The Specialized Foster Parent Training (SFPT) Project
The Specialized Foster Parent Training (SFPT) Project was established in 1993 through a cooperative effort between the then School of Health and Human Services and the Fresno County Department of Social Services. The purpose of the Project is to provide training and support to licensed foster parents of Fresno County. These foster parents provide 24-hour care and supervision for children requiring out of home placement in the county. The Project was established to assist foster parents with the myriad of issues and the complexities presented when it is necessary to place children in out of home care. The focus of the training is to combine a theoretical foundation for the various dynamics relevant to out of home placement with the practical application of how to assist children through this difficult time.
The Specialized Foster Parent Training Project currently operates under the auspices of the Fresno State University College of Health and Human Services. Training is offered in three tiers, entry or beginning, intermediate sessions and several sessions of CPR/First Aid. Training is offered in both English and Spanish to insure that foster parents have opportunities to increase their knowledge and enhance their skills. The training is also scheduled and located at various community sites to provide accessibility and convenience for Fresno County Foster Parents.
A self-directed training process is also available to foster parents that are unable to attend the traditional training classes. Foster Parents can contact the Project office and training materials will be mailed to them. After the foster parent has had an opportunity to review the materials, they contact the Project and staff arranges for credit to be authorized. In some instances Project staff will schedule an appointment time to meet with the foster parent and review the materials. There are some training modules that can be credited through a paper and pencil testing process. The foster parent must score at least 70 percent on the test to have the training hours certified.
The Project has two full time Field Base Trainers. The Field Base Trainers provide support and enhanced services for foster parents. They work closely with county staff and foster parents to develop resource families in targeted areas to improve services to children and families in Fresno County. They contact newly licensed foster parents and conduct individualized training assessments, establish an appropriate course of home study and traditional training offerings to meet the needs of the foster parent and connect foster parents with necessary services. Both Field Base Trainers actively engage the community to provide services to foster parents within Fresno County and are available to assist foster parents in their homes when they are unable to come into the office.