Welcome to the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative (NTI). This research initiative, begun in October, 2014, is funded through a 5-year cooperative agreement between the Children’s Bureau, and the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.), working alongside the University of Maryland School of Social Work Institute for Innovation and Implementation.
NTI will develop, pilot and evaluate two state of the art, standardized, web-based trainings to build the capacity of child welfare professionals and mental health practitioners in all States, Tribes and Territories, to better understand and address the mental health needs of children, youth and their families moving toward or having achieved permanency through adoption and guardianship.
Because of traumatic life experiences and compromised beginnings, many children who are adopted or in guardianship experience elevated risks for developmental, health, emotional, and behavioral challenges. The impact of these experiences and challenges compromises well-being and family stability. NTI seeks to improve these outcomes by infusing enhanced adoption competency in the provision of casework and clinical practice.
NTI Web-based Trainings
The Child Welfare Professional curriculum
This curriculum is 20 hours and focuses on case work practices to promote child well-being and family stability. Child Welfare Supervisors will receive an additional 3 hours of training and a Coaching and Activity Guide to support staff in applying learning in daily practice.
The Mental Health Practitioner curriculum
This curriculum currently under development; it will be 25 hours and provide clinical skills and therapeutic approaches for work with adoptive and guardianship families, including child welfare, private/domestic and inter-country adoption. Click here to view learning objectives for the MH curriculum summary. Following the training, clinicians will also complete four topical coaching sessions to assist mental health practitioners with application of learning to practice.
These state of the art, web-based trainings utilize adult learning principles to actively engage the user through completion. Each self-directed module includes a mix of text, video and audio and includes links to resources, activities, and opportunities for reflection using examples and stories from adoptive parents, children, and experts for each content area.
Watch this webinar providing an overview of the NTI and the Training for Child Welfare Professionals
Pilot of Trainings
NTI will pilot the trainings in 8 states including California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington. NTI leadership is also working to identify a tribal pilot partner. NTI Implementation Specialists will provide implementation guidance to states to pilot the training with public and private child welfare professionals and community based and private practice clinicians. Additionally, Specialists will provide technical assistance to assist states with integration of NTI training into state training systems. Click here for the initiative timeline.
Evaluators with the University of Maryland School of Social Work will evaluate the user experience, including satisfaction, relevance, ease of use, and infusion of adoption mental health competency in practice. At the systems level, researchers will evaluate the implementation and integration experience, including cost benefit. Based on evaluation and feedback from the pilot, refinements will be made to the curriculum in preparation for the National Launch of web-based trainings to all States, Tribes and Territories by October, 2019. Click here for overview of evaluation plan.
By the end of the 5-year initiative, the web-based training will be available for use by all child welfare and mental health professionals in all states, tribes and territories.
C.A.S.E. is honored to lead this initiative and is indebted to the significant partners and experts collaborating together on this project. For a full list of partners organizations and individuals, please visit our Partners and Advisers Page.