Paul Gibson, LCSW

The Impact of Multiple Placements
Multiple foster and group home placements negatively impacts the ability of foster youth to succeed in out-of-home care and make the transition to independent living. This course reviews current foster youth placement issues; the impact of past trauma on their success; and the foundations for attachment and permanence including resolving family loyalty, processing loss, building self esteem, addressing behavior issues, improving self determination. Best practices for working effectively with foster youth in placement will also be reviewed.

Adolescent Mental Health Issues
Foster youth are at greater risk of having mental health and behavioral issues related to their backgrounds of abuse and neglect. This class previews an overview of mental health issues for adolescents in out-of-home care including the impact of trauma, range of conditions, and counseling and treatment guidelines. Mood, anxiety, behavior and psychotic disorders will be discussed with approaches for addressing specific conditions and behavior issues provided.

Adolescent Sexuality
Sexuality is one of the most critical issues facing adolescents. Study an overview of the sexuality and relationship issues impacting youth in foster and group home care and review how to support youth in addressing them. Areas covered include sexual development, healthy sexual practices, the impact of sexual abuse, relationship issues, pregnant and parenting issues, sexual identity and sexuality counseling guidelines.

Managing Anger & Aggression
Many foster youth have issues related to anger and aggression related to past trauma and abuse. Review the contributing factors to anger and aggression in youth. Discuss techniques for helping youth to manage their anger, including monitoring feelings, assertive communication, changing behaviors, revising negative thoughts and beliefs, developing empathy, and reducing stress. Explore staff approaches for responding to aggressive behavior.

Behavioral & Emotional Needs: Suicidal & Aggressive Behavior
Youth in foster care often have emotional needs and behavioral issues related to the traumas they have experienced that place them at greater risk of suicidal and aggressive behavior. This class reviews the emotional consequences of trauma for youth and origins of behavioral issues.  Areas for working with youth on managing harmful behaviors will be discussed including self-esteem, communication skills, coping skills and behavior change. Guidelines for responding to suicidal and aggressive behavior will also be reviewed.

Changing Harmful Behaviors: Interventions & Guidelines
Youth are capable of changing harmful behaviors. Group and foster home care providers study the behavior change process and review techniques for changing behaviors including behavior patterns, communication skills, positive attention, and behavior contracting. It also provides guidelines for addressing behavior issues including depression, anger, running away, and alcohol & substance use

Communication Skills Working with Youth
Effective communications are critical to developing trust and successful working relationships with youth. This class discusses the essentials of communication including the forms (verbal, nonverbal, para-verbal) and styles (passive, assertive, aggressive). The foundations of positive communications are also reviewed including developing a relationship, awareness of personal issues, active listening and empathy, and providing feedback.

Communication Skills Working with Staff
It is essential for staff working together in programs to practice good communication in order to be effective with clients and maintain work satisfaction. Study the communication essentials, including different styles (passive, aggressive, assertive) and forms (verbal, nonverbal, para-verbal). Discuss the foundations of positive communications, including developing relationships, awareness of issues, active listening and empathy, and providing constructive feedback. Review communication issues in work settings, including cultural differences, resolving conflicts, and working together.

Counter-transference: Self-Awareness in Working with Youth
Professionals experience strong personal issues in working with youth related to our backgrounds, expectations, and reactions to their behavior. Review the foundations of helping relationships and practice self-awareness in understanding how our own issues can impact our effectiveness and work satisfaction. Discuss the importance of staying in the zone of helpfulness and professional relationship guidelines.

Creating a Positive Program Environment
The environment of your home or program is essential to youth in foster care connecting with you and being successful in achieving their goals. Analyze the successful elements of a positive home or program environment for foster youth including safety, caring, structure, and youth involvement. Core treatment issues are also addressed including communication skills, coping skills, self-esteem, and social skills.

Creating Helping Relationships with Youth in Foster Care
The relationship foster parents and group home staff have with youth in their care is critical to helping them achieve successful outcomes. Explore practical guidelines for helping relationships with foster youth including how to develop relationships, elements of successful relationships, positive communication skills, ensuring youth needs are met, personal and professional boundaries, making decisions, and having a supportive role in their lives.

Crisis/Emergency Intervention with Youth
The training provides youth service agencies, foster parents and group homes with a comprehensive approach to addressing emergency interventions with youth that meets Community Care Licensing guidelines. Participants receive an overview of a continuum of interventions that are part of an Emergency Intervention Plan including prevention methods, early interventions and emergency interventions. Crisis intervention guidelines are reviewed including crisis communication and crisis risk assessment. De-escalation techniques, team interventions, and emergency response are also reviewed. Post emergency intervention and reporting guidelines are provided for participants.

