Best practices

There are 2 training curricula for prospective foster parents that are used across the nation. One is called PRIDE, the other MAPP. (Actually PS-MAPP; the PS got added in the mid ’90s.) That parenthetical is a symptom of what I’m about to ramble about.

These training curricula were developed based on research. They are widely recognized as being good training programs. DC started using MAPP as a condition of a consent decree in the LaShawn A. vs. [Mayor] class action case.

I took MAPP 6 and a half years ago. The videos that were part of the training seemed old, so it was pretty clear that the curriculum was not-how shall I put it?-recent. Still. I’m taking MAPP again. Some of the handouts have had the footer updated to say 2013. None of the content has changed. The videos haven’t changed. And for the last three weeks it has bothered me.

Last night I looked at the article we’re supposed to read for “Road Work” (get it? follow the map?). “Over the past 50 years and particularly within the last ten…”. WAS WRITTEN IN 1983. I’d like to point out that was 31 years ago. This is not to say that there wasn’t good research 31 years ago. But reading about trauma and foster parenting from 30 years ago is a little like reading about libraries from 30 years ago. It may have been the best research at the time, but things have evolved.

But what really inspired me to throw up these word on your computer screen now? This. This is the story that we should be reading in our foster parent training. We should be reading how moves from home to home have harmed this young lady. We should be reading about transgender and gender-nonconforming kids (and not just hearing about how there’s a high need for foster homes for the GTLBQ population–abbreviation bungled on purpose as a direct quote from Thursday). We do not need to be reading about 8 year old Beau  who is HIV symptomatic and worried his mom is going to die, wants to be an airplane pilot and is sad he can’t have a cat. (Beau, along with Lily, Jerryce, and another cast of characters, have been the prototypical foster kids for the last God-knows-how-many years.)

We should be reading about Relisha Rudd and the complexities of the system, and how hard decision-making can be, and what it’s really like to work in partnership with families.

We should be reading about current research about the long-term effects of removal on kids.

And we should be reading about the effects of maternal substance use on newborns. (Or not.)

Is MAPP still considered best practices? Let’s look for something new.

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