Leader Qualifications and Responsibilities
Certified PS-MAPP Leaders must bring credibility to their new roles in the PS-MAPP Program. Because they will be responsible for both preparation and selection, they must have experience and interest in working with groups, families and individuals. Most importantly, they must have experiences with the child welfare program as foster parents, adoptive parents, child welfare volunteers or as foster care or adoption practitioners.
PS-MAPP leaders are responsible for the following core tasks:
to make prospective parents feel welcomed and comfortable in the group setting;
<to engage prospective parents in their preparation to assess, enhance and develop the 12 skills essential for successful fostering and adopting;
to engage prospective parents in their preparation to make a decision about fostering or adopting;
to enable prospective parents to make a decision about becoming foster or adoptive parents; and
to gather enough assessment data to help the agency make an informed decision about selecting the family to become a foster or adoptive family.
A certified leader of the PS-MAPP, DT and Caring for Our Own has many responsibilities. The leader is responsible for building partnerships with foster parents, adoptive parents and agency staff who will work together with the child and the child’s family. Leaders will need to assess their own strengths and needs in the specific knowledge and skills that are necessary to achieve this partnership.
Leaders are most successful when they can demonstrate the following skills:
The greatest responsibility of the leader is to communicate effectively. Leaders must demonstrate an ability to express ideas and feelings and to determine if the ideas and feelings they have expressed are understood. Reflective listening skills are essential. Those skills include the ability to restate, paraphrase and seek clarification.
Build Positive Identity and Self-Esteem
Leaders model the ability to identify and emphasize individual and family strengths. Emphasizing the strengths of an individual empowers that person to develop into the role of a foster/adoptive parent. This also helps families see the possibility for change.
Leaders must facilitate individual, group and family problem solving which may range from broken equipment to exercises that do not go according to plan.
Leaders are required to respond to a group, to individuals and to families without step-by-step guidelines and structure. Leaders will often have to demonstrate risk so that others become involved.
Use Power and Influence
In both the preparation and mutual assessment/selection processes, the leader is an authority figure and must be willing to share responsibility with the group while setting limits, pace and tone.
Give and Receive Feedback
Leaders will need to give both positive and negative feedback to prospective parents and to one another. Feedback is most effective when it compares performance results against the established selection criteria. The focus of tying actual results to the criteria is essential because it clarifies expected performance as it helps to identify areas for improvement or reinforcement.
The ability to give feedback is the essential skill of coaching. Within the group setting or face-to-face, leaders must constantly assess prospective parents and design activities and opportunities for growth and development.
Organize and Manage
The role of the leader requires the ability to coordinate the Group Preparation and Selection Program. Coordination involves the logistics of the Program, as well as how it fits into the larger foster care and/or adoption systems.
Successful leaders have the above skills or the willingness to develop them. Just as the PS-MAPP and DT Programs develop foster parents and adoptive parents, starting where they are, it is important for leaders to personally start with where they are. All selected leaders will have strengths and needs. By referring to the responsibilities and skills listed, leaders have the tools to assess their own strengths and needs as well as those of their co-leader.