State adoption program managers and PAS coordinators/providers in all five states felt that training for parents on adoption issues was an integral part of the program. They provided training not only on adoption-specific issues (e.g., grief and loss) but also on child development issues relevant to adoptive families (e.g., fetal alcohol syndrome). Other examples of trainings offered included managing difficult behaviors for traumatized children, preparing for the teen years, post-traumatic stress disorder, and parenting sexually troubled children. Although many of the trainings were one-session events, providers also reported offering workshops and a series of sessions on a particular topic. Providers also sent families to adoption conferences.
In Oregon, PAS program staff noted that training logistics, including when the trainings were scheduled and whether child care and/or transportation were provided, greatly influenced attendance. The program had experimented with training schedules to find the best day and time to maximize attendance. The PAS program director reported having experimented with the statewide teleconference system for training but discontinued its use after initial trainings had poor attendance. Outside experts originally had been hired to conduct training, but now PAS program staff had enough expertise and experience to conduct training themselves. Georgia provided training around the state through a provider, which offered trainings on a variety of adoption-related topics. Sessions were scheduled for parents and professionals on successive days.
As discussed in Section 5, providers in several states raised awareness about their PAS program by attending pre-adoption parent trainings. One PAS provider in Virginia said the agency planned to better integrate the PAS program with its placement program to address parental concerns during the placement period. A PAS provider in Texas also reported trying to reach out beyond presenting at training sessions to make personal contacts with families before adoptions are finalized. His agency was applying for a grant to contact adoptive families at finalization to discuss the PAS program.