Introducing The National Center for Enhanced Post-Adoption Support

Introducing The National Center for Enhanced Post-Adoption Support

National Center for Enhanced Post Adoption Support Logo
Written by Laura Ornelas, LCSW, Director, C.A.S.E Academy Advancing Clinical Practice in Permanency & C.A.S.E. Team Lead, Post-Adoption Center
Published on: Apr 30, 2024
Category Adoption Competent Trainings

Building the Capacity of States, Territories and Tribal Nations to Meet the Needs of Children and Families Who Have Adopted or Obtained Guardianship

C.A.S.E. is a proud member of the leadership team of The National Center for Enhanced Post-Adoption Support (Post-Adoption Center) led by Spaulding for Children alongside C.A.S.E.’s National Center for Adoption Competent Mental Health Services, this new center is a five-year, cooperative agreement funded by the Children’s Bureau of the Administration on Children & Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and launched on October 2023. The Post-Adoption Center will serve as a hub for post-adoption expertise and evidence-informed training and technical assistance to support states, tribal nations and territories around the country as they develop and implement culturally responsive, comprehensive and accessible post-adoption services. Services provided by the Post-Adoption Center are free of charge, collaborative and driven by justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

“Permanency is about safety and connectedness and finding these things is a lifelong journey, especially for children and youth who have experienced trauma and loss. Signing on the dotted line isn’t the end of the journey, it’s the beginning. Adoption and guardianship is about guiding children and youth throughout the rest of their life. When families commit to this journey, it’s important that they have all of the support, education and advocacy they need. Child welfare systems have to do everything in their power to help adults, children and youth be successful on this journey.”

Person with lived expertise

“I have seen firsthand, both as an adoption professional and as an adoptive mom, the power of robust, wide-ranging post-permanency support. Access to therapists who really understand adoption issues and early childhood trauma, nonjudgmental parent support and education programs was integral at multiple points in my kids’ lives. So many families, including my own, benefit from these specialized services. Our family has overcome incredible odds and found healing, hope and connection in the post-permanency services provided in our state.”

– Post-Adoption Center Staff Member

“When we, as a society, decide that certain children and youth no longer can live with their birth families and place them in other families through adoption or guardianship, it seems only logical that we then are responsible for ensuring the well-being and safety of these children and youth until they reach adulthood. Therefore, robust post-permanency programs that provide an array of services and supports are vital for child welfare systems to have.”

– Person with lived expertise

The Post-Adoption Center will be working to equip child welfare agencies with the tools and knowledge necessary to meet the diverse needs of children and families who have achieved permanency through adoption or guardianship (hence the terms ‘post-adoption’ and ‘post-permanency’ are often used interchangeably.)

To accomplish this goal, the Post-Adoption Center will provide the following services:

Comprehensive Resource Library

Child welfare professionals around the country can access tools, documents, tip sheets, articles, podcasts and other materials about post-permanency services to enhance their programming. The C.A.S.E. team will be lending expertise to the resource library by reviewing and developing these materials. Professionals at all levels can find something relevant for themselves, whether it’s a new program idea, a funding strategy for administrators, a tip about staff development for managers and supervisors, or advice for direct-service providers serving diverse families. The resources in the library include:

  • A program catalog
  • A detailed description of a best practice post-permanency model
  • Site profiles
  • A featured monthly resource

Universal Technical Assistance

Staff who work in post-permanency programs around the country will be able to participate in topical peer groups, quarterly center chats, webinars and individualized assistance to find resources and specific information related to post-permanency services, such as information about another site’s post-permanency programming. Through these groups, professionals can ask questions, share lessons learned and brainstorm solutions to common challenges. C.A.S.E. CEO Debbie Riley, LCMFT will be hosting one of these chats on June 12, 2024 on the Mental Health Needs of Teens Post Permanency and she will also be facilitating peer groups this summer with an expert on the important topic of funding post-adoption programs.

Peer groups offer dedicated space for professionals in public and private agencies to:

  • share information about how they are supporting families that have achieved permanency through adoption or guardianship
  • hear from experts and fellow professionals about information and resources related specifically to a group’s topic
  • ask questions of peers
  • brainstorm solutions to challenges that group members are experiencing
  • learn from the states, territories and tribal nations partnering with the Post-Adoption Center for technical assistance

On Site Technical Assistance (T.A.)

