Kinship Training and Resources

The Office of Training and Professional Development is dedicated to offering training resources for kinship foster parents caring for relatives in the child welfare system in the hopes of creating the safest and most secure environment for the health and safety of the children and their overall development.

The trainings listed on this page are recommended to kinship caregivers. Most of the training options displayed are available to take as computer-based, self-paced learning through video or PowerPoint presentations, which can be accessed by clicking the title of each training. Additionally, kinship parents may attend live deliveries including TN KEY training, Medical Resources and Information, and CPR & First Aid. Click the headings on this page for more information.

Caring for the Child with Sexual Trauma (1:55)
This course explores the many facets of child sexual abuse in depth with information pertaining to facts and myths of child sex abuse, the grooming process, child disclosures, working with the Special Investigative Unit (SIU), and addressing high risk sexual behaviors in children. The class is designed to educate parents and assist the foster, kinship, and adoptive parent that cares for the child with sexual trauma.
Child Development (PowerPoint presentation)
This online course enables participants to have a better understanding of age-appropriate behaviors for the children they are parenting, as well as helps them identify behaviors that might indicate a problem. Participants also learn the stages of child and adolescent development. Finally, parents are able to explore how some forms of maltreatment affect a child's development.
Parenting Sibling Groups (PowerPoint presentation)
This curriculum aims to educate foster parents on the dynamics of sibling groups and enhance their skills in managing a sibling group in their home. This training will provide information on the following:
- Different dynamics of sibling groups entering foster care
- The importance of the sibling relationship
- Opportunities and challenges of fostering sibling groups
- Sibling youth’s perspective
- Tips on managing a sibling group in your home
- DCS policy on multiple children in the home
- Preparing your family and your home to receive a sibling group. 
Positive Parenting (2:20)
This course centers on building connections and relationships with children who have experienced trauma. Positive Parenting will help parents become more mindful in their interactions with children as well as learning to see behaviors through a trauma lens. Several typical trauma behaviors will be addressed and hands on strategies to address big emotions will be provided. A focus on observation of behavior as well as nutrition and wellbeing will be discussed. This course is designed to help parents with daily interactions to build connections and strengthen resilience in children.
Preserving Kinship Families (2:34)
This course is designed to help kinship families face the unique stressors that may arise when becoming a kinship placement. Family dynamics are constantly shifting based on a number of factors including family members' differing communication styles, traditions, and changes in parental roles, such as the ones required when families become a kinship placement. This workshop allows participants to explore ways to adapt to the changes in the family dynamic, how to work with the birth parents, and address role conflicts within the family. 
Preventing Suicide among Foster Care Youth
While suicide is a significant public health crisis for the general population, the risk for suicidal ideation and behavior increases for youth in care because of the complex circumstances they often face.
     - At any given time, there are estimated to be approximately 400,000 youth in care.
     - Youth in care may have complex medical, mental, and behavioral health concerns stemming from a trauma history.
     - Children who are adopted wait an average fo almost three years.
     - Youth in care may struggle with separation anxiety.
This training module discusses facts, myths, and signs regarding suicide risk for youth involved with the child welfare system and specialized topics such as trauma and adverse childhood experiences. Material is presented by a professional speaker and people with lived experience (former foster youth, foster and adoptive families, and experts in the field). Suggested protective factors and recommendations are provided for caregivers.
To view this training, click the link above to visit the Jason Foundation's website and create a free account to access their training portal.
Self-Care (PowerPoint presentation)
This course focuses on key concepts of caring for children from the child welfare system and ways caregivers can support their own self-care. Participants will learn risks and symptoms of helping others who experience trauma and the impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress. Strategies for combatting burnout through caregiver self-care will be learned and practiced. Additionally, caregivers will be able to assess their strengths and needs and create plans for quality self-care through small and large group discussions.
What to Know about Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking (1:52)
This course will equip foster parents with information and training about Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking. Foster parents will gain insight into the criminality of child exploitation and human trafficking while learning about the physical and psychological impact it has on children. Participants will learn about the importance of protecting and educating children about the dangers of being lured into this fast-growing illegal activity that is considered modern day slavery.
Working with Birth Parents and Visitation (2:58)
This course helps everyone involved in foster care gain an appreciation for the critical role of birth parents in the lives of children in care and a better understanding of the federal and state mandates on child and family visitation; the importance of the child and family visitation and why supporting this contact is important to a child’s developmental and mental well-being; how to identify the reasons for a child’s behavior before during and after visitations; and how to strategically minimize these behaviors.

The Department of Children's Services offers monthly training opportuntities for kinship foster parents to attend Medical Resources and Information (MRI) training as well as training to certify foster and kinship parents in CPR & First Aid. Kinship foster parents are encouraged to complete these courses every two years to stay up to date on skills and information.

