The caregivers in any orphanage are the ground staff that come into daily contact with vulnerable children of all ages and dispositions. Their mental health, capacity to cope with problems and stay with an organization ensure that the vulnerable child has access to a constant figure in their lives. This will be the focus of the modules for the first day.
Session 1: Selection Criteria
Selection criteria for Caregivers: What is the assessment process, how do we staff a home and what kinds of educational backgrounds do these caregivers have? In this module, we will cover how we can assess a caregiver’s emotional health and mental stability, their perspectives on parenting and child care and their family information that will be helpful in placement, management and training. These assessment techniques can be formal and informal but should provide information on how suited the caregiver is to the job and what specific training and or support he/she may require.
Session 2: Mental Health Training Needs of Caregivers
Training in mental health is essential for this group as they will be handling and taking care of orphans who often come from traumatized backgrounds and have behavioral and emotional problems of their own. We will include in this module, developing emotional attunement with a child, understanding trauma and its symptoms, using attachment focused therapies and recognizing emotional problems in a child. Helping them with both technique and management will be helpful as they grow in their capacity to take care of and manage these vulnerable children.
Session 3: Skill Building & Developing of Caregivers
Determining the specific skills that the caregiver will need. These are to be provided by the organization such as Udayan Care. They can include skills building as in learning how to manage crisis situations, dealing with a difficult child, parenting strategies, managing competing demands and learning how to be assertive and manage their personal emotional turmoil when confronted with challenges in their day to day tasks. We can also include programs on child and adolescent development, management of anger and other behavioral problems. This is an essential and integral part of building a team of caregivers who are well-informed and able to carry out what is asked of them.
We have little or no information on what happens to a young adult once they leave an orphanage. While there may be occasional contact, a systematic process and program of evaluation of their long term progress is absent. The modules for the second day will address various concerns regarding this population.
Session 1: Planning for Transition
We all know that institutionalized children leave their institutional homes at a certain age. This module will focus on how we can prepare a child to leave a home, the specific skills training including educational, occupational and emotional skills, that are needed for a child to move into adult living. This module will share ideas and specific methods by which such planning has been addressed in different organizations.
Session 2: Social Adjustment
Examining how these young adults negotiate and manage different aspects of their social and emotional life is imperative. We will examine information on how these young adults fare, what they feel they lack and/or what they feel they were prepared for. This module will help us understand our programs as well as work towards incorporating new strategies as needed. In this section we will also examine the mental health concerns of this group of young adults.
Session 3: New Directions
In this module we will discuss the research that is currently being conducted and our finding thus far. We will also propose new research questions and invite people to participate in a round table discussion on this matter.
Will consist of two sessions each day focusing on stakeholders themselves, i.e., caregivers and young adults. Each day devoted to one of the stakeholders' group - where they will discuss and deliberate on the following:
On the first day, in two sessions, the caregivers will discuss and explore issues related to care giving. They will also participate in some capacity building exercises.
On the second day, in two sessions, the young adults will discuss and explore issues related to social adjustment outside institutional life. They will also participate in some capacity building exercises.
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