‘Carers feel valued and well supported by their supervising social worker and the input of the clinical psychologist. They are proud to work for the agency and have trust and confidence in the social workers, the responsible individual and the manager.’ Ofsted Nov 2014
That is not to say that all children we look after are in desperate need of therapy with behaviour off the wall. We are saying that most looked after children will benefit from a therapeutic parenting approach due to the additional challenges they face.
Children living in foster families have had to live through the trauma of leaving birth families and adjusting to a new family. For many of these children they are also leaving behind an experience of inadequate parenting, including abuse, neglect and /or exposure to the trauma of living with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse.
Looked after children are at an increased risk of attachment difficulties. An attachment difficulty occurs when a child struggles to trust a carer. Foster carers need to provide nurture and support to children. They need to find special ways of parenting the children to help them experience a secure attachment and develop resilience and emotional health.
Providing the child with a consistent, nurturing, warm, non judgemental environment, whilst believing in the child and encouraging the formation of positive attachments, are all key components of a therapeutic parenting. All fostering has to be ‘therapy’ of a sort as it needs to address the individual needs of the child. It is not rocket science. It is parenting the child in the correct manner in order to help them to restore self-confidence, self-esteem, trust and ultimately, positive relationships.
In order to give you the skills to undertake this task we deliver all of our training with a ‘therapeutic parenting’ perspective of what is going on for the child and the best ways of parenting in these circumstances.
Our consultants and experts deliver and devise much of this input themselves and all are experts in their field, some with international reputations. All of our staff are similarly trained in using a ‘therapeutic parenting’ approach towards fostering and will ensure that they too are in a position to help and advise you.
If you should encounter a complex situation you will have direct and QUICK next day access to our experts who will give you one-on-one support and encouragement. You will never be on your own with Children Always First.
Where a child has complex issues we will endeavour to provide direct therapeutic support from a therapist or commission an assessment to determine their needs as soon as practicable. It is for precisely these reasons that Children Always First has established such an eminent and expert list of consultants. Most of our placements will never need their direct intervention but in those circumstances when a child does, the support is all here already, armed and ready to go.
Often you will just need an occasional consultation with a Psychologist/ Therapist to give you confidence that you are doing the right thing and this is why there will often be one of our experts at carer support groups. However Children Always First prides itself on making access to expert help easy and if you need help, it will be available within minutes.
‘A significant strength of this agency is its commitment to ensuring that knowledge of attachment underpins the care and support which foster carers give to the children and young people in placement.’ Ofsted Nov 2014