. This seminar is designed to provide professionals with the tools they need to work with struggling families. They learn why these children behave the way that they do, how to handle behaviors in a way that helps children make long-term changes, and how to recognize and handle a parent’s reactions to their child’s negative behaviors and attitudes. This presentation includes demonstrations of how to address a variety of situations with children of different ages.
  • Preparing Children for Adoption: IT’S A NEW DAY!
    Older children come with a history and understandably have strong feelings about the transition to permanency and adoption. This seminar helps professionals to prepare children for adoption by addressing their attitudes and feelings about adoption. Identity and self esteem issues, talking with peers about adoption, family communication, as well as integrating past and present birth and foster family experiences are all addressed.
  • Managing Difficult Behavior
    This workshop provides alternative and more successful strategies for handling “acting-out” behaviors—lying, stealing, aggression, lack of empathy—that are often exhibited by children in foster care/orphanage environments and treatment facilities. Hands-on exercises, videos, and discussion are all used to reinforce and illustrate important concepts.
  • Impact of Sexual Abuse on Children
    This seminar explores the impact of sexual abuse on children and provides effective treatment strategies that professionals can apply in their daily work. Secondary trauma and compassion fatigue in professionals working with this population are also explored. Interactive exercises, video presentations, and discussion are all incorporated to reinforce and illustrate important concepts.
  • Surviving the Stress of Working with Challenging Children
    It can be extremely stressful to deliver effective service to families and children while managing the demands of a larger caseload and worries about budget cuts and furloughs. The goal of this workshop is for participants to increase their ability to effectively manage the stress they face each day. Through discussion and experiential exercises, participants learn a variety of strategies for dealing with immediate and acute stress as well as more long-term, chronic stress.
  • Effective Stress Management for Busy Parents
    This workshop provides an overview of the symptoms and causes of stress that come with parenting. Participants learn to apply effective stress management techniques that can be used by their clients, such as reframing negative thinking, prioritizing multiple demands, and creating a more positive family environment. Hands-on exercises, videos, and discussion are all used to reinforce and illustrate important concepts.
  • Transracial Placements: Preparing and Supporting Families
    This seminar is designed for professionals working with families who intend to adopt children of another race/ethnic background. It provides strategies to help evaluate a parent’s readiness to embrace a new multiracial family identity by integrating cultural factors at home, school, and in the community.
  • Working with Immigrant Families and Children
    Immigrant families, both documented and undocumented, face unique circumstances. Their struggles may bring them face to face with the child welfare system. This workshop is designed to assist child welfare professionals in working effectively and sensitively with immigrant families and children. An overview of the family and parenting stresses inherent in immigration is presented. Participants learn how these stresses manifest in family dysfunction. Finally, participants are provided with concrete strategies for forming effective alliances and for building on family cultural strengths.
  • Educators and Adoption Professionals as Partners
    Most foster and adoptive families have at least two things in common: (1) working with adoption professionals (i.e., case managers, therapists, social workers) and (2) interacting with education professionals (i.e. teachers, school counselors, principals). As professionals, we all want to help our families develop an understanding of the educational system and how to advocate for their child to receive the appropriate services. When community professionals work together, children are better served. This workshop provides you with strategies to enlist community cooperation.
  • Supporting the Later-Placed Child: Education and Strategies
    Older children come with a history and memories prior to life in their foster or adoptive family. Parents of older children may struggle with how to help their child make a healthy transition and adjustment. Children need help and support to integrate their prior experiences in a way that is meaningful and adaptive. This seminar teaches professionals how to better prepare parents to negotiate the adjustment period, attachment issues, family relationships, behavioral challenges, and support systems. Knowing how to anticipate and respond appropriately to possible crises and challenges increases the likelihood of a successful placement for the older child.
  • Helping Families Talk About Adoption
    One of the most difficult, but important, aspects of being an adoptive parent is learning how to comfortably discuss the adoption experience with a child. Parents all want to respond appropriately to their children’s feelings about adoption, but may lack the skills and confidence to do so. It is equally important for adopted children to be able to share their thoughts, questions, and concerns in an open and supportive environment. Professionals who work with adoptive families are often called upon to support parents in addressing this issue in a developmentally appropriate and healthy manner with their children. This seminar provides information and techniques for professionals to utilize in talking with families about adoption, and to help children and parents cope with comments, feelings, and intrusive questions.
  • Living with FAS/PDE
    Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of the leading causes of mental retardation in this country. FAS and prenatal drug exposure are irreversible lifelong conditions that affect every aspect of a child’s life and the life of their family. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome and prenatal drug exposure typically experience learning and behavioral problems. However, with early identification, diagnosis, and appropriate intervention, children with FAS and PDE can increase their potential to lead healthy, productive lives. This seminar helps professionals better understand the impact of FAS/PDE on the family system so that they can effectively intervene with struggling families.
  • When Families Fall Apart: Understanding the Impact of Disruption
    One of the most challenging aspects of working with adoptive and foster families is the possibility of disruption, which occurs in 10-15% of adoption and foster care situations. As professionals, we want to provide our clients the very best coping strategies and alternatives. Research indicates that parents who utilize social and community resources have higher success rates in surviving the threat of disruption. This seminar provides professionals with the tools necessary to help avert threatened disruption and/or cope with disrupted placement when it does occur.
  • Trauma, Attachment and the Developing Brain
    Over the last several years, knowledge of brain structure and function has vastly expanded, and its incorporation into the sciences is now allowing for more complex and heuristic models of human development. Increasing recognition is being given to the impact that trauma has on brain development and functioning, and how this, in turn, can manifest in problematic and puzzling behaviors. This seminar examines “normal” childhood development versus development clouded by abuse, neglect, and trauma. It also provides information about the nature, incidence, and dynamics of abuse and neglect as it relates to brain development. Participants learn interventions and strategies to help children and parents manage the impact of traumatic pasts.
  • Healing the Bonds of Attachment
    The relationship between a young child and their primary caregiver provides the foundation for all future relationships. In order for children to develop trust in the world, their caregivers must meet their needs in a loving and appropriate manner, and must provide them with a safe and secure base. But what happens when attachment is compromised due to abuse, neglect or parental instability? Using a relationship-based model, this seminar explores new ways to relate to children and families that will enhance their likelihood of success. As a professional, participation in this seminar will help you to refocus the way that you view hurt children and the adults in their lives who are trying to raise them.

    This workshop for social workers and mental health professionals will help you recognize the process of a healthy attachment between a child and primary caregiver and the devastating impact that disrupted attachments have on children and their families. Specific new strategies for the treatment and management of attachment-disordered behaviors will be discussed for use in your therapeutic, educational, or residential environments. You will learn how to help create a healing and supportive household for children and their families.
Alisha Wolf
Alisha Wolf MSW, MPH
Director of FamilyWorks Together
  Email Alisha