Each year, the Post-Adoption Center will partner with 5 states, tribes and territories to enhance their post-permanency continuum of services, to serve 25 sites total by the end of the 5 year initiative. Spending up to 18 months and on site every quarter, this intensive T.A. support team includes a newly hired staff from C.A.S.E.

Meet Dr. Kathleen Bush, Post Adoption Program Specialist and other members of the Post-Adoption center’s leadership team from partner agencies.

Technical Assistance Services Include:

  • a comprehensive assessment of the site’s existing post-permanency program,
  • an action plan that describes in detail how to enhance the site’s post-permanency program,
  • assistance implementing the plan,
  • funds to cover some of the costs associated with the implementation, and
  • assistance finding funds to sustain the post-permanency programming.

We are hopeful over this five year initiative that states, tribes and territories of the U.S. will utilize one or any of the services the Post Adoption Center has to offer, whenever their needs arise. There is no wrong door to enter, its easy!


Technical Assistance Diagram

Post Permanency Program Diagram

Benefits of the National Center for Enhanced Post-Adoption Support:

  • Enhancing professional knowledge
  • Connecting with peers
  • Getting help from experts

A comprehensive post-permanency program consists of all kinds of support for families, at any time they might need it. The Post-Adoption Center team will be advocating for and consulting on a full range of comprehensive programming. The C.A.S.E. team for the Post-Adoption Center, headed up by Laura Ornelas, LCSW, Director of the C.A.S.E Academy Advancing Clinical Practice in Permanency was hard at work this winter in creating a best practice manual to guide consulting at the sites in the following program areas:

The fruits of our labor are blooming!

In addition to providing services to children and families, a cornerstone of a comprehensive post-permanency program is a strong foundation of training for child welfare professionals, as well as for the families who foster and adopt. Both of these groups require training embodying the same message about how to meet the needs effectively of children and youth who have experienced trauma, separation, and grief. The Post-Adoption Center encourages all states, tribal nations, and territories to implement three aligned, national trainings for staff and families who foster and adopt, all of which C.A.S.E. played primary roles in creating!

A Center for Adoption Support and Education Initiative

NTI is a FREE, evidenced informed training one designed for child welfare staff and their supervisors, another specially geared towards mental health practitioners. NTI was developed to infuse enhanced permanency and mental health competency into the provision of casework and clinical practice. NTI training can enhance your practice with the goal of improving well-being and permanency outcomes. Addressing the mental health needs of children and youth in foster, adoptive, and guardianship families makes a significant difference! NTI offers fully online, self-paced training that fits any schedule, 24 hours daily, every day of the week and provides free CEU’s for participants. Over 33,000 professionals have taken NTI. Join the network of NTI trained professionals. National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative (NTI) is funded through a cooperative agreements (#90CO1121) and (#90CO1145) between the Children’s Bureau and the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.)

Learn more about NTI or enroll!

National Training and Development Curriculum (NTDC) Logo

This comprehensive curriculum spearheaded by Spaulding for Children prepares and provides ongoing development for parents who want to foster or to adopt through the child welfare system. It has been adapted to meet the specific needs of kinship care providers; families who adopt via the intercountry or private domestic process; and American Indian Alaska Native families who foster, provide kinship care and/or adopt children from the tribal child welfare system. The curriculum provides education about a range of critical topics as well as “just-in-time” knowledge and skills when challenges arise. The NTDC offers flexibility in the use of their curricula content, which can be provided either virtually or in person.

Visit NTDC

This curriculum, also spearheaded by Spaulding for Children, equips prospective and current parents who will be or already are rearing older children from foster care who have moderate to severe emotional and behavioral challenges. The curriculum provides the knowledge and tools that these parents need to meet the needs of older children effectively. It provides education about a range of critical topics as well as “just-in-time” knowledge and skills when challenges arise. CORE Teen offers flexibility in the use of their curricula content, which can be provided either virtually or in person.

Visit CORE Teen

Stay tuned through C.A.S.E. or get on the Post-Adoption Center mailing list to receive updates from the Post-Adoption Center directly to your inbox.

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