Most of the professionals who work with adopted youth and their families haven’t been trained in adoption-competent mental health therapy, according to the Center for Adoption Support and Education.
To change that, the Maryland-based nonprofit recently announced a major new initiative to expand the number of professionals who are properly equipped to help all these children and families manage the mental health challenges they often face.
Most of the children who wind up in a situation involving foster care, adoption, guardianship or kinship care have experienced challenging circumstances in their lives, and when these caregiving relationships are transracial or transcultural, the issues become even more complex. Those who care for the children and youth need to know how to improve the odds that they will grow up healthy and well-adjusted, according to CASE.
The center’s National Demonstration and Teaching Clinic for Adoption Competent Mental Health Therapy is in its planning stages. The organization began working on the idea behind the scenes a year ago, and the project will leverage the decades of experience developing best practices and strategic planning the organization has brought to the field.
Laura Ornelas will lead the demonstration and teaching clinic as its director. She earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California and is a licensed clinical social worker in California. She has specialized in foster care and adoption for more than 25 years and has helped build specialty mental health programs throughout the state.
The role “feels like the perfect match for my background,” Ornelas said in a press release announcing the clinic. “I am so honored to be asked to contribute to the field at such an important time in our nation.”
At this point, the Center for Adoption Support and Education is working to identify the resources and external partners it will need to launch in fall 2023.