To register for CPR & First Aid, visit the CPR & First Aid training calendar and click the link provided to register.

If you are interested in attending Medical Resources and Information training, view the MRI Refresher calendar and click the link provided to register for a class.

Kinship parents are not required but may request to attend TN KEY groups to receive more information on caring for children in state's custody. TN KEY consists of the following training modules:
Navigating the Child Welfare System
Exploring the Impact of Trauma
Roadmap to Resilience
Rerouting Trauma Behaviors

Kinship parents who are interested in becoming traditional foster homes must complete TN KEY. Click here to learn more about TN KEY and register.

The objective of the video series, provided by the Children's Bureau, Administration on Children and Youth and Families, is to provide resource parents (Foster, Adoptive and Kinship) with the knowledge, skills and assets they need to effectively manage the behavioral challenges that foster youth exhibit, resulting in an increased likelihood families will welcome these children into their homes, maintain placement stability and commit to permanence, thus enhancing the youth's well-being.

Click the links below to go directly to the videos.

Accessing Services and Supports
This theme will describe how to become an advocate for children in your home to ensure they receive the services and supports that they need. Emphasis will be placed on being a life-long learner, recognizing the importance of developing a support network (school, community supports, friends, medical), and learning about the types of services and supports that the child and/or the family that is fostering or adopting might find beneficial. (15 minutes)
Building Child Resilience
Resilience can be defined as “the ability to achieve positive outcomes-mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually- despite adversity” (Kain & Terrell, 2018).  The purpose of this module is to help foster and adoptive parents understand concepts and definitions related to enhancing resiliency in children who have experienced loss, separation, or other traumatic experiences; understand the protective factors; how to build upon protective factors; become aware of strategies that support children and develop their identity, self-esteem, and skills towards self-advocacy. (16 minutes)
Building Parental Resilience
Parental resilience is critical when caring for a child who has experienced trauma, separation, and loss or grief. These children come to the table with greater than average needs that will require additional support, guidance, patience, understanding, and flexibility. Foster and adoptive parents who come to the table with a high level of parental resilience will have a greater ability to cope with trying situations and will be better able to effectively handle the child’s behaviors that can be challenging. This theme will discuss the importance of self-care for parents who are fostering or adopting as well as practical ideas on how to incorporate it into their daily routines. Parents will learn why maintaining their own mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being is so important when caring for children who have experienced trauma, separation or loss. (22 minutes)
Continued Connections
Continued Connections targets the honoring of the teens’ former attachments, acknowledges that teens are part of other families and have other relationships, and recognizes that the loyalty and connection to those relationships may be significant. Continued Connections also explores the importance of your relationship with the youth’s birth family and other people who are important to the youth. This theme captures the concept that resource parents may need to move beyond their own discomfort toward prior relationships in order to help the youth grieve losses, maintain connections, confirm their identity, and form healthy attachments with others. (25 minutes)
Family Dynamics
This theme will provide an overview of the impact fostering or adopting can have on family dynamics including the impact on marital relationships, biological children, foster or adoptive children already living in the home and extended family members. Parents who are fostering or adopting will gain insight and increased understanding of how their family may need to adjust, as well as strategies that they can use to support healthy family dynamics. (18 minutes)
(Supplemental video (9 minutes))
Life Story: Birth and Adoption Story
This theme will help adoptive parents understand the importance of having ongoing conversations with their children about their birth and adoption story. The theme will discuss how empowering children with the missing pieces of their story can help them build trust in family relationships, help with healthy identity formation, and can lead to stronger connections with birth family members. Adoptive parents will learn how to have on-going conversation with their children about their life story that is done in an inclusive, open fashion. (22 minutes)
Managing Placement Transitions
This theme will provide an overview of the impact transitions, both planned and unplanned, has on children who have experienced trauma, loss or separation. The theme will discuss strategies parents can use to make these transitions less traumatic and disruptive. Parents will also learn strategies for making children feel welcomed and connected before, during, and after transitions occur. (14 minutes)
Parental Adaptation
Parental Adaptation is based on the idea that youth cannot be parented in the same manner as “traditional” parenting. It targets the thinking and skills parents will need to adjust to assure that their parenting responses successfully respond to the needs of the youth. (23 minutes)
Parental Regulation
The purpose of this learning opportunity is to enhance your understanding of parental regulation. Parental Regulation is the set of skills and abilities that help us manage our feelings and behaviors so that we can then use the right skills, interventions and supports at the right time. (21 minutes)
Preparing for Adulthood
