About This Program

Target Population: Prospective and current parents who are, or will be, raising older children from foster care (ages 10 or older) who have moderate to severe emotional and behavioral challenges that require intensive coordinated services to prevent restrictive or congregate placements

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 10 – 20

Program Overview

CORE (Critical Ongoing Resource Family Education) Teen, grounded in trauma-informed and culturally responsive parenting skill acquisition, is designed to increase the parenting efficacy of resource parents for youths with behavioral challenges, thereby it aims to reduce the risk of placement disruption and increase permanency options for such youths while also recruit new resource parents.

Program Goals

The goals of CORE Teen are:

  • Increase self-efficacy to care for youths with behavioral challenges
  • Increase self-efficacy to care for youths culturally different from themselves
  • Increase knowledge of trauma and how trauma impacts youth behavioral challenges
  • Increase overall parenting competence, including appropriate intervention strategies
  • Increase self-awareness to determine their ability to foster/adopt or provide guardianship to older youths with challenges
  • Increase capacity and empathy to work with youths’ birth families

Logic Model

View the Logic Model for CORE Teen.

Essential Components

The essential components of CORE Teen include:

  • Three components:
    • A computerized self-assessment
      • Completed through a computer link
      • Self-scoring and provides immediate feedback
      • Helps prospective parents:
        • Determine if they have the characteristics effective for working with this target population.
        • Assess their current capacity and household functioning.
        • Assess their need for ongoing training and likelihood of becoming a permanent resource parent.
        • Provide a hint of what is to come in the classroom and in right-time training sessions.
        • Pique their interest and curiosity in curriculum content
        • Explore realistic expectations for themselves and reflect on what effect unrealistic expectations have on them.
      • Centered on measuring both:
        • Characteristics of strong resource parents
        • Parenting competencies important for caring for this population
      • Designed to help identify critical barriers and gaps that should be addressed and strengths they can leverage as opposed to ruling out or gatekeeping prospective resource parents from providing care and support
      • May help the agency identify services and supports the resource parent and their family need to be successful in being a resource family.
    • A 14-hour classroom curriculum
      • Divided into seven two-hour classroom sessions:
        • Session 1: Understanding the impact of trauma on youth in foster care
        • Session 2: Parenting youth who have experienced trauma
        • Session 3: Developing and sustaining healthy and supportive relationships with youth in your care
        • Session 4: Nurturing youths’ cultural/racial/ethnic needs and sexual orientation/gender identity and expression (SOGIE)
        • Session 5: Understanding and managing youths’ challenging behaviors (Part 1)
        • Session 6: Understanding and managing youths’ challenging behaviors (Part 2)
        • Session 7: Examining your new suitcase of parenting knowledge and skill
      • Co-facilitated by a professional and an experienced foster/adoptive parent
      • Conducted in a small classroom setting of 12-15 people
      • Sessions include:
        • Classroom teaching
        • Videos
        • Classroom activities
        • Participant discussion
        • Facilitation so that participants have the opportunity to learn from each other as a part of building their knowledge and skills
        • A participant guide and a resource notebook to keep, for future reference.
      • At the end of the classroom-based unit, participants re-take the computerized self-assessment to evaluate strengthened characteristics, increased competence, and ongoing areas for growth and development.
      • For trainers working in Tribal communities or in state systems where they may train prospective parents eligible and desiring of caring for children protected under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), special activities tailored to American Indian and Alaska Native youths and their needs are also provided. These can also be used by any other trainer in a classroom setting if deemed appropriate.
    • Right-time Modules:
      • Supplemental materials for participants to access whenever they need them
      • Can be used by:
        • Individuals as as-needed resources
        • Leaders as sessions during support groups
        • Workers in one-on-one sessions with resource parents
      • Eight modules:
        • Provide short (20-30 minutes) learning opportunities
        • Each includes:
          • A video
          • An accompanying discussion guide
          • A video transcript
        • Designed to be used by individuals (with or without a worker) and groups
        • Module titles:
          • Relationship Development (i.e., between parent and youth)
          • Parental Adaptation
          • Parental Regulation
          • Trauma-Informed Resource Parenting 1: Understanding and Recognizing the Effects of Trauma
          • Trauma-Informed Resource Parenting 2: Understanding Behavior
          • SOGIE (i.e., Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity & Expression)
          • Transitions (i.e., between placements)
          • Continued Connections (i.e., with biological family/siblings)

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

CORE Teen directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Prospective and current foster/adoptive parents and guardians providing care to older youths (age 10+) in the foster care system with moderate to severe behavioral challenges

Recommended Intensity:

The self-assessment takes approximately one hour to complete. It is taken at the beginning of the training cycle and then again at the end of the classroom sessions, to allow participants to evaluate their own growth and change. Each weekly classroom session (seven total) is between 2 and 2.5 hours in length. The Right-Time modules are approximately 20-30 minutes in length each (8 total) and are at the discretion of the individual participant, who has access through the curriculum website.