The Impact of Trauma on Youth
Children with backgrounds of abuse and neglect face extensive challenges and behavioral issues as adolescents. This class reviews the impact of trauma on youth including negative messages they receive in childhood and the consequences for them.  Discuss effective program approaches, including developing a relationship, meeting basic needs, addressing behavior issues, and increasing core competencies: communication, coping skills, and self esteem.

Improving Education Outcomes for Youth in Foster Care
Completing high school is the strongest predictor of youth making a successful transition to adulthood. Obtain an overview of foster youth education challenges and rights established by AB 490. Review the special education process.  Learn how to improve education outcomes through motivating youth, school stability, collaboration and advocacy, addressing special needs, and supporting career development and post secondary goals.

Helping Youth Cope with Grief & Loss
Foster youth need extensive support in coping with the losses they have experienced in life. Review the life experience of youth in out of home care with multiple losses related to family, caregivers, schools and other relationships. Understand the stages of grief and loss, the grieving process and the common responses of a grieving child. Review and discuss how to work with you in addressing loss including the foundations of permanence for foster youth, things that can help in coping with an immediate loss, and how to do counseling with youth on coping with grief and loss.

Liability Issues in Group Home and Foster Care
Understanding liability issues and legal obligations is important to group home staff and foster parents in caring for youth. Examine an overview of liability issues in group home and foster home care including sources of liability and malpractice; best practice standards for minimizing liability; group and foster home licensing responsibilities; and guidelines for addressing specific issues including reporting obligations, consent, confidentiality and client privacy.

Responding to Youth in Crisis
Youth with aggressive, assaultive, and self-destructive behaviors present risk to the safety and well being of themselves, other youth and staff. This class provides participants with a continuum of interventions for addressing serious behavior problems including prevention, early intervention, emergency response, and post crisis response. Safety awareness, limit setting, crisis communications, risk assessment, and crisis intervention guidelines are also be reviewed.

Runaway Interventions with Youth
Foster youth leaving foster and group homes without your consent presents serious issues related to the safety of youth, the liability for the program and home, and the ability for youth to achieve their goals. Investigate guidelines to reduce the incidence of youth running away or leaving their homes or programs without consent. Study an overview of reasons for youth leaving, runaway assessment and prevention guidelines, runaway intervention techniques, working with youth returning to your home or program, and how to address chronic runaway behavior.

Self Awareness in Working with Youth
Professionals experience strong personal issues in working with youth related to our backgrounds, expectations, and reactions to their behavior. Review the foundations of helping relationships and practice self-awareness in understanding how our own issues can impact our effectiveness and work satisfaction. Discuss the importance of staying in the zone of helpfulness and professional relationship guidelines. Review the symptoms and effects of secondary traumatic stress (STS), how to address secondary trauma, and a guide for self care.

Stress Management for Youth Care Providers
Working with and caring for foster youth can be stressful for program staff and foster parents. Examine the impact of stress; study specific techniques for managing it to improve well being,  including the stress and wellness cycle, time management, social support, communication and coping skills, healthy lifestyle practices, and personal care planning. By taking care of ourselves, we improve our ability to care for our foster youth.

Team Building for the Staff of Foster Care Providers
Working together as a team provides essential support in feeling good about work, coping with daily stress, and achieving positive outcomes. Review the importance and purposes of teamwork along with the key components of working effectively together including developing relationships with coworkers, developing a common program vision, clear communications among staff, group problem solving, and providing affirmations and support. Discuss your vision of a successful program as well as the strengths and challenges for your team. Practice assertive communication with coworkers and providing each other with positive feedback. Study a group problem solving model along with guidelines for working effectively together.

Transition to Adulthood for Youth in Foster Care
Youth in group homes and foster care have substantial issues and needs in making a successful transition to adulthood. Explore an overview of the current transition outcomes and barriers for foster youth, elements of successful transition (including adult support, education, employment, independent living skills, housing and health care), along with resources and approaches for group homes, foster parents, and service providers to support youth during their transition.

Using Strengths-Based Approaches with Youth
Building self esteem and resiliency are essential in helping foster youth develop attachments, stability, permanency, and make a successful transition to adulthood. Self-esteem and resilience are connected with self-esteem the core quality and resiliency the result. Study strengths-based approaches to working with youth, including developing helping relationships, identifying skills and strengths to build self esteem, developing protective factors to support resiliency, increasing communication and coping skills, and identifying developmental assets. Review the principles of youth development practice.  Develop a strengths-based profile for a youth you are working with.

