Clinical Issues in Adoption and Foster Care Certificate Program graduates its first class

The first five students to complete the Clinical Issues in Adoption and Foster Care Certificate Program will graduate on Friday, Nov. 20.

Betsy Singer Cable, program director
In addition to awarding certificates to graduates on this day, adoption awareness month, which runs through November, will be recognized with a free presentation on ethics and adoption in Alger 110 from 8:45 to 11:30 a.m. Certificate students can attend this workshop to earn 1.5 CEU’s (continuing education units). Individuals not in the program, looking to expand their knowledge in this area, may also attend the workshop.

Students graduating the program are Christine Trendell, Amanda Reuter, Nancy Mabry, Wendy Pires and Maragret Dybala.

Graduates will have their names listed on the Adoption R.I. and DCYF websites. The School of Social Work is currently working with Neighborhood Health Plan to establish a preferred provider list that identifies clinicians who have completed the program.

“There is a huge need to support families in adoption,” said Betsy Singer Cable, program director. “[Currently] There is no way to identify private practitioners and clinicians in the community with expertise in the area of adoption and foster care.”

Singer Cable said the program’s goal is to offer advanced clinical training for working with children and families impacted by adoption, foster care, kinship care and legal guardianship. In doing so, the hope is to increase the access that families have to skilled, informed clinical care. By giving them a wider choice of services to choose from, families will not have to go to an agency if they choose not to.

“This population has a unique clinical need,” she added.

Through a survey mailed to all Rhode Island licensed social workers, mental health counselors, and marital counselors, the School of Social Work found that most clinicians identify themselves as adoption competent, but were informally educated on information regarding adoption and foster care through family, friends and personal experience, rather than formal research, education or training.

Obtaining a certificate in adoption and foster care is not a license, but it is a step towards increasing specialized training, said Singer Cable.

Historically, there is a history of long wait lists for services, because there are few clinicians in Rhode Island that are formally trained on these issues.

Individuals are welcome to take any workshop in the certificate program, including those who do not want to earn a certificate, and those who are not mental-health professionals.

The Adoption and Foster Care Certification Program is a collaborative effort between the School of Social Work, the R.I. DCYF and the R.I. Child Welfare Training Institute. It is the only program of its kind offered in the state.

To learn more about the Clinical Issues in Adoption and Foster Care Certificate Program, contact Betsy Singer Cable at or call (401) 456-4625.

Wendy Pires, one of five graduates of the Adoption and Foster Care
Certificate Program receives her certificate from Darlene Allen.

In addition to graduating its first students, the Adoption and Foster Care
Certificate Program also held a free seminar on ethics and adoption.