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Therapeutic fostering: a resource guide 1

Therapeutic Fostering is going to be high on the fostering provision agenda for the foreseeable future. Very simply, we are going to need more people to come into Therapeutic Fostering to train to provide specialist care. This is because increasing numbers of young people suffer trauma before entering the care system. This means that they have complex needs which can; for the general foster carer, prove extremely difficult to cope with. This is the factor that lies behind the increasing trend of multiple placement breakdowns which are so corrosive for all concerned. These breakdowns can have a demoralising effect on foster carers and as a consequence affect future recruitment prospects.

We do not have enough people coming forward for therapeutic fostering. The obvious step to take is to look at our existing pool of foster carers and determine those who have the interest and, more importantly, the capability to provide this care. There are some strong incentives that could persuade: therapeutic fostering is not going to be cheap – carers will have to be paid enhanced rates. Another point worth making is that when therapeutic fostering works successfully, the results can be dramatic. A young life can be seen to have been salvaged and put back on track. Given that so many foster carers go into fostering to help and make a difference, when this difference is so tangible, the sense of satisfaction will be high.

Therapeutic fostering: published resources

We will provide specialist training – as well as the chance to obtain qualifications in therapeutic fostering. Foster carers interested in developing their careers and acquiring professional skills will hopefully respond to this. Foster carers who are disinclined to consider a ‘therapeutic placement’ may simply find that they wait longer without a child in placement. There could be a financial implication if placements are declined because the needs of the young person are viewed as too complex. As already mentioned, within the general pool of foster carers, there will be proportion who will consider therapeutic fostering. This series is intended to point the way to certain resources that will help foster carers learn more. They can then decide if this is an option for them. The way we are facilitating this is to recommend published resources that will acquaint the reader with therapeutic fostering.

A Guide to Therapeutic Child Care: What You Need to Know to Create a Healing Home

This book has been written by Ruth Emond and Laura Steckley. It is very accessible and gives an easily absorbed insight into what therapeutic parenting involves. It provides a good description of all the main theories, including the ‘invisible’ psychological challenges that youngsters struggle to cope with. It focuses particularly on how best to develop a nurturing relationship with a foster child. Building trust is essential and the book explores how to achieve this. Practical strategies are combined with general advice. More specific guidance is given to the means to create ‘safe spaces’ – both relational and physical – as well as how to promote the development of essential emotional/social skills for children. This is often lacking in children who have suffered early trauma. A Guide to Therapeutic Child Care: What You Need to Know to Create a Healing Home has been  written with contributions from foster carers. It is an excellent reference work for social workers, foster carers, residential child workers and kinship foster carers. It makes for good reading for foster carers thinking about therapeutic fostering.

About the authors

Ruth Emond works on a part time basis in the School of Applied Social Science at the University of Stirling. She is a social worker and play therapist. Ruth Emond also provides therapy to children and parents who have experienced trauma. Laura Steckley is based at the University of Strathclyde. She works within the School of Social Work and Social Policy – as well as the Centre of Excellence for ‘Looked After’ Children in Scotland. Autumn Roesch-Marsh is a qualified social worker. She has experience of working with children both in residential and community settings. Autumn is working at the University of Edinburgh as a Lecturer in Social Work.

Acquire therapeutic fostering skills and develop your career

Rainbow will support you to discover more about therapeutic fostering. We have a range of training methods – including training online, group training, therapeutic foster care uk or face to face training. Want to find out more? Please call 020 8427 3355, or our National line 0330 311 2845.

And in the news:

The Foster care stocktake – a missed opportunity? 

6th, February 2018

The Department for Education’s fostering stocktake report has today been published. The much awaited report into the state of the nation’s foster care is likely to divide opinion. Already the leading foster care charity, The Fostering Network, has reacted. Its chief executive, Kevin Williams sees it as an opportunity missed: he stated –

“Today’s report appears to be a thorough stocktake of the current situation in fostering. However, despite some suggestions about how to refocus funding away from bureaucracy towards frontline support, we are disappointed in the report’s lack of vision and ambition for the (more) http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK

Good news at the end of this Rainbow…our Youth Participation Officer is putting together a new newsletter – watch this space!

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