Caseworkers and supervisors at foster care and preventive agencies attended a day-long training on parent trauma July 30 at COFCCA. Led by Rise Director Nora McCarthy, the training focused on how trauma affects parents with children in foster care — and how secondary traumatic stress affects child welfare staff. Attended by 25 child welfare professionals, discussion focused on noticing parent trauma, “holding” painful feelings, and responding with trauma in mind at critical moments in visits and meetings.
This workshop used writing as a tool for reflection and incorporated personal essays by both parents and frontline foster care staff. Through writing and discussion, participants reflected on the challenges for caseworkers in working closely with parents affected by trauma and shared tools they have found effective in managing responses and building trust and care.
The goal was to not only provide information but also space for reflection so child welfare staff could bring new knowledge and a stronger sense of compassion for parents and for themselves back into their work.