The Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) addresses the needs of members in the adoption kinship network for quality mental health services. Research shows that children with traumatic experiences of abuse, neglect and abandonment and challenging behavioral and emotional responses are at greater risk of presenting with adjustment problems within their adoptive families. These children’s emotional issues are often complex, and adoptive parents often identify these issues as the primary contributors to family stressors post-adoption. Access to adoption-competent mental health services is a critical factor in the outcomes for these children and their adoptive families and the success of their adoptions. Birth parents can experience significant stress prior to, during and after the adoption process. Many birth parents need quality adoption competent mental health services to process grief and loss.
Studies show that adoptive families face significant challenges in finding quality mental health services provided by therapists who are knowledgeable about the effects of pre-adoption experiences on children’s intellectual and social functioning, children’s ability to form attachments to their adoptive families, and children’s overall development in light of early abuse and neglect and foster care placements. Likewise, birth parents often are challenged to find and work with adoption competent mental health professionals to help them meet their needs.
The TAC is designed to increase families’ and individuals’ access to adoption competent mental health professionals and to improve the well-being of adopted children and youth and their families. Based on eighteen adoption competencies developed by C.A.S.E. in collaboration with its National Advisory Board, C.A.S.E. created the TAC to build and strengthen adoption competency in mental health communities across the United States.
The TAC has a number of special features:
- It is exclusively designed for mental health professionals.
- It has an in-depth clinical focus and is specifically designed to build and strengthen clinical skills
- It is competency-based, using a definition of an “adoption competent mental health professional” and clinical adoption competencies
- It is manualized to ensure high quality replication
- It is rigorously evaluated through pilot testing and replication evaluation.
The TAC has two components: the TAC curriculum, a 72-hour in-home and classroom based training program; and the TAC case consultation component, which is comprised of 6 case consultation sessions over the course of 6 months to support transfer of learning to practice.