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Meet the Fosters: Training and Retaining Foster Care Parents

April 10 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

6.5 contact hours are available for NYS, NJ and CT Licensed Social Workers

$250 single; $200 each for 5 or more

Alumni will receive a $50 discount. Please email swope@columbia.edu for the promotional code. Your email should contain your name and the year you graduated.

*Open to the public



Foster care parents are key members of the child welfare system and have an immense responsibility in providing a new home, and a healthy, clean, and nurturing environment for children who have been removed from their own homes. While the majority of literature and research on the child welfare system focuses on the children and biological parents, this workshop aims to fill the gaps in this scholarship by focusing on working with foster care parents.

While several studies have been conducted that discuss the risks and protective factors of foster care children, parenting skills, and training, as well as retention strategies, this class will focus on the experience of foster care parents, specifically mothers and how to work with this particular population.

Workshop Description

A caregiver stress and coping model, as well as role theory, will be applied to understand foster parents and their view of their role versus the reality of what they experience, taking into consideration the influence of their non-kinship or kinship status. We will also discuss culture and family values and how they manifest within the foster care world. The knowledge of the experience, challenges and views of foster care parents elucidates important information for the provision of services and aids in the recommendation of interventions for this population.

Additionally, we will discuss suggestions to enhance recruitment and retention strategies within the foster care system. We will ideally integrate guest speakers during the class from caseworkers to foster mothers.

Learning Objectives

Participants will learn to:

  • Articulate an understanding of the foster care system from the standpoint of foster care parents’ experiences.
  • Identify social policy, programming, and clinical issues that are relevant to this population, while critically evaluating ways to enhance services.
  • Articulate assessments/strategies and interventions (specifically, psychoeducation) that might be used to work with foster care families and biological parents.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the impact of race, social class, gender, and religion within the foster care system.
  • Identify ways in which a social work lens can have an impact on the child welfare system.


Yamile M. Martí Haidar, Ph.D., LMSW, MA, has been teaching at CSSW since 2011. She has worked at the individual, community, and policy levels and within mental health organizations, schools, community centers, and government agencies. Her clinical experience ranges from issues of substance abuse; the child welfare system; and therapy and group work with families and children, cancer patients, abused women, and abused/neglected children, among others. Dr. Martí has conducted research on the implementation and evaluation of a teacher training intervention for empowerment, as well as, a community empowerment intervention in Puerto Rico. She also collaborated in a psycho-education intervention for young women who are pregnant and in foster care with Dr. Ellen Lukens and Dr. Mary Sormanti of CSSW and conducted a qualitative study on the experiences of foster care mothers.

Dr. Martí’s research areas include the development of resiliency and coping skills for children and women in crisis or facing adversity, the implementation and evaluation of interventions that promote positive mental health in children and women and the role of psychosocial and cultural factors on mental health.

Dr. Marti earned her doctorate at CSSW, where she focused on the experience of foster care mothers. She also holds Masters degrees at Teacher’s College, Columbia University (Concentration in Psychology Education) and in Social Work from CSSW.


April 10
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Columbia School of Social Work
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