Recommended Duration:

7 weeks

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Adoptive Home
  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • Justice Setting (Juvenile Detention, Jail, Prison, Courtroom, etc.)
  • Other
  • Public Child Welfare Agency (Dept. of Social Services, etc.)
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)
  • Shelter (Domestic Violence, Homeless, etc.)
  • Virtual (Online, Telephone, Video, Zoom, etc.)


CORE Teen includes a homework component:

While there is no mandatory homework, there are available take-home resources that participants can read between classes or at any other time they choose.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

In order to complete the self-assessment and Right-Time modules, participants should have access to a computer or some other electronic device to complete a survey or view videos and access resources (such as a smartphone).

For the classroom sessions, facilitators need:

  • A meeting space such as a classroom, community room, or conference room
  • A computer
  • A screen and projector
  • Audio speakers
  • Flip chart paper
  • Markers for writing on the paper
  • Tape to hang the paper on the wall.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

It is strongly recommended that CORE Teen classroom sessions be facilitated by co-trainers to allow for more effective management or group dynamics and to enhance the learning environment with varieties of both knowledge and lived experience:

  • Both trainers should have experience parenting or working with adoptive and guardianship families with children who have moderate to severe emotional/behavioral challenges.
  • One trainer should have 3-5 years’ experience as a child welfare or adoption professional who is credible as a service/training provider to child welfare-involved families.
  • The other trainer should be a foster, adoptive, or guardianship parent with 3-5 years’ experience parenting the targeted youth population and preferably experience giving or receiving supports or training in a group setting. This trainer should have a recommendation from a child welfare or adoption agency.

All trainers should have these skills:

  • Ability to establish a safe learning environment
  • Ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with people of diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to manage group dynamics and emotions, re-directing participants, as needed
  • Ability to think on their feet and be responsive to parents in the moment
  • Ability to maintain boundaries and share appropriately about their own experience
  • Ability to elicit input and participation from parents
  • Ability to follow the curriculum and script, but make adjustments, as necessary, in activities or discussion to accommodate the participant’s needs

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

Manual Information:

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

The Trainer Guide provides all the information needed to facilitate the classroom portion of the curriculum. It includes introductory pages to provide trainers a better view of the project, PowerPoint slides with notes, ways to facilitate activities within the classroom content, handouts, the pretest/posttest with answers and a supplemental section that includes optional activities for each of the seven sessions. These optional activities were designed with Tribal communities in mind, but upon review, users may find them beneficial for other communities also.

More specialized training provided by Spaulding’s consultants, including time, delivery, and fees, is negotiated through the training contact listed above.

Implementation of the computerized self-assessment and access to the online courses for the Right Time modules may require CORE Teen technical support. That support can be obtained by emailing the training contact above or

Number of days/hours:

All training provided by Spaulding, including time and resources, is negotiated at the time of consultant contract development.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Feltner, A., Day, A., Vanderwill, L., Fontaine, E., & Cohick, S. (2021). Equipping resource parents with the knowledge and attitudes to effectively parent teens: Results from the CORE Teen training program. Children and Youth Services Review, 121, Article 105835.

Type of Study: One-group pretest–posttest study
Number of Participants: 188


  • Age — Mean=45 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 60% Caucasian, 23% African American, 12% American Indian/ Alaskan Native, 5% Hispanic, 1% Asian, and 1% Asian Pacific Islander
  • Gender — 64% Female
  • Status — Participants were resource families recruited from public and private child welfare agencies from one of four pilot sites that were selected to participate in the CORE Teen training.

Location/Institution: Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and one Tribal Nation located in the Southeastern region of the United States

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Critical On-going Resource Family Education (CORE) Teen. Measures utilized include the Resource Parent Self-Assessment of Caring for Teens (RPSAC-Teens). Results indicate that participants demonstrated significant improvements in training competencies and characteristics in a number of factors related to parenting teenagers. Limitations include lack of randomization, potential measurement error and a need to refine the RSPAC-Teens tool, and length of follow-up. 

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: 90 days.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for CORE Teen.

Contact Information

Sue Cohick, MSW, LCSW
Agency/Affiliation: Spaulding for Children
Phone: (248) 443-0300

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2023

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: September 2023

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: September 2023