Therapeutic Parenting Support

Here at Children Always First we believe that building strong relationships between foster parent and child is the key in helping the child to make progress. Most children and young people who come in to care have experienced some kind of trauma and we know from experience that they benefit from our therapeutic parenting approach. 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 poor parenting, including abuse, neglect and/ or exposure to the trauma of living with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately this means they are often prone to having attachment difficulties.  An attachment difficulty occurs when a child struggles to trust an adult due to their prior experiences.

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. They need to provide the child with a consistent, nurturing, warm, non-judgemental environment, whilst believing in the child and encouraging the formation of positive attachments; these are all key components of ‘therapeutic parenting’. All fostering has to be ‘therapy’ of a sort as it needs to address the individual needs of the child. 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, which ensures that, they too, are in a position to help and advise you. This means you receive a consistent response whomever you contact in the agency. If you should encounter a complex situation you will have direct access to our experts who will give you one-on-one support and advice.

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. Most of our placements will never need a direct intervention but in those circumstances when a child does, the support is all here already, armed and ready to go. We pride ourselves on making access to expert help easy and ensuring that, if you need help, it is available.

Bonita Fradd - Senior Therapeutic Practitioner

We are extremely fortunate at Children Always First as we have our very own Senior Therapeutic Practitioner, Bonita Fradd. Bonita has been working therapeutically with children and families for many years.  She is an Accredited Play Therapist; BACP Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor; Filial Therapist and Trainer and is currently completing her training in DDP Therapy Practicum under the guidance of Kim Golding.  Since qualifying, Bonita developed a keen interest in Attachment and Trauma and went on to provide therapy and support to both birth and foster families as well as providing consultations and training to schools, local authorities and independent foster agencies. She has also facilitated the setting up of support groups for teachers who are interested in becoming more inclusive for vulnerable pupils, giving then an attachment framework in which to understand children’s behaviour.

Bonita joined us in 2016, she delivers a vast array of different training programmes to our foster carers and staff as well to schools who support the children within our agency.  Within her role, Bonita also offers Clinical Guidance sessions to foster carers as well as attending Jigsaw meetings.

Bonita delivers a regular Nurturing Attachments Group, which is a unique 18-week group-work programme designed to provide support and guidance to our foster carers who are working with children who have insecurity of attachment.

The group explores Attachment Theory and links this to the House Model of Parenting. This provides a coherent set of ideas for working with children in a way that fosters security of attachment and therefore resilience and emotional growth. This is a course we like all of our foster carers to attend as it has proved to be so beneficial for all of the foster carers that have completed it.

Bonita also delivers advanced DDP Support Groups for all that have completed all three modules of the Nurturing Attachment course. We have designed a learning focus group on Attachment and DDP that will gives the time, space and support to continue the DDP pathway. It provides a place where our foster carers can bring their issues, learning and ‘what works,’ to the group. Bonita will add particular themes that you want to discuss based on our DDP framework.

Bonita’s training is always a huge hit with our foster carers and staff and everyone raves about the training and support she provides.

"An exceptional feature of the service is the attention to children’s emotional health with the involvement of a prominent clinical consultant and the employment of a therapist. They support staff and carers in a dynamic and engaging way to apply the model of care". Ofsted 2018