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Certificate program wins federal Adoption Excellence Award
Author: Currently
Posted: December 4, 2013

Adoption Excellence Awards for 2013

Awarded by the Children's Bureau, the Adoption Excellence Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in achieving permanency for America's children waiting in foster care. An annual program that grew out of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, these awards honor states, local agencies, private organizations, courts, businesses, individuals, and families making key contributions to increasing the number of children from foster care who are adopted or placed in other permanent homes.

The Children’s Bureau is the first federal agency within the U.S. government—and in fact, the world—to focus exclusively on improving the lives of children and families.

In November 2013, the Children's Bureau award nine Adoption Excellence Awards, including the award below to Portland State.

CATEGORY #5 CHILD WELFARE/JUDICIAL SYSTEMIC CHANGE 

AWARDEE: Portland State University Postgraduate Training Certificate in Therapy with Adoptive & Foster Families Program 
Portland, OR 

The Therapy with Adoptive and Foster Families Program is a creative collaborative effort between Portland State University’s School of Education/Continuing Education, Child Welfare Partnership, and School of Social Work; the Oregon Department of Human Services; and the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center. This clinically-oriented adoption and foster care specific therapy training program for professionals is having a significant and sustainable influence in the lives of many foster and adopted children and their families.

The Therapy with Adoptive and Foster Families Program curriculum is a series of advanced, evidence-based courses, all of which are offered both on campus and online. This flexible distance education program is designed for maximum accessibility for professionals engaging with foster parents, counseling adopted children and families, and working with individuals adopted from county and state systems. Recognizing the importance of access to adoption competent therapists, the curriculum includes specialized theories and practices for treating adopted and foster children and their families. The program’s objectives include increasing accessible, affordable, adoption and foster-competent mental health support for children and families and reducing the risk of adoptive or foster family dissolution or disruption. It trains therapists to engage proactively and sensitively in therapeutic work that embraces empathic listening; maintains a non-blaming approach; and seeks an empathetic understanding of children. 

The University awards continuing education units for coursework and publishes a directory of individuals who successfully complete the program. There is now also a postgraduate certificate for child welfare professionals and an ongoing post-certificate consultation group. During the past ten years since the program began, over 500 students have been trained. 

The Therapy with Adoptive and Foster Families Program has a proven record of innovation and has had a positive impact and significantly benefited children and families in Oregon and in the greater Northwest region of the United States.