Government of New Brunswick

The following is an overview of the nine sessions applicants are required to take in the pre-service training.

Session One: Connecting with PRIDE

This session seeks to connect participants with the PRIDE program. Participants are informed about the program's purpose, and how the pre-service training connects with assessment, selection and approval. The competencies necessary for successful fostering and adopting are reviewed, and they are connected to the PRIDE pre-service sessions and the mutual assessment process. Standard features of the sessions are introduced including the PRIDE Connections (activities designed to integrate classroom learning with life experience as part of the assessment process), Making a Difference! (stories that highlight the rewards of fostering and adopting), and You Need to Know! (resource material to meet at-home learning objectives). Participants are introduced to definitions of family foster care and adoption, how children and families get referred for services, and the challenges and rewards of fostering and adopting. A feature of Session One is a video that dramatically portrays an overview of the fostering and adopting experiences.


Session Two: Teamwork Toward Permanence

This session introduces the importance of family relationships and the role that families play in supporting the child's identity, cultural identity, and self-esteem. Supporting connections and continuity are presented as major tasks in planning for permanency in children's lives. The need for teamwork is presented as a means to best meet the challenge of promoting permanence for children and families. The unique role of foster parents and adoptive parents as members of a professional team is introduced.

Session Three: Meeting Developmental Needs - Attachment

This session reviews the "basics" about child growth and development, the importance of bonding and attachment as a foundation for child growth and development, and how the life experiences of many children who enter family foster care impact on their growth and development. Special consideration is given to how the team, and in particular the foster parent and adoptive parent, can best meet developmental needs by building positive attachments.


Session Four: Meeting Developmental Needs - Loss

The impact of separation and loss on the child's growth and development are critical when looking at children in family foster care and adoption. Participants are helped to understand the types of losses children encounter prior to entering foster care, and how placement can compound and contribute further to the child's sense of loss. The stages of loss are introduced with a focus on how these impact the child's feelings and behaviours. Loss is presented as a universal issue. Foster families and adoptive families are asked to consider how they have approached losses in their lives, how they might approach the losses associated with fostering and adopting, and the degree to which they can be "loss managers" for children.

Session Five: Strengthening Family Relationships

This session reintroduces the topic of how families promote identity, cultural identity, and self-esteem in children. The child welfare concept that children in placement should be reunified with their families whenever possible is addressed, as well as how the team can support reunification. The role of visiting in strengthening family relationships is explored. Concrete information regarding how to plan for visits, how to prepare children for visits, and how to handle reactions to visits is presented. The importance of families to children in the adoption process is discussed in terms of lifelong implications for identity and self-esteem.


Session Six: Meeting Developmental Needs - Discipline

This session focuses on the challenges of instilling discipline in children. The content and activities address the competencies of protecting and nurturing children and meeting their developmental needs. Discipline is defined, the goals of effective discipline are identified, and the difference between discipline and punishment is illustrated. The department's policy on discipline is reviewed and the negative effects of physical punishment are discussed. Participants learn about the knowledge, skills, and personal qualities essential for instilling discipline. The meaning of a child's behaviour and the factors that influence behaviour are explored. An overview of all the methods of discipline foster parents and adoptive parents can use to meet the goals of effective discipline as members of the team is provided.

Session Seven: Continuing Family Relationships

This session looks at the different ways the team can work together to help connect children and youth to safe and nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime. An overview of the permanency planning goals is provided, starting with efforts to support families and reunify children with family and kin. Other goals, including adoption, long-term foster care, and independent living, are presented as ways to provide lifelong connections when children cannot grow up with their families.


Session Eight: Planning for Change

The impact of placement on the foster or adoptive families is the focus of this session. The first hours, days, and weeks of a child's placement in the home are looked at from a practical level of what to expect, what to ask the caseworker and how to talk to the child. The longer term impact of placement is also discussed including types of changes placement bring to the foster family or adoptive family. The notion that fostering and adopting is not without risks is highlighted through a discussion of abuse allegations. Use of the team for support and focus is emphasized.


Session Nine: Taking Pride: Making an Informed Decision

This session provides an opportunity for foster parents and adoptive parents to learn first hand from some experienced members of the foster care team. A panel of foster parents, adoptive parents, caseworkers, and family members present their perspectives and answer participants' questions. Participants will reflect on their growth and development regarding the pre-service competencies, and begin to make a final decision regarding their commitment to fostering or adopting.