Behavioral & Emotional Training Topics: Behavioral Issues

The Title IV-E Program offers free trainings to San Francisco Human Services Agency staff who work with youth in foster care, group home staff, foster family agency staff, and foster parents in San Francisco.  

Most classes can be offered at an agency’s site on weekdays, evenings, or Saturdays with a minimum of 8 guaranteed participants attending the training.  Agencies can select topics from the currently offered list or request new workshops.  Our faculty can customize workshops that fit your agency's needs.

For eligibility questions and more information about scheduling classes, please contact fcstrain@ccsf.edu.

To register for Title IV-E classes email fcstrain@ccsf.edu.  

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.

Addressing Challenging Youth Behaviors in Family Work Context

Clinicians often have the experience of being in a therapy session and watching a child/youth become more and more oppositional as they wondered what to do. Welcome to the world of the parents/caregivers! How can you really be helpful if you are not sure about how to provide appropriate limits using behavioral intervention AND if you can’t help caregivers learn how to use these skills? Learn how to set and teach limit-setting within the context of the actual family therapy sessions. Many of these same principles apply to providing individual and group therapy as well.

Adressing Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Challenges

Discuss ways of working with youth within the context of family systems and past histories of trauma, neglect, or attachment disruption. Examine the importance of understanding and validating client feelings while working to enhance client capabilities and behavioral skills, decreasing behaviors that interfere with the client’s safety or quality of life, and restructuring residential milieus to increase motivational factors and improve client responses to treatment. Explore how caregivers can help clients “self-regulate,” or learn to recognize and control emotions which might lead to counter-productive behaviors
 
Approaching Oppositional Behavior  
Children and adolescents in the child welfare system are at increased risk for developing Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Conduct Disorder. Review this spectrum of behavioral health issues impacting youth:  ADHD -- the incidence, characteristics, and how it develops and treatment approaches;  ODD -- how to work effectively with youth who have oppositional behaviors; and Conduct Disorders: how aggressive and antisocial behavior develops and treatment approaches in residential care. Discuss issue of psychopathy involving youth who have no remorse for crimes and poor impulse control.

Avoiding Power Struggles with Kids
Do you work with youth who can behave in ways that are disruptive, disrespectful, and sometimes dangerous to themselves, you, or others? Do you sometimes find yourselves in power struggles and want to know some of the interventions and behavioral principles that will allow you to better help youth make positive choices? Explore the basics of why youth act the way they do and examine what you bring to the situation. Focus on understanding the importance of the function of the behavior (what is the youth trying to communicate) and behavioral interventions that work, including antecedents, consequences, incentives, proactive strategies, and helping youth make appropriate choices!

Behavior & Emotional Disorders in Children & Adolescents: An Overview
Examine behavior in children and youth and its relationship to identifying emotional problems a youth’s history of abuse and neglect.  Review a variety of theories and diagnostic labels that help explain or identify emotional problems and study how these can be helpful or harmful to treatment. Discuss assessment in understanding emotional problems and the use of DSM-IV in diagnosing youth.

Behavior Modification
Study strength-based behavior modification techniques that increase positive behavior through skill building. Learn to create contracts, charts, and routines that lead to success. Explore the basic principles of a strength-based behavioral system, including target behaviors, and discuss the Four Mistaken Goals of Misbehavior.

Behavioral Basics & Emotional Special Needs for Youth in Out-of-Home Care
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. Examine the emotional consequences of trauma for youth and origins of behavioral issues.  Discuss areas for working with youth on managing harmful behaviors:  self-esteem, communication skills, coping skills, and behavior change.  Review guidelines for responding to suicidal and aggressive behavior.

Behavioral & Emotional Special Needs: Difficult Children, Suicide, Aggressive Behaviors
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. Examine the emotional consequences of trauma for youth and origins of behavioral issues.  Discuss areas for working with youth on managing harmful behaviors:  self-esteem, communication skills, coping skills, and behavior change.  Review guidelines for responding to suicidal and aggressive behavior.

