Case workers/foster parents

Reaching Infants Who Have Experienced Trauma, Toxic Stress, and Traumatic Separation

The brain undergoes its most rapid development during the first three years of life, making infancy and early childhood a period of both great vulnerability and opportunity. Young children in foster care have often suffered from environments that do not nurture brain development and many of these children have experienced exposure to trauma, toxic stress and/or traumatic separation. Case Workers and foster parents, therefore, represent a strategic workforce and group to engage in an effort to ensure that all children – including our most vulnerable – receive abundant language nutrition.


  • Infants experienced the largest increases in both system investigations/alternative responses and victimization between 2010 and 2014. [1]

  • Infants in foster care are at risk for attachment disruption [2], but research shows that adult-child language-rich interactions can foster parent-child attachment [3].

  • Only 50 percent of children in foster care will receive a high school diploma [4], 32 points below the nationwide high school graduation rate [5].


TALK WITH ME BABY: Foster Parent Curriculum 

TWMB has developed Talk With Me Baby: Foster Parent Curriculum, which can be incorporated into a state’s program to train foster parents as well as case workers. The curriculum and supplemental materials will prepare the case workers to integrate language nutrition messaging and coaching into their interactions with biological parents and foster parents. In addition, foster parents will understand to importance of delivering language nutrition to the infants in their care and will be encouraged to act as language nutrition coaches for biological parents.

By engaging the case workers and foster parents who care for these children, TWMB is able to reach this vulnerable and growing population of infants.  


Talk With Me Baby Foster Parent Training Materials

  • Talk With Me Baby: Foster Parent Curriculum (coming soon)
  • Mp4 files for four training videos and one promotional video (coming soon)
    • A Framework for Understanding – addressing trauma, toxic stress, and traumatic separations, introducing language nutrition and the importance of reading proficiency by the end of third grade. (coming soon)
    • The Science Behind Language Nutrition – offering tips on how to deliver language nutrition, including “serve and return” communication and use of “parentese.” (coming soon)
    • Becoming a Talk With Me Baby Foster Parent – providing tips on how to deliver language nutrition by talking, reading, singing and playing. (coming soon)
    • Becoming a Talk With Me Baby Coach – emphasizing the importance of partnership parenting, the role of a TWMB coach, and tips on coaching. (coming soon)
    • An additional video designed specifically for case workers is in development (coming soon)
    • TWMB Foster Parent Training Session Overview (coming soon)
    • Training sequence and fidelity of training/trainer checklist (adapted from nursing trainings for foster parent training) (coming soon)
    • TWMB Foster Parent Post Test (coming soon)
    • TWMB Foster Parent Evaluation (coming soon)
    • Use of Interventions to Improve Caregiver- Child Interaction (coming soon)




[1] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2016). Child maltreatment 2014. Available from]

[2] Infants in foster care are at risk for attachment disruption, [[1] Dicker, Sheryl and Elysa Gordon. Ensuring the Healthy Development of Infants in Foster Care: A Guide for Judges, Advocates and Child Welfare Professionals. Zero to Three Policy Center. January 2004. Accessed on May 4, 2016]

[3] Snyder, Christine. “Promoting Positive Attachment in Infants.” Extensions. HighScope Educational Research Foundation. Volume 25, No.4, page 9.

[4] Foster Care Facts. Promises 2 Kids.]. Accessed on April 22, 2016.

[5] U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High. U.S. Department of Education. December 15, 2015. Accessed on April 22, 2016.]

Talk With Me Baby is made possible by a grant from the United Way of Atlanta and is a collaborative effort among organizations.