Once all of the paperwork was submitted we toddled off to PRIDE classes. PRIDE took up all of May. PRIDE classes are mandatory and must be completed before the home study can begin.
Here is the course outline for PRIDE:
- Connecting with Foster Care: What, Why, Who, and How?
- Being Part of a Professional Team for Permanency Planning
- Meeting Developmental Needs – Attachment
- Meeting Developmental Needs – Loss and Grief; Strengthening and Continuing Family Relationships
- Meeting Developmental Needs – Discipline, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, & Shaken Baby
- Behavior Management – Intervention Techniques
- Sexual Abuse Awareness
- Planning for Change and Making an Informed Decision
- Psychotropic Medications
- Red Cross First Aid and CPR Training and Certification
Classes were every Tuesday and Thursday evening for the month of May, and one Saturday. Several agencies group together for PRIDE, which makes economic sense for them and made the process more fun for us, as we got to meet other folks going through the process and see how it was done at other agencies. Our facilitator, Angela, was awesome – she had worked at CPS and is now at an agency so she had lots of inside knowledge from both ends of the spectrum. And our class was full of lively folks from all walks of life.
The content and homework skips the basics of parenting and dives into the deep end of what foster kids many have experienced when they arrive on your door step and what special or unique parenting issues you may therefore face. The hardest classes by far for me were the shaken baby class and sexual abuse.
The demonstration for shaken baby was dramatic and IMHO should be part of every high school health class. They put an egg in a glass jar and snapped it – once. Of course, the egg smashed. And that is what happens in a baby’s brain. For one second of rage, you get a catastrophic life injury, assuming baby survives at all. Don’t get me wrong, I understand there are many circumstances that can take you to the end of your rope as a parent; but really, put the baby in a crib (or on the floor), close the door, and walk away. While this is not a long term solution, it can mean the difference between life and death for your child. Just walk away and call someone.
Then there was the sex abuse class. It is hard for me to imagine how on earth someone can violate an infant or child in such horrific ways (and in so many horrific ways). But the statistics are sobering. The estimate is in the neighborhood of 80 percent of kids that pass through Child Protective Services will have experienced some form of sexual abuse.
Even more troubling is the realization that victims can easily become offenders (especially without treatment) as they age. Once you understand that, and realize that few perpetrators are prosecuted, and those that are receive little to no treatment while incarcerated, so that when folks have done their time, the recidivism rate is off the charts, one begins to understand why there are so many sex crimes in our society. This left me feeling so helpless. Clearly, we need better treatment, but we also need to intervene before a child becomes a victim. Because it is so unclear whether any form of rehabilitation works…of all the vicious cycles that trap generations in our culture, I think this is the one that grieves me the most.
Anyway, there was so much more to PRIDE than I can say in one post. I guess it can best be summed up by saying that PRIDE got us thinking about (1) lots of issues that most families, I pray, never face; or (2) that many of our friends, as parents, only think about when they get there (as in, when you are pregnant, you are not necessarily thinking about your house rules and discipline policy; but when you can receive a child from birth to age 5 you better be ready for).