Partners for Our Children (P4C) has been working in close collaboration, since 2014, with the Washington State Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF), and over 100 key partners to develop and test and adapt the Strive Supervised Family Time program. Strive is a parent education and support program that aims to engage parents in the visitation process, assist parents in preparing for high quality family time with their children, and promote child safety. Strive uses a strengths-based, trauma-informed approach to help parents create a positive environment for nurturing their relationship with their child(ren) within the context of supervised family time.
The need: Every day in the US, over 400,000 children and youth are living in foster or relative care. Their parents have a court-ordered right to see them in “supervised family time visits” but parents describe this time as terrifying, emotional and traumatic, mainly because they are being watched and judged without knowing what to expect at a time when the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Partners for Our Children wants to change systems and promote child safety, positive family functioning, and reduce trauma for parents and children. We see Family Time as an opportunity to engage parents and we developed the Strive Supervised Family Time ProgramTM to increase the quality of visits between parents and their children, reduce the trauma, and increase the likelihood of successful reunification.. Strive’s strengths-based approach improves the family time experience by building trusted relationships between parents and the professionals involved in their family time, fostering a sense of hope. This helps parents engage more fully in family time and ultimately, creates positive emotional connections with their children that are healing and reduce trauma.
P4C has developed a five week in-person version of the Strive program and are developing an eLearning version which integrates Strive principles and has options for both providers and parents. Adapted to an eLearning, this format of the Strive-based training could be used to train all family time supervisors in the principles for supporting parents, ensuring greater consistency in visit supervision across the state and maximizing the quality of family time. The parent version is a complementary training option that would provide support, knowledge, and skills for parents for their family time. This eLearning modality allows for self-directed learning for both providers and parents to minimize barriers currently encountered with in-person Strive delivery, provides cost effective options to standardize family time provider training more broadly, especially when the in-person program is not feasible.