Bullying Behaviors: How to Deal with Them
Explore immediate interventions for de-escalating and preventing bullying and other intimidating behaviors. Examine bullying behaviors in the context of other disruptive and violent behaviors. Discuss nonviolent communication methods to assess the underlying needs of bullying and to identify the consequences to allow for safe, alternative choices. Explore ways to model behaviors to meet underlying needs. Exercises and role playing illustrate and demonstrate these learning methods and tools.

Helping Youth Problem Solve        

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.                         

Hoarding: Working with Hoarding Behavior of Youth in the Foster Care System
Explore ways to communicate with youth in foster care about hoarding behavior.  Discuss: What is hoarding? How does it manifest itself related to youth in foster care?  Examine hoarding from the perspective of neglect and how it relates to obsessive compulsive disorder and impulse control behaviors.  Study pictures showing what hoarding looks like in the home versus messy/disorganization.  Participate in discussions and case presentations; complete a compulsive hoarding rating scale assessment to effectively learn about hoarding behavior.  Obtain resources that include community agencies that provide services regarding hoarding behavior.

Holidays & Foster Care Youth: Coping with the "Holiday Blues"
Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and fun for everyone, especially for youth. They can also be a reminder of past pain and loss. As families gather to celebrate, foster care youth may become upset when their experiences don't match society's expectations. Explore techniques that may help youth deal with the grief, loss, and stress they experience during supposedly happy times.

Interventions for Working with Youth Who Have Challenging Behaviors
Learn specific interventions to share with families who are struggling to manage challenging child behaviors.  While it is necessary to understand the function of the child's behaviors (since it is a communication to us) in order for ANY behavior plan to work, we focus on how to help families implement a plan in family meetings and between meetings.

Managing Self-Injurious Behavior among Youth in Foster Care
Explore self-injurious behaviors in youth and depression. Study the warning signs of depression in the youth’s cognitive, physical, and behavioral development and the negative impact of depression as it relates to self-injurious behaviors. Examine intervention techniques, resources, treatment options, and psychiatric evaluations. Learn to build self-esteem and promote healthy behavior contributing to the well-being of children who live in out of home care.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Children and adolescents in the child welfare system are at increased risk for developing Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Conduct Disorder. Review this spectrum of behavioral health issues impacting youth:  ADHD -- the incidence, characteristics, and how it develops and treatment approaches;  ODD -- how to work effectively with youth who have oppositional behaviors; and Conduct Disorders: how aggressive and antisocial behavior develops and treatment approaches in residential care. Discuss issue of psychopathy involving youth who have no remorse for crimes and poor impulse control.

Overview of Behavior & Emotional Disorders in Children & Adolescents
Examine behavior in children and youth and its relationship to identifying emotional problems a youth’s history of abuse and neglect.  Review a variety of theories and diagnostic labels that help explain or identify emotional problems and study how these can be helpful or harmful to treatment. Discuss assessment in understanding emotional problems and the use of DSM-IV in diagnosing youth.

Positive Discipline Techniques: Increasing Positive Behavior while Decreasing Negative Behavior
Study strength-based behavior modification techniques that increase positive behavior through skill building. Learn to create contracts, charts, and routines that lead to success. Explore the basic principles of a strength-based behavioral system, including target behaviors, and discuss the Four Mistaken Goals of Misbehavior.
Children who display behavioral problems are often suffering from a deficit of skills or coping strategies. An effective behavioral system must include accurate assessment and strength-based treatment plans that focus on developing basic life skills and coping strategies. Discuss how to respond effectively to behaviors in a way that will increase behavior that is appropriate and decrease behavior that is harmful and inappropriate.

Positive Behavior Management
Study strength-based behavior modification techniques that increase positive behavior through skill building. Learn to create contracts, charts, and routines that lead to success. Explore the basic principles of a strength-based behavioral system, including target behaviors, and discuss the Four Mistaken Goals of Misbehavior.

