Right Turn offers continuing education opportunities for families and professionals to acquire and expand their knowledge of best practices in adoption, guardianship, and parenting. Adoption is a lifelong journey, and as needs arise and evolve, Right Turn can help.

Our extensive training network includes adoption and guardianship specific information, as well as the many related topics that often affect adoptive and guardianship families: mental health, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, attachment, trauma and loss, child development and many more.

Below you will find a list of our most commonly offered trainings and workshops.  Right Turn has expertise in numerous areas related to foster care, adoption and guardianship, trauma and loss, and attachment.  If you are looking for something different than what is currently offered, we are willing to create a training to meet your needs.

Life is full of good times and challenging times. Whether it is work, family, or friends, sometimes a little reprieve and rejuvenation are needed.  Lighten your burden for an hour by learning the importance of laughter.  One of the most important tasks of parenting is learning to take good care of yourself so you can, in turn, take good care of your children. Learn how laughter affects the brain and become skilled in the ability to conquer compassion fatigue.  “It has been shown that, when we are suffering from Compassion Fatigue, we work more rather than less,” Dr. Charles Figley.  Join us in learning how to work less and laugh more.

Adoption is a lifelong journey that affects an adopted persons understanding of their world.  It is important for families to explore how adoption impacts children and young people throughout their lives.  From life events such as “family tree” day at school to the birth of their first child, adopted persons have a unique perspective.  Additionally, adoption impacts all members of the adoption kinship network – including biological parents and adoptive parents.  This training will explore Silverstein and Roszia’s 7 Core Issues of Adoption and common issues adopted persons and their families face throughout their life.  Parents will also receive tools for walking through and supporting their children through the life cycle of adoption.

Developed by Right Turn, A Step Further takes what we know about attachment, brain development, trauma and loss, and healing, and puts it into practice. Parents become part of the healing process for their children and begin to understand their child’s behavior, mental health needs, and challenges differently.

A Step Further is firmly rooted in research on the impact trauma and loss has on the brain and how changing the focus of everyday parenting can impact brain development. Parents help to heal the parts of the brain which have been poorly developed or damaged because of childhood trauma.

The workshop:

▪ Assists parents in understanding how trauma and loss impact child development and functioning.

▪ Helps parents see their child differently.

▪ Supports parents in implementing simple relationship building strategies.

▪ Assists parents in becoming the vehicle to help their children heal.

▪ Provides an opportunity for parents to connect with other parents of children who have experienced trauma and loss.

Learn more about A Step Further

When your family is formed through adoption, what does that look like for your established children? Have you come across issues related to balancing sibling rivalry and the emotional needs of those children already in your home? Do your adopted children have birth siblings that they may or may not see on a regular basis but remain important to them? Developing a sense of family cohesion takes time. Adoptive parents will need to work to make sure that the needs of all children in the family are being met. A good adoption home study evaluates the impact of the adoption on all family members and will help to prepare siblings for the addition of new family members. Not adequately addressing conflict between adoptive siblings can be a contributing factor to increased parenting stress and even placement disruption. These challenges and other points of interest will be addressed in this training. You will discover an understanding of how family dynamics transform and find tools on how to handle these difficult situations.

If there is one thing that is almost guaranteed in parenting, it is that children will have questions.  Questions about where babies come from, who they look like, why some people look different from others, and many more.  This is no different for adopted children; however, their story is different from most of their peers.  Every child deserves to know where they came from and their own story.  Life books are a tool to help a child gain a better understanding of how their past connects with the present, telling their own life story.  The training focuses on the importance and purpose of life books, a best practice tool used to bring parents and children closer together.  Life books guide difficult conversations about a child’s trauma, loss history, and adoption.  Parents will learn about the process of creating a life book with their child and gain helpful ideas about what to include and how to move forward with their child’s life book.

This training will help participants gain an understanding of how to positively influence the sexual development and increase knowledge about healthy versus problematic sexual development.  It will further look at the impact sexual abuse has on a child and how it alters the family dynamics.  The conclusion of our training will focus on children with problematic sexual behaviors and how to best assist them through treatment and create a safe environment for themselves and others.

At first look, it might seem adopting a child known to you would be simple. Many of the relationship steps have already been accomplished such as learning one another’s personality, interests, and history. However, kinship adoption also comes with its own set of unique questions and challenges. What is our new relationship supposed to look like? How do you transition into the role of parent when you have been the aunt, grandparent, or neighbor for so long? Maneuvering through complicated familiar relationships involving adoption can be tricky. Maintaining healthy boundaries is so important when dealing with all the emotions you might experience, from loss and guilt to joy and comfort, and all the feelings in between. Taking care of you is also a crucial component for success. Come and join us for the opportunity to discover new techniques for you and your family!

Play has the capacity to nourish a child’s mind, body, and soul.  Research shows, at birth, only 25% of the brain is developed.  The connections and pathways that are being formed while children are at play are essential for healthy brain development.  Through play, children learn how to problem solve, communicate, and it gives families the opportunity to discover one another on a non-threatening level.  Establishing a playful atmosphere with your child will bolster attachment, initiate healing, and create a special connection that will last forever.

