The number of children going into care has been rising over the past five years. A great many of them have undergone various forms of trauma. This means that they can have complex emotional needs. Foster carers are going to need to be much better prepared to respond to the needs of such children. As part of providing up to date information on this increasingly important subject, we shall highlight materials that will facilitate a better understanding for foster carers. So, in line with this, we would recommend ‘Therapeutic Parenting in a Nutshell: Positives and Pitfalls’ by Sarah Naish.
This book is written by someone who owned and managed a therapeutic fostering agency; one which was rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. The author uses her considerable experience to provide an explanation for the differences between ‘therapeutic parenting’ and ‘standard parenting’. This includes a range of case studies – along with strategies that result in effective therapeutic parenting. The book is a valuable resource for parents, foster carers as well as professionals involved in supporting children who have undergone early life trauma. There are links to inspirational and sometimes humorous videos which demonstrate the practical applications of techniques used in therapeutic parenting. Answers are provided for foster carers and professionals: all who provide support and care for children with behavioural and attachment difficulties. It points out the need to parent such children in a different way – as well as the common challenges therapeutic parents face and the best ways to overcome them.
If the book is used together with videos and coursework, it offers an authoritative and effective foundation to providing care for children who have experienced early life trauma. It is also contributes to the new Level 3 Diploma in Therapeutic Parenting. This is the only nationally accredited Diploma in Therapeutic Parenting in the U.K.
A further explanation of therapeutic foster care
A therapeutic foster care placement is one that addresses the needs of children who have experienced significant trauma, neglect or abuse. These needs may be very complex. Such children may have undergone extremely disturbing experiences. This means that the foster care they receive must be sensitive in addressing the consequences of their trauma. Children will be placed where they can build a trusting relationship with a trained foster carer. They will then receive a programme of individually tailored therapy to help them overcome their past experiences.
Children in need of therapeutic foster often demonstrate:
- withdrawn, depressive behaviour;
- an inability to build trust with others;
- an inability to form relationships;
- issues with anger management and/or aggression.
The skills of a therapeutic foster carer
Firstly, the foster carer must learn all they can about the individual child and their experiences. By understanding they will be in a position to effectively support the emotional, physical and psychological needs of the child. This is key to helping the child’s social development – enabling them to have improved self esteem, be able to engage in an age appropriate way and experience friendships.
A therapeutic foster carer will need to provide –
- a safe, secure home environment;
- an understanding of the underlying reason for a child’s behaviour;
- effective support/participation, in a therapy programme;
- the ability and commitment to continue a therapeutic programme within their home;
- consistency: to always be willing to communicate with the foster child and demonstrate a belief in their abilities and potential.
Specialist training to be a therapeutic foster carer
A foster carer will need training to give them the skills to offer this type of care. This means participation in a special training programme. A foster carer will be assessed on their suitability and, once trained, be matched with a foster child who provides the best match with them.
We offer access to a number of training courses (one/two days) that provide therapeutic knowledge and skills which include:
• Understanding attachment and attachment difficulties;
• Understanding and responding to complex trauma;
• Brain development in infancy;
• Understanding and managing self-harm;
• Responding to sexually harmful behaviour;
• Introduction to reflective and therapeutic practice.
Why people become therapeutic foster carers
There’s no doubt that becoming a therapeutic carer can be particularly challenging. Some people are attracted by the personal and career development such specialist training offers. A therapeutic foster carer can enhance their professional abilities, and qualify for higher rates of pay. Perhaps the most important reason is that a skilled therapeutic carer can really make a huge and long lasting difference to the life and prospects of a child: one who may have experienced considerable suffering. It is the chance to mend the life of a young person.
Be a carer with Rainbow
Already a carer with a long term placement – looking for a different kind of agency? We make the process of transferring efficient and hassle free. You may be eligible for a special bonus – for more information, call 020 8427 3355. We offer a ‘referral bonus’ of £500 if you are a carer and can refer someone to us interested in being a carer. Once they receive their first placement, you will receive the payment.
Meet the challenge and foster in 2018
We need people to care for teenagers, sibling groups or parent and child placements. We provide support and training. We also offer specialist training for people who want to specialise in therapeutic foster care. If you have questions on therapeutic care training online, therapeutic foster care uk, training for therapeutic foster care or simply what is therapeutic foster care – call us on 020 8427 3355. Whichever way you want your professional career in foster care to develop, we will assist you.
We welcome applications from people regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or cultural background. You can also write to us at Rainbow Fostering Services Ltd, 10 Churchill Court, 58 Station Road, North Harrow, London HA2 7SA
Rainbow news page:
Siblings suffer due to a shortage of carers
12th December, 2017
The Care Inspectorate has produced a report stating around 20% of sibling groups in Scotland that are taken into care end up being split (more) http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK
And the good news at the end of this December Rainbow…we are all looking forward to our upcoming ‘Secret Santa’.