Reed & Whitehouse Deliver $201k for Adoption RI to Improve Training for Child Welfare Professionals

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse have teamed up with Adoption Rhode Island (ARI) and the Rhode Island College (RIC) School of Social Work to breathe new life into a specialized certificate program aimed at addressing workforce shortages in human services and child welfare in Rhode Island, particularly focusing on the needs of children and families involved in foster care and adoption.

Joined by ARI CEO and Executive Director Darlene Allen, RIC School of Social Work Assistant Professor Dr. Mary J. Archibald, Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) Director Ashley Deckert, and advocates with lived experience, Senators Reed and Whitehouse announced a $201,639 earmark to reestablish the Adoption and Foster Care Certificate Program. This initiative aims to equip child welfare professionals with the necessary skills to effectively support individuals and families impacted by adoption and foster care.

Senator Reed emphasized the importance of enhancing support systems for these vulnerable populations, stating, “Every child is full of potential and with the right support, they will reach it.”

Senator Whitehouse echoed this sentiment, expressing gratitude to Adoption Rhode Island for their advocacy and underscoring the positive impact professionals can have on the lives of children going through adoption and foster care.

The federal earmark, secured by Reed and Whitehouse in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations law, is intended to support ongoing professional development opportunities for child welfare professionals, prioritizing the voices of those with lived experiences.

Darlene Allen, CEO of Adoption Rhode Island, hailed the funding as critical for the project’s success, expressing confidence that the revamped certificate program will benefit Rhode Island’s child welfare workforce.

The Adoption and Foster Care Certification Program, developed by ARI, RIC School of Social Work, and DCYF, aims to enhance skills and knowledge for clinicians, social service providers, educators, and others involved in these sectors.

In anticipation of the program’s relaunch as an online course in the summer of 2024, ARI and RIC are working collaboratively to redesign the curriculum and structure, ensuring its accessibility and relevance to current industry needs.

With decades of combined expertise, Adoption Rhode Island, RIC, and DCYF remain committed to the development and coordination of the Adoption and Foster Care Certificate Program, recognizing the importance of continuous improvement to address evolving challenges in the field.




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