This theme will provide an overview of the common skills that youth will need to effectively navigate as an adult and provide strategies on how families who are fostering or adopting can prepare youth to successfully transition into adulthood. The theme will highlight the variance that can exist between chronological and developmental age for children who have experienced trauma, separation and loss and how this can impact the transition to adulthood. Some of the challenges that youth may face during this transition will be highlighted. (15 minutes)
Preparing for and Managing Visitation
This theme will provide an overview the importance of children maintaining visits with their family and how to check in and address concerns, questions and emotions children may encounter before and after the visits. The theme will provide strategies on how to help children name and validate the range of feelings they may experience before, during and after a visit and understand the role that parents who are fostering or adopting play in these visits. (13 minutes)
Relationship Development
The purpose of this portion of the training is to enhance your learning around relationship development. In this program, relationship development is defined as the critical tasks and skills required to engage, increase commitment and positive connection, and develop a supportive healing relationship between foster caregivers and the youth in their homes. (30 minutes)
Responding to Children in Crisis
This theme will highlight some of the difficulties children who have experienced trauma, separation or loss can have in regulating themselves. The theme will review the different phases of crisis and provide parents who are fostering or adopting with strategies to proactively prevent a crisis from occurring. This theme will also review ways to keep the children safe when they are having a crisis and strategies that can help to de-escalate the situation. (15 minutes)
Sensory Integration
This theme will briefly explore how early childhood trauma and neglect may impact a child’s ability to interact successfully with their outside world – sensory integration. This theme will provide parents who are fostering or adopting with the ability to identify behaviors related to sensory integration difficulties and strategies to aid a child with sensory integration challenges in the home, school, and community. (20 minutes)
Sexual Trauma
This theme will provide an overview of some of the emotional needs of children who have been sexually abused. The theme will highlight some of the unique challenges in parenting children who have experienced this type of abuse. The theme will highlight safety measures to put in place to ensure all children in the home are safe. It will also provide information on seeking effective therapy for children who have been sexually abused to minimize risk of re-victimization, minimize risk of children re-enacting abuse on other children and maximize healthy sexual development. (17 minutes)
The purpose of this learning opportunity is to enhance your learning around sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE). SOGIE is a term that includes all types of sexual orientation and gender identities and expressions. In this program, the term diverse SOGIE is used to describe youth who are expressing a non-traditional sexual orientation or gender identity, and who need to be supported through their sexual orientation or gender identity exploration with understanding and acceptance. (24 minutes)
A critical element of creating a safe, predictable environment is to ensure smooth transitions for youth. Transitions include moves such as being placed from the birth home into a foster home, moves from one foster home to another, being placed into a group home or treatment setting, moving into an adoptive home or returning to the birth home from foster care. The purpose of this portion of the training is to enhance your learning around transitions. This session focuses on how change impacts the youth, you, and your family. Strategies are introduced to help you prepare for and manage the emotional impact (stress, fear, uncertainty, pain, loneliness, anxiety and hopelessness) that are often a part of the transition process. (25 minutes)
Understanding and Recognizing the Effects of Trauma
The purpose of this learning opportunity is to continue to enhance your understanding and recognition of the effects of trauma and trauma-informed parenting. This session explores how trauma affects the youth’s physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing and introduces the critical framework of "Regulate, Relate, Reason” which will help you remember how to best respond to youth who have been affected by all types of trauma. Trauma informed resource parenting is defined as the framework that includes understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma on children and youth in care. (17 minutes)
Understanding Behavior
The purpose of this learning opportunity is to further explore how trauma effects youth’s behaviors. The experience of trauma often produces behaviors that will seem out of context and usually includes anger, mistrust or defiance. The experience of trauma can also impact school performance and relationships and can result in delays in and social skills and development. You will explore how the interactions and interventions used with youth who have experienced trauma are different than those used with youth who have not experienced trauma. (25 minutes)

In collaboration with Raise the Future, The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development Team created short video conversations on TBRI-related topics. These conversations employ the expertise and experience of KPICD and Raise the Future team members to highlight and discuss TBRI in action.

These videos range from 3-40 minutes in length and are intended to support continued learning and implementation of TBRI following the completion of the TBRI Caregiver Training Series administered by a TBRI Practitioner. Please visit this page to find a TBRI Practitioner near you

To watch these videos, visit the TBRI Conversations webpage. Topics include:

Connection (4 minutes) The 3 Cs of Correcting (7 minutes)
Felt Safety (5 minutes) The Attachment Cycle (28 minutes)
Tools to Empower (15 minutes) The TBRI® Mantra (25 minutes)
Chronological Age vs. Developmental Age (5 minutes) Big Behaviors Needs (40 minutes)
Can’t vs. Won’t (6 minutes) Mindfulness (37 minutes)
You and Me Against Your History (9 minutes) 4 Skills of Healthy Attachment (19 minutes)
The IDEAL® Response (6 minutes) Attachment and Self-Regulation (40 minutes)
Attachment and Our Histories (30 minutes)