Providing education and support to deliver better outcomes for children and families in permanent care and adoption

Training and support programs for permanent care and adoptive families

‘As you form your family through permanent care and adoption, there are areas where additional learning and support may be needed.  PCA Families offers a range of training and support programs for permanent care and adoptive families.  Our full range of training is outlined below.  Check our current Calendar of Events for upcoming workshops, training sessions, or support groups.

‘Please contact PCA Families if you are interested in any of the training listed in our full range of programs. We can discuss your requirements and see how we can best meet your needs.’ 


Training for Parents

Parenting Plus

Let’s Talk About School: Adoption and Permanent Care

Introducing Siblings Through Permanent Care and Adoption

Parenting with Mindfulness

Life Story Work

Raising Teens


Parenting Plus

“Every child needs all the help their parents can get” (Australian Childhood Foundation)

This specialised Therapeutic Parenting Course was developed by Relationships Australia (SA) in response to the needs of parents for support in parenting children through adoption and permanent care.

The course is built around the core challenges of parenting children with early experiences of disrupted attachment and trauma. These core challenges, along with grief and loss, regulation/dis-regulation, identity and pervasive shame, often sit beneath the radar of outsiders to the family, and are difficult to identify and discuss for families, yet significantly impact on intimate family relationships.

The sessions explore:

  • Impact of early experiences
  • Understanding the impact of early experiences
  • Models of Therapeutic Parenting
  • Tools and strategies
  • Triggers for parents and children.

The aim of the course is to provide participants with the opportunity to explore a number of modes of ‘therapeutic parenting’ from the eyes of a child. It will assist parents in deciding which skills and attitudes they wish to develop to enable them to build an emotionally safe environment for their child. In addition, the course explores the realities of parenting a child who has entered a family through adoption and permanent care, seeking to increase parent’s capacity for regulation and nurturing with full acknowledgement of their own experiences.

Duration: delivered successively across six separate modules of approximately 3 hours each, this program enables parents to build on and apply their knowledge within their own family settings.

Let’s Talk About School: Adoption and Permanent Care

Let’s Talk About School training provides knowledge and strategies to support adoptive and permanent care parents in:

  • Identifying their children’s additional needs in the context of school
  • Stages of development and children’s understanding of adoption and care
  • Educating school staff and childcare workers about their children’s needs
  • Preparing children with the knowledge and confidence to answer questions around family
  • Resources, tips and tools for parents to share with children and their school.

Training participants will receive the handbook Let’s Talk About School: Helping Educators Understand the Implications of Adoption and Permanent Care. It provides teachers with a deeper understanding of: how the child’s loss and pre-adoptive or permanent care environment impacts on their time at school; techniques that can help cater to children’s needs; respectful adoption and permanent care ‘language’; and, available resources.

Duration: 2.5 hours

Introducing siblings through Permanent Care and Adoption: A professional and parent perspective

This informative workshop is for families who have recently introduced, or are planning to introduce an additional child into their family.

It provides a professional and a parental perspective on:

  • Understanding how attachment and trauma experiences impact on children
  • How behaviour from these experiences impacts on all family members
  • Practical takeaway strategies to strengthen families.

An experienced clinical psychologist presents a professional perspective around trauma, attachment and possible parenting approaches. This presentation is complimented by parent’s sharing their lived experiences around the challenges and successes of introducing a new sibling into a family. The session incorporates discussion and question time.

Duration: 3 hours

Parenting with Mindfulness

Utilising the principles of mindfulness as a basis for a parenting approach, this one day program will incorporate:

An introduction to mindfulness

  • How mindfulness can be integrated into parenting approaches, particularly in environments or contexts where child behaviour is challenges and has the potential to provoke reactive rather than proactive parenting responses
  • Developing self-awareness to build individual emotional intelligence, and how an understanding of self and self-history informs parenting practice
  • Practical strategies for parents to empower themselves to engage with their parenting in a positive and optimistic frame
  • Mindfulness tools for parents to use with children and young people to build children’s emotional intelligence and self-regulation

Life Story Work

This training session provides adoptive and permanent care parents with another therapeutic tool to use with their children. With an emphasis on life story work as a journey to understanding the past, the present and providing the resources to move on to the future, this session offers participants:

  • Current research and thinking on life story work and the role it can take in family life
  • Shared learning, reflection and problem-solving
  • A ‘toolbox’ of suggested strategies and activities
  • The opportunity to explore, in a practical way, how to create and use life stories.

“In essence, life story therapy is not just about the who, what, where, when, why and how of events – it is also about the consequences of those events, and how they drive the child.” (Rose, 2012)

Duration: 4 hours, with opportunity for group discussion and sharing.

Raising Teens

Adolescence can be a difficult time for many children and for their parents. For families formed through adoption and home-based care, this can be particularly true.

PCA Families’s Raising Teens program aims to empower and equip parents raising teenagers to identify and best respond to:

  • Their teenager’s emotional needs, including their feelings around self-esteem, security, identity and belonging
  • Issues of control and autonomy, developing their teenager’s self-awareness and ability to process and self-regulate their emotions
  • A teenager’s ability to manage anger and to communicate and share feelings appropriately
  • Developing skills in problem-solving, conflict-resolution and empathy
  • Risky behaviours
  • The need for limits and discipline, especially with teenagers who have a background of disrupted attachment and trauma.
  • Learn how to effectively teach about the link between behaviour and consequence to a young person.

Parents will have the opportunity to build on their own self-awareness, exploring how their emotions affect their own behavior and responses.

The program will present current research and thinking, opportunities for collaborative learning, shared reflection and problem solving, along with take away strategies and activities.

Duration: 4.5 hours, with a subsequent discussion session of 2 hours enabling participants to share their at-home practices.

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Donations enable PCA Families to continue to deliver high quality programs in support of the home-based care and adoption community. Donations over $2.00 are tax-deductible.