Working With PRIDE

An Invitation to Write About PRIDE

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Children’s Voice is delighted to publish this new column, Working with PRIDE, designed for all who work with the Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education program. The column’s editors, Donna D. Petras and Eileen Mayers Pasztor, were the initial leaders in creating this 14-step program to develop and support foster and adoptive families. They began the PRIDE project in 1991, when Petras was the state foster care director for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and president of the National Association of State Foster Care Managers and Pasztor was CWLA’s national program director for family foster care, adoption, and kinship care. They ask readers to share this invitation with everyone who works with PRIDE.

Around the clock, child welfare agencies in the United States rely on foster and adoptive parents, or resource families, to protect and nurture vulnerable infants, children, and youth when their birth families cannot. It is because of these dedicated resource families that the effects of trauma are alleviated, the capacity to develop positive relationships is built, and essential life skills are developed. Because this work is difficult and complex, resource families must have special strengths, knowledge, and skills, as well as system and community supports. Best policies and evidence-based practices are necessary to find them, keep them, and help them thrive.

For almost two decades, CWLA has been offering the PRIDE program to help agencies enable their resource families to serve as partners in achieving child safety, well-being, and permanency outcomes. PRIDE was developed in partnership with Illinois DCFS and a broad coalition of foster and adoptive parents, public and private agency staff, educators, the San Felipe Humanitarian Alliance, and other advocates. The result was a competency- based program that:

  • Meets the protective, developmental, cultural, and permanency needs of children placed with foster and adoptive families.
  • Supports families, however they are defined.
  • Strengthens the quality of family foster care and adoption services by providing a standardized, structured framework for preservice training and mutual assessment; for foster parent in-service training; and for ongoing development.
  • Shares resources among public and voluntary child welfare agencies, foster and adoptive parent associations, colleges and universities, and national child welfare organizations.

Today, PRIDE is used in more than 30 states, nearly 20 countries, and 8 Canadian provinces to guide the recruitment, development, and support of foster and adoptive families. The PRIDE network covers a wide spectrum of geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions. Each setting presents unique challenges in the care of vulnerable children and their families, and PRIDE colleagues work to meet these challenges in creative ways. One of the major benefits of working with PRIDE is the opportunity to share information and resources and to learn from each other as new challenges emerge and improved approaches are developed. PRIDE colleagues—whether they are families or agency-based staff—know that a challenge new to one person has likely already been met by others in the PRIDE network. Sharing successes, challenges, and new insights, as well as addressing issues of culture and other environmental factors that affect resource families and the care of children, can be enriching for all who are committed to excellence in child welfare.

This new column will be a forum for informing the current and prospective PRIDE community—both in the United States and other countries—about PRIDE strategies, successes, and challenges. Everyone is invited to submit articles for publication in this column, with the following criteria. The article should:

  • Describe experiences with the PRIDE program, such as successes, challenges faced and how those were addressed, outcomes achieved, cultural and other contextual issues and how they were managed, impact on families and children, and so on. The article can focus on the program as a whole or on the impact on an individual child, family, or staff. Policy and systems change issues can be shared as well. Issues still need- ing to be resolved are welcomed.
  • Be authored by anyone involved with PRIDE—foster and adoptive parents, family development specialists, trainers and educators, social workers, policymakers and administrators, and community advocates.
  • Be 600–700 words in length.
  • Be written in English.
  • Include the following identifying information about the author or authors: name, title, agency or organization affiliation, location, e-mail address, phone number, and a brief description of the author’s involvement with PRIDE.
  • Be submitted electronically to voice@cwla.org. Articles will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Questions about this column or article submission should be directed to voice@cwla.org. We look forward to sharing your contributions!

Donna D. Petras PhD is a professor emerita at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, and is a visiting professor at the Addis Ababa University School of Social Work in Ethiopia. Eileen Mayers Pasztor DSW is an associate professor at the California State University, Long Beach Department of Social Work, and continues to care for her now adult foster and adopted children because of their special needs. She is currently working with CWLA on a new curriculum, Collaborating with Kinship Caregivers.

To comment on this article, e-mail voice@cwla.org.

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