KEEP is an evidence-based support and skill enhancement education program for foster and kinship parents of children and teens (KEEP SAFE). The program supports foster families by promoting child well-being and preventing placement breakdowns.
Numerous studies have shown that many of today’s foster children have complex and serious behavioral and mental health problems that put them at risk for negative long-term outcomes. The enormous potential of these young people and the tough challenges faced by foster and kinship parents inspired the development of the KEEP model.
KEEP groups typically include seven to 10 foster or kinship parents who attend 16 weekly 90-minute sessions that focus on practical, research-based parenting techniques. KEEP groups are led by two facilitators who are trained and supervised to skillfully implement the program staying true to the validated model. KEEP doesn’t use a “one size fits all” curriculum. While the facilitators draw from an established protocol manual, they tailor each session to the specific needs, circumstances and priorities of participating parents and their children. Each week, the facilitators gather specific information about the children’s current behaviors by telephone. This information is then incorporated into the weekly sessions to make sure the group is both current and relevant.
KEEP groups are designed to be flexible and fun. Snacks are served and childcare is provided. Unlike a classroom lecture format, KEEP groups are interactive and participatory. The groups synthesize the real and current experiences of foster and kinship parents with lessons learned from research about the most effective parenting methods.
‘The Most Helpful Training We Have Received’ in 6 Years of Fostering
(Thanks to the Lowes for offering their enthusiastic point of view!)
The KEEP training has been a very eye-opening experience. As we went into this class, we thought that, like most training courses, we would sit and listen week in and week out, about how to be a more successful foster parent.
Little did we know, the KEEP training turned out to be by far the most helpful training we have received in our six years of being foster parents.
This training is a very open, non-judgmental, hands-on environment, where the most diverse of foster parents can relate to other foster parents and gain important and useful parenting skills. These skills not only benefit the foster children but also everyone in the home. We look forward to our “Tuesday Getaway” to vent about foster parent frustrations and educate ourselves in how to relieve our often highly stressful parenting situations.
During these classes our instructors Amie Russell and Tiffany Hickey have been so supportive and taught us helpful ways of becoming the best foster parents we can be. As foster parents, we are often told what we cannot do, but through the KEEP training we are taught what we can do—in all, but especially the difficult parenting situations.
These classes are not your typical training sessions that are often boring to most foster parents, but are very exciting and full of laughter.
You as a foster parent have the opportunity to “role play” as the foster child and put yourself in their shoes which gives you a totally new prospective to foster parenting. We understand that 16 weeks of training classes seems like a lot when you live a busy, hectic life like we do, but we encourage everyone to greatly consider the upcoming KEEP trainings in your area. We are legitimately sad to see these classes come to an end in a couple of weeks, but we plan to KEEP utilizing the KEEP training program in our home.
– Randy and Brittany Lowe