Adoption & Foster Care Certificate Program

New Adobe PDFContinuing Education in Social Work opportunities are available for Spring 2015! Classes start January 23.

*CORRECTION: Mindfulness-Based Clinical Interventions on March 6th, 2015, will be held from 9am-12noon rather than until 4pm.  It will cost $70 rather than $90, and will be counted as 3 CEU instead of 6.

THE CERTIFICATE IN ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE PRACTICE provides clinical and practical training for those working with families and children whose lives are touched by the issues of foster care and adoption.

Please note: Workshops in the Adoption and Foster Care Practice Certificate Program are open to all. You do not need to be seeking an AFCC certificate.

Our Vision: Adoption and foster care competent professionals throughout the greater Rhode Island area.

Our Mission:  Through the Adoption and Foster Care Certificate program, we will promote adoption and foster care competent professionals as resources to support permanency for children in Rhode Island’s child welfare system.

AFCC certified clinicians will…

  • Be flagged in the DCYF system as having completed the program
  • Be invited to attend a peer consultation group facilitated by Lori Geiselman, AFCC Coordinator
  • Be a part of the push for adoption and foster care competency

Program Requirements

Course Descriptions

Adobe PDFCurrent Schedule of Workshops

Workshop Registration

Adobe PDFPre-2014 Certificate Completion Form - This form applies to participants who started the program prior to the Fall semester of 2014.

Adobe PDFCurrent Certificate Completion Form - This form applies to participants who started the program during or after the Fall semester of 2014.

Program Requirements:

The following workshops will qualify toward this certificate program:

AFCC-40: Grief and Loss in Foster Care and Adoption (Core)
AFCC-41: Considering the Value and Role of Culture and Diversity in Foster Care and Adoption (Core)
AFCC-42: Working With and Understanding the Role of Birth Families (Core)
AFCC-43: Preparing Children for Permanency (Elective) 

Workshops are held at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work and are listed below.  Please click on each title for further information.


Course Descriptions:

Grief and Loss in Foster Care & Adoption (Melinda Gushwa)

This workshop explores the unique experiences of grief and loss among children and adults in the world of adoption and foster care.  Particular attention will be paid to evidence-based treatment approaches geared toward developing practice skills for clinicians.

Working With the Military and Veteran Population (Christopher Morse)

An overview of common difficulties following service in combat areas is presented. Participants discuss considerations for working with veterans and their families.

Mindfulness-Based Clinical Interventions: Applications for Anxiety Symptoms Reduction (Beverly Serabian)

Special emphasis is on anxiety symptom reduction, using research-proven mindfulness-based methods. The workshop format includes didactic presentation, experiential practice and a focus on implementation in clinical practice.

Clinical Issues in Working With Birth Families (Cathy Lewis)

This workshop explores the rationale and dynamics of contact between birth parent/foster-adoptive parents. Participants develop skills around practice guidelines for building these relationships and effective treatment approaches for working with families.

Preparing Children for Permanency (Cathy Lewis)

Preparing children and youth for permanency is a critical part of any social worker’s efforts to achieve quality outcomes. This workshop utilizes experience-based learning to enhance skills to assist with multidimensional aspects of permanency preparation.

Filling the Guy Mug: Engagement and Treatment Strategies With Males of All Ages (Michael Cerullo Jr.)

This workshop explores engagement strategies and clinical interventions for males aged 13 to 75 challenged by acute or chronic threats to their emotional well-being.

Considering the Value and Role of Culture and Diversity in Foster Care and Adoption (Deoshore Haig)

The role of culture and diversity in adoption and foster care practice is examined. Participants learn the potential strengths of culture and diversity that can be used to help in the process. They also discuss potential issues that may arise as a result of cultural differences.

Preparing for the Social Work Licensing Exam (E. Belle Evans)

The official American Association of State Social Work Boards (AASSWB) Study Guide and Manual is used to help prepare M.S.W.-level social workers for the licensing exam. The study guide is included in the cost of workshop.


Melinda Gushwa, M.S.W., Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work. She has over 15 years of practice experience in the areas of public child welfare, psychotherapy, mental health case management and medical social work.

Michael Cerullo Jr., M.S., LMHC, is a psychotherapist in private practice. Since 1998, he has written or supervised approximately 350 diagnostic assessments for family court and has worked with more than 400 male adolescents and emerging adults, including many involved with DCYF and the juvenile justice system.

Christopher Morse, M.S.W., has been a readjustment counseling therapist at the Providence V.A. Medical Center since 2005. He has worked extensively with the military and veteran population in Rhode Island, both as a counselor and as a combat veteran.

Deoshore Haig, M.S.W., director of Haig & Associates, has over 25 years of experience working with culturally diverse communities in social services and managing health and human service programs. As an independent consultant, Deoshore’s services include designing and facilitating diversity and cultural competency training, advising in program development, conducting program evaluations and providing technical assistance for organizational development.

Beverly Serabian, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and former professor of holistic counseling at Salve Regina University, has integrated meditation as an adjunct to psychological treatment since 1978. She is currently facilitating the monthly Buddhist Psychology Salon for mental health professionals in Rhode Island.

Catherine Lewis, M.S.W., LICSW, is a clinical social worker having worked more than 25 years with foster and adoptive children and families. She is an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island College of School Social Work and is in private practice.

Lori Geiselman, LICSW, has a child welfare background that includes direct practice in the areas of child protection, sentenced and detained youth in juvenile corrections and adoption recruitment and training. In addition to her direct practice work, Geiselman is experienced in systems change in the areas of gender-specific programming for young women at the Rhode Island Training School and the creation of Permanency Support Teams for Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families.

E. Belle Evans, Ph.D., M.S.W., LICSW, M.P.H., M.Ed., RN, is a professor of social work at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work.

Contact AFCC

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For further information, please sign up for our email list or contact:

Lori Geiselman
AFCC Program Coordinator
Child Welfare Institute
Rhode Island College School of Social Work
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Providence, RI 02908
Telephone: (401) 456-4622


Adam Cable
Graduate Assistant
Rhode Island College School of Social Work
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Providence, RI 02908
Telephone: (401) 456-2753

The Adoption & Foster Care Certificate is a program of the Child Welfare Institute, in partnership with:

  • Rhode Island College School of Social Work
  • Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)
  • Adoption Rhode Island
  • Beacon Health Strategies
  • Child & Family
  • Family Service of Rhode Island
Advisory Committee
Darlene Allen Lee Baker* Janice E. DeFrances*
Tonya Glanz Emily Lyon Barbara Keefe
Kathleen Letourneau Roberta Pearlmutter* Marcia Huftalen
Diane Savage Deborah Siegel Lori Geiselman
Dante Del Guidice* * ex officio members
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Page last updated: January 28, 2015