Youth in Multiple Systems of Care
Most youth in foster care are also involved in other systems of care that include special education, services for youth with disabilities, the juvenile justice system, and mental health services. Examine an overview of how foster youth are involved with these systems. Study the importance of group homes, foster parents, and youth service providers in coordinating services with other providers including education needs, health needs, legal issues, and transition services.

Working with Youth in Residential Treatment  
Many foster youth have emotional and behavioral issues related to their backgrounds that require specialized understanding and approaches in working with them. Review the impact of trauma on foster youth and emotional and behavioral consequences for them. Discuss effective program approaches, including youth development principles, the importance of the relationship, using strengths based approaches, and building communication, coping and social skills. Examine some behavioral interventions for working with youth.

Working with Vulnerable Youth  
This training provides participants with an increased understanding of the backgrounds of foster youth, issues and challenges they face as adolescents, and approaches to working effectively with them. Objectives:
• To increase understanding of the impact of abuse and trauma on adolescents in foster care.
• To increase awareness of the consequences of abuse and issues faced by foster youth in adolescence.
• To provide approaches and guidelines for increasing program effectiveness in working with foster youth.

Working with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Youth
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in foster care have significant challenges in the areas of family acceptance, peer support, school, and out-of-home placement. This class provides an overview of LGBT youth including how sexuality develops, the coming out process, and the issues they face. Counseling and residential program guidelines are also reviewed with participants as well as resources for supporting LGBT youth.

It Gets Better: Ending LGBTQ Youth Suicide By Supporting LGBTQ Youth
Recent suicides by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth have created a sense of urgency for helping professionals to take action in providing them with support. LGBTQ youth are at risk of suicide during adolescence before they have developed a positive identity and a support system to cope with they the issues they face including family rejection, bullying by peers, lack of protection in schools, and discrimination in society. Examine an overview of LGBTQ youth including sexual identity, the coming out process, LGBTQ youth of color, transgender youth, psycho-social risk factors, and their involvement with child welfare. View videos of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care.

Explore approaches to improving outcomes for LGBTQ youth including how to provide individual and family counseling, guidelines for residential care, and resources for increasing their support. Participate in small group discussions to identify actions we can take as individuals and a society to increase acceptance and support for LGBTQ youth.  Review the national initiative to reduce LGBTQ youth suicide, It Gets Better, with videos on You Tube. We can make a difference with LGBTQ youth by helping them to develop a positive identity and supporting them in meeting their needs so that they can lead happy and fulfilling lives and make a positive transition to adulthood. 

Objectives:  By the end of his class students should have an understanding of:
• LGBTQ youth including their sexual identity, the coming out process, LGBTQ youth of color, and transgender youth.
• LGBTQ youth psychosocial risk factors including family rejection, peer bullying, school safety, child welfare issues, and health issues including HIV and suicide.
• Techniques to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth including supportive counseling, residential care guidelines, and personal responsibility for taking action including the It Gets Better initiative.

Addressing Program and Behavior Issues with Youth
Residential program staff  study an overview of approaches and guidelines for addressing program and behavior issues with youth. Review standard program guidelines, including expectations, survival rules (essential to remaining in the program), and house rules.  Discuss approaches for working with youth, including youth development practices and keys to program compliance. Review the use of progressive responses in addressing issues with youth, including privileges, incentives, and consequences. Discuss specific guidelines for responding to specific behavior issues, including daily program activities, house rules, disruptive & aggressive behaviors, and program survival rules.

Helping Youth to Change Behaviors
It is important for residential programs to work with youth on helping them to change negative and harmful behaviors with consequences alone having a limited impact.  Review the behavior change process, motivational interviewing, and the stages of change with a focus on youth needing to make a decision to change their behaviors; cognitive and behavioral techniques for helping youth to change behaviors,  including monitoring feelings, changing behavior patterns, revising negative thoughts, assertive communication, relaxation techniques, and thinking ahead to consequences. Discuss interventions to use with youth in changing specific behaviors in areas that include treatment plan activities and aggressive behaviors.

 
STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT
Community Care Licensing Regs
Boundaries and Good Practice
Time Management

PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
Behavior Basics
Promoting Pro-social Behaviors
Behavioral Interventions with Youth

ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH
Depression and Bipolar Disorders
Preventing Self Destructive Behaviors
Reactive Attachment and Relationship Disorders
ADHD, ODD and Conduct Disorder
Managing Anger and Aggression
PTSD and Anxiety Disorders
Psychotic Disorders

SPECIAL POPULATIONS AND TRANSITION
Working with Special Needs Youth
Transition to Adulthood for Juvenile Justice Youth
Vocational & Employment Development