Adopted children and adolescence utilize mental health services at a much higher rate than that of their nonadopted peers.  Navigating the mental health system can be complicated for parents seeking the best care for their children.  Adoption is an area of specialty and adoptive families deserve access to adoption competent mental health providers.  Learn about types of mental health providers, the meaning of diagnosis, levels of care, evidence-based treatments, and how to access appropriate services.

Culture connects us to people who share in our values, beliefs, and ideas. Often our culture determines how we process feelings, celebrate, eat, mourn, communicate, and parent our children. Many adoptive parents build their families with children who are of a different race or ethnicity and who may share in or celebrate another culture.  Intertwining a child’s culture and racial identity into their home is an essential step to creating a sense of belonging and positive self-image. When children are able to see parts of themselves in their surroundings they can begin to feel like they belong.  This training is an interactive training for parents who are parenting children from another culture or race. The training will focus on understanding the impact of race and culture as a tool to ensuring children feel a sense of belonging, challenges parents may have in understanding culture and incorporating a child’s culture into their home, and developing strategies to assist parents in overcoming these challenges.

Many parents have reservations when it comes to talking to their children about adoption.  They are unsure what age to begin talking about adoption, what information is appropriate to share, and how to answer their child’s difficult questions.  Topics that arise may be uncomfortable and parents sometimes fear they may say the wrong thing and somehow hurt their child. Whether a child was adopted as an infant or an adolescent, adoption is a part of the child and a part of the family. Adoption impacts how the adopted person views the world, how the world views them, their sense of self, and current and future intimate relationships.  Learn what the history of adoption has taught us through honesty and openness and help your child build a foundation for a strong adoption identity.

The Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) developed TAC based on its extensive experience in providing pre- and post-adoption counseling and educational services to families, educators, child welfare staff, and mental health providers.  C.A.S.E. also serves as a national resource for foster/adoptive families and professionals.

Research shows that children with traumatic experiences of abuse, neglect and abandonment, and challenging behavioral and emotional responses are at greater risk of presenting with adjustment problems within their adoptive families. These children’s emotional issues are often complex, and adoptive parents often identify these issues as the primary contributors to family stressors post-adoption. Access to adoption-competent mental health services is a critical factor in the outcomes for these children and their adoptive families and the success of their adoptions. Studies show, however, that adoptive families face significant challenges in finding quality mental health services provided by therapists who are knowledgeable about the effects of pre-adoption experiences on children’s intellectual and social functioning, children’s ability to form attachments to their adoptive families, and children’s overall development in light of early abuse, neglect, and foster care placements.

Learn more about TAC

New scientific explanations surrounding the impact of trauma and loss on a child’s development change the way we parent, teach, and understand children and teenagers. Attachment is the deep connection established between children and caregivers. This connection is a foundation for emotional and social development.  The quality of attachment, trauma, and loss, and chronic stress children experience also impacts physiology, particularly in how the brain develops from infancy through early adulthood.  Parents and professionals will gain insight into the importance of viewing a child’s challenging behaviors through the child’s world view and experiences, as well as begin exploring strategies to facilitate healing.

When a child is reported to have been sexually abused or has sexually acted out, the whole family is affected. As a parent, this requires a special understanding, specific knowledge regarding boundaries and learning the short and long term effects of sexual abuse. Sexual behaviors are some of the most challenging behaviors for parents to address. Sometimes these behaviors are part of normal child development and other times it may be an indication that something has occurred that needs addressing. This training is also conducive for professionals that may be working with this population and would like to increase their knowledge of this growing and complex problem facing our society.

Maintaining connections with your child’s previous and important relationships can be challenging and complex.  Years of research and adopted persons themselves tell us that this is imperative to healthy adoptee identity development.  This training will explore the complex dynamics that often accompany the relationship between adoptive and birth parents as well as the continuum of openness.  Participants will also gain an understanding of the importance of maintaining other important connections such as extended biological family, siblings, and previous foster parents. Participants will learn useful techniques to assist adoptive parents and birth parents in creating and maintaining a relationship that is based on the best interest and well‐being of the child.

Current statistics show that at least one in every one hundred children in North America have some form of a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is an umbrella term used to describe a range of disabilities. This means that no two individuals are affected the same.  Participants will understand the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on a child, and the potential challenges parents may face when raising a child with FASD. Additionally, participants will gain a better understanding of how these children experience the world, and special parenting considerations and techniques.

Adolescence is a critical age in which young people are trying to figure out who they are and where their life is headed. Adopted adolescents face these normal challenges with an added layer of complexity. The grief and loss inherent in adoption becomes clearly visible as the teenage brain grows and develops. This new understanding leads to new questions at a time when all adolescents are developing an identity. This training is geared toward helping parents understand how normal adolescent development and adoption issues fit together and play out for adopted teens and their families. Participants will learn about the “Six Stuck Spots” identified by the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) that are common for adopted teens and provide ideas as to how adoptive parents can support their adopted teens.