Replacement Behaviors: The Meaning Behind the Behavior   
    
Two kids can manifest the same behavior. However, these same behaviors can mean dramatically different things to each child. An effective replacement behavior requires that it be relevant and meaningful to the youth that is using it. Study the function and meaning of behaviors in order to effectively replace problematic behaviors with more adaptive ones.

Run-Away Youth: Working with Youth that Run Away from Out-of-Home Placement   
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-Injurious Behavior: Prevention & Intervention of Self-Injurious Behavior
Most self-injurious behavior is related to early experiences of sexual, physical, emotional, and verbal abuse; it typically starts during the adolescent stage of development. Understanding the causes and meanings of self-injurious behavior allows caregivers to provide the early interventions necessary for youth to avoid long-term psychological problems. Explore the idea, causes, and effects of self-injurious behavior. Obtain a basic understanding of how and why clients engage in self-injurious  behavior. Explore a set of strategies to respond to the needs of those clients.

Setting Consequences for Inappropriate Behaviors, Positive Consequences for Youth in Foster Care
Study positive consequences in the foster care system. Learn to develop alternative and proactive methods for administering consequences with youth in foster care as you explore ways to work effectively within the foster care system’s approach to working with youth. Focus on the importance of developmental positive consequences that are age-appropriate. Learn how to: shape behavior while providing positive consequences; provide supportive services in the foster care system; implement developmental-appropriate positive consequences; implement positive consequences

Social Skills for Youth: Promoting Pro-Social Behaviors  
 
Caregivers of foster youth need an effective repertoire of discipline techniques in order to respond to varying situations.  It is equally important not to employ punishment and to understand the difference between discipline and punishment. Discuss antecedents, role modeling, rewards, ignoring, and natural and logical consequences. Review information on an array of appropriate discipline techniques that promote the development of the child’s self-control, self-direction, and self-esteem. Learn to maximize your ability to set limits in a positive way and use behavioral interventions with youth. Focus on intervening appropriately given the child’s underlying needs. Obtain a clearer understanding of techniques that might be used when clients act out inappropriately.

Treating Suicidal & Aggressive Behaviors in Adolescents

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.

Understanding Your Child’s Behavior and Setting Limits with Clarity

Study boundaries and setting limits for youth in the foster care system. Learn to develop alternative,  pro-active methods for administering boundaries and setting limits for youth in foster care. Focus on the importance of age-appropriate developmental boundaries and limits. Learn how to shape behavior and provide supportive services to youth in the foster care system.

Understanding Youth in Out-of-Home Placement / Working with Youth in Residential Treatment
For better or worse, removing children from their homes often causes yet another set of traumas for the youth. While this may be necessary for the youth’s safety, it is important to understand the mixture of feelings our kids struggle with and the kinds of connections they have to their immediate and extended family members (dead or alive). Learn to use your own ability to empathize in a manner that helps our youth work through past traumas as well as their current trauma of living outside their familiar communities. A strength-based perspective is promoted.

Why Kids Act the Way They Do--Exploring the “Butthead Hypothesis”
Explore the issues related to why kids act (or act out) the way that they do. Understanding the potential causes of these behaviors is one of the best approaches to remaining therapeutic even when things are at their worst. Examine the causes of behavior and the theoretical explanations for some of these behaviors. The ability to be empathic is directly related to how you interpret/understand the many unpleasant behaviors that our youth exhibit; this understanding is related to your ability to remain therapeutic, avoid power struggles, and prevent your own professional burn-out.   For training more focused on behavioral intervention, consider Working with Youth Who Exhibit Challenging Behaviors.

Working with Youth Who Have Challenging Behaviors

Obtain an overview of the important ingredients in creating a behavior plan that works for kids.  In order to help kids improve their behaviors, we have to avoid power struggles, and remember that we are trying to teach them new behaviors. Learn to apply theoretical principles that have been shown to be effective and the basics of developing such a plan.

Working with Youth with Conduct Disorders & Oppositional & Defiant Behaviors