In early April, KVC West Virginia hosted nearly 150 families at our Resource Family Conference at the Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, WV. This biennial event is a free weekend of training and fun for KVC resource families, a term that includes foster and adoptive parents, and the youth they care for.
Beginning Friday, April 8, families checked into their hotel rooms, ate dinner and networked with other resource parents and KVC team members. Caregivers and youth also enjoyed a screening of Disney’s animated movie Encanto and popcorn.
Teaching Healthy Attachments and Life Skills
After breakfast on Saturday, caregivers strengthened their parenting skills with trainings from our child and family experts. Training instructors included Robin Atkinson, Stephanie Casto, Kristi Ferrell, Patricia Heins, Valerie Nichols, Brittany Sponaugle and Sara Wyer. Caregivers received free continuing education credits for their participation.
The Attachment, Regulation Competency Reflections training provided caregivers with tools and hands-on examples to help children and teens build healthy attachments with adults. The course also showed parents how to teach youth to regulate their emotions and behavior while building appropriate life skills. For some youth, important development stages may have been disrupted due to trauma exposure.
This training encouraged caregivers to be curious and reflective about the children in their care. It also placed a heavy focus on self-care. Instructors showed parents how to be mindful of their own reactions and responses. As adults practice frequent “check-ins,” they can link their energy level and emotions with their ability to be thoughtful, engaged caregivers
New Experiences, New Memories
While parents were in training, youth of all ages engaged in developmentally appropriate activities with supervision from KVC employees and volunteers. Younger children had fun with sports, hula hoops, coloring sheets and more at the hotel’s indoor playground.
“Our Resource Family Conference offers youth a chance to have new experiences and make new friends,” said Brent Lemon, KVC West Virginia President. “Oftentimes, this event is the first time youth in foster care have stayed in a hotel or been on vacation. We’re happy to help them make some really cool memories.”
Youth ages eight through 18 enjoyed the resort’s leisure center activities including bowling and arcade games. They also learned how to fly small drones in a demonstration from Fairmont State and KVC’s First Star Academy of West Virginia. All children participated in an Easter egg hunt and were awarded a few small treats.
The conference wrapped up Saturday afternoon with an awards presentation. The awards honored foster families of five and 20+ years. Families received certificates and KVC-branded jackets, lapel pins and other prizes in recognition of everything they do to help West Virginia youth.
About Foster Care & Foster Parenting
In instances of abuse, neglect or other overwhelming family challenges, courts may rule that children must be temporarily placed in foster care. Foster care is a safe place that gives a child and their family an opportunity to resolve conflicts or disruptions and learn healthy skills so the child can safely return home, when possible. If foster care is needed, foster parents step in.
Over 6,000 kids are in foster care throughout West Virginia and there is a shortage of foster parents across the state, especially adults willing to care for teens and sibling sets. Last year, KVC West Virginia foster families cared for more than 1,000 youth in foster care.
For more information about foster care and foster parenting, fill out this form to speak with our Foster Parent Recruiter.