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Health care professionals across diocese benefit from

'Infant Adoption Awareness Training'

By PATTIE MCGURK, LBSW
Catholic Social Service

During the past six years, Catholic Social Service has provided the “Infant Adoption Awareness Training” to approximately 1,500 nurses and social workers at hospitals, health departments and related agencies across the state of Kansas.  
This training program is funded through a federal grant with “The Spaulding Foundation for Children.”  The purpose of this grant is to help health care professionals learn appropriate ways to assist a pregnant woman or teen who might want to consider adoption for their unborn or newborn child.  
In July of 2001, a “notice and request for proposal” was issued by the Department of Human Services to develop and implement “Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program” (IAATP) curricula.  Spaulding for Children was awarded the grant for the 2001 to 2004 period.  This grant was funded and awarded to Spaulding for Children for another two years in 2004 and for another five years in 2006. Spaulding for Children and Catholic Social Service joined together to begin what is now a six year partnership.  
The first year (2005/2006) Catholic Social Service was the “host” agency for the state of Kansas.  In fiscal year 2006/2007, Catholic Social Service in the Diocese of Dodge City became the Lead Agency for the state of Kansas and is responsible to provide this free training statewide.  September 30, 2010 will close the fourth year of the grant. Unless this federal grant is funded again, Oct. 1, 2010 will start the fifth and final year of the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program with Spaulding for Children and Catholic Social Service.
The goal of the Infant Adoption Awareness training is to review current adoption practice, policy and law, and to help health care and helping professionals, working with those experiencing an unintended pregnancy, feel comfortable providing information about adoption on an equal basis with all other courses of action.  The Infant Adoption Awareness Training is about educating, not advocating for adoption.  

Through a combination of:
•    Lecture
•    Discussion
•    Demonstration
•    Team activities
•    Video vignettes
the training provides a chance to learn about:
•    Different types of adoption
•    Birthfather’s rights and responsibilities
•    Cultural responsiveness issues
•    Special issues related to teen counseling
•    Various viewpoints and challenges of birth mothers, birth fathers, adoptive parents and adoptees.

Participants that have attended the Infant Adoption Awareness Training have indicated that the following was most helpful or useful:
“Very interesting! Never lost my attention.”
“Everything was very helpful; There is a lot of stigma around adoption -- it is good to know the “need to know” information as a nurse.”
“Very informative -- just the right amount of information -- was not overwhelming.”
“Well organized, clear, concise content.”
“Knowledge regarding birth father’s rights; Knowledge regarding young teenager’s rights.”
“The way the information was presented — laid back, but professional; Tons of resources to take home.”
“Great workshop — well worth the time.”
“Very good seminar; A lot of good information.  I have more understanding of the dynamics of adoption; I have a better understanding of ‘rights’.”
“It can be reassuring to birth parents to know that they can choose their adoptive parents.”
For more information on the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program (IAATP) or to schedule the free raining, please contact Pattie McGurk at the Great Bend Catholic Social Service office at (800) 794-9756, or visit our website at www.catholicsocialservice.org, or visit the Infant Adoption Awareness website at www.IAATP.com.  
This training is approved for continuing education for nurses and social workers.


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