Free curriculum to help child welfare agencies build better support groups
Parent support groups are a valuable way to support families in adoption, foster care, and kinship care. To be most effective, though, peer support groups need a leader who has the knowledge and skills to address group dynamics and keep the group positive, focused, and informed.
Designed for states, territories, and tribes that are offering or supporting groups for resource families, this curriculum will help prepare effective leaders. By training new group leaders, you can ensure that they have the skills and tools necessary to start, grow, and sustain a support network that truly meets the needs of the families in your community.
What the curriculum covers
The role of the group leader is a critical one, requiring a unique skill set. Created with wisdom from effective parent support leaders across the US, the curriculum’s modules cover:
- Becoming a leader
- Planning and getting started
- Facilitating groups (beginning and advanced)
- Sustaining the group
The core principles of effective leadership and support are woven throughout the five modules, building from basic to more challenging or complex matters.
Although designed with new leaders in mind, this curriculum can be flexible. It provides both the basics for launching a successful support group and offers strategies that experienced leaders can use to continue in their own growth, as well as the growth of the group.
How to use the curriculum
When choosing training facilitators, it’s likely best to engage experienced leaders. Those who have demonstrated excellent leadership skills are usually the most successful in transferring those skills to others.
- Consider if your group leaders will be parents or professionals. Both models can be effective, although many parents prefer to receive support in groups led by parents. Parents who lead groups may need additional support due to secondary trauma.
- Consider training two leaders for each group. This can help reduce the burden on your leaders and provide them with built-in support.
- Don’t forget to support your group leaders. During the training, you can help the participants become their own support group. They can then provide each other with guidance and advice once they are out running their own groups.
- The curriculum is a total of 12 hours, including breaks. Please note that your actual time may vary depending on the length of activities and the depth of discussion.
- We recommend offering the training no more than two modules at a time.
Each module includes an agenda, the materials required, and the preparation you will need to do ahead of presenting the module. We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the entire curriculum before presenting any of the modules.
Download the modules
- Module 1, “Becoming a Leader” (2 MB PDF), and Module 1 presentation slides (2.9 MB ZIP file)
- Module 2, “Planning and Getting Started” (1.2 MB PDF), and Module 2 presentation slides (1.8 MB ZIP file)
- Module 3, “Facilitating Group Meetings, Part 1: The Basics” (2 MB PDF), and Module 3 presentation slides (2 MB ZIP file)
- Module 4, “Facilitating Group Meetings, Part 2: Advanced” (2 MB PDF), and Module 4 presentation slides (2.2 MB ZIP file)
- Module 5, “Group Sustainability” (1.5 MB PDF), and Module 5 presentation slides (2.4 MB ZIP file)
Thank you for helping to increase peer support available to adoptive, foster, and kinship families. We’re all in this together!