Title

Improving Therapy Outcomes for Children in Foster Care: Using Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Engage Caregivers

First Presenter's Institution

Clemson University

Second Presenter's Institution

Augusta University

Third Presenter's Institution

Clemson University

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 3 (Scarbrough 2)

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

This presentation relates to the two strands of health and home. The presentation is focused on engaging caregivers (home) to be involved in trauma-focused treatment (mental health) for children and youth living in the foster care system, as we know that caregiver support in treatment is known to improve therapy outcomes for children and youth who have experienced trauma (mental health). In addition, the focus on utilizing interdisciplinary collaboration to engage a caregiver (home) most likely to provide the level of support needed, based on the child’s own unique circumstances and permanency plan, is also concerned with the home or community of children in foster care.

Brief Program Description

The presentation will address trauma treatment of children in foster care and how caregiver engagement could enhance the child’s ability to navigate the healing process. Prevalence and significance of this issue will be addressed, along with proposed solutions for engaging caregivers in the child's trauma treatment through increased collaboration within the child welfare system.

Summary

Children within the foster care system have often endured complex trauma and exhibit post-traumatic stress responses that can lead to placement instability and adverse outcomes. Trauma responses can be exacerbated by a lack of caregiver and social support following children’s traumatic experiences. Children in foster care are likely to experience more positive outcomes overall if they receive trauma treatment with the involvement of supportive caregivers. There are often multiple service providers involved in the life of a child in foster care. Additionally, there are multiple systems involved in the oversight of the child’s permanency plan. Clinicians must work collaboratively with those involved in the child welfare system of care to provide services that ensure the child’s safety and well-being. This presentation will offer practical approaches to navigating systems in order to provide a consistent continuum of care for children involved in the foster care system. Participants who attend this presentation will (a) gain knowledge regarding strategies for successful collaboration between all treatment providers, child welfare interventionists, school personnel, and other stakeholders involved and identify how this can enhance treatment outcomes for children in foster care, (b) be able to recognize how interdisciplinary collaboration can improve their ability to identify appropriate caregivers and other supports for the child during their treatment process, as well as how this can benefit the child in their healing, (c) gain strategies for navigating the family court and child welfare system to ensure treatment accessibility for children receiving child welfare intervention, and (d) gain skill in implementing their ethical responsibility to serve in the role as an advocate to reduce barriers to treatment growth.

Evidence

As children in foster care present with various degrees of familial and caregiver involvement (Knoverek et al, 2013), offering appropriate support can at times prove challenging for members of interdisciplinary teams and counselors alike. Further, caregivers of children in foster care often experience confusion and difficulty when trying to navigate between multiple agencies, schools, and treatment providers (McKay et al., 2004). Because of this, caregiver and children in foster care’s engagement in support services, such as therapeutic treatment, can diminish; thereby diminishing the potential for positive outcomes for the child (Dorsey et al., 2014). Through the afore-mentioned model of support and the strategies described for providing valuable information to caregivers (AUTHOR, 2019), members of interdisciplinary care teams (e.g., counselors, social workers, case managers, teachers) may be better positioned to enhance foster parent and caregiver engagement in the child’s trauma treatment (Dorsey, Kerns, Trupin, Conover, & Berliner, 2012). By doing so, we may increase the potential for children in foster care to achieve positive outcomes and placement stability (AUTHOR, 2019).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Brooke Wymer, PhD, LISW-CP/S, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Counselor Education Program at Clemson University. She has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina. She is a clinically licensed, trauma-focused therapist and supervisor with specializations in child sexual trauma treatment and parenting support interventions. Her research interests include trauma-focused clinical supervision, child trauma treatment, counselor wellness, and child abuse prevention.

Therese L. Newton, PhD, NCC, is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education in the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation at Augusta University in Augusta, GA. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of South Carolina and has a background in clinical mental health counseling. Therese has worked as a mental health counselor in a variety of settings including, University counseling centers, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment centers. Clinically, Therese specializes in working with women and adolescent girls, bereavement counseling, and eating disorders. Her research interests include client outcomes, cultivating facilitative counselor dispositions, mindfulness in counseling, and the use of single-case research design in counseling research

Sierra Swisher is a graduate student in the School Counseling program at Clemson University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Youth and Social Innovation at the University of Virginia. For two years, she served as a College Adviser for the Virginia College Advising Corps, a joint venture of AmeriCorps and the University of Virginia.

Keyword Descriptors

child trauma treatment, children in foster care, caregiver engagement

Presentation Year

2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 3:00 PM

End Date

3-9-2020 4:15 PM

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Mar 9th, 3:00 PM Mar 9th, 4:15 PM

Improving Therapy Outcomes for Children in Foster Care: Using Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Engage Caregivers

Session 3 (Scarbrough 2)

The presentation will address trauma treatment of children in foster care and how caregiver engagement could enhance the child’s ability to navigate the healing process. Prevalence and significance of this issue will be addressed, along with proposed solutions for engaging caregivers in the child's trauma treatment through increased collaboration within the child welfare system.