Therapeutic fostering is a placement where a child or young person has undergone significant neglect or trauma and would benefit greatly from therapeutic care. This type of fostering provides a child with a supportive family where they can build a trusting relationship with a foster carer whilst they receive therapy to help them to overcome a traumatic experience or period in their lives. Foster children in need or therapeutic fostering often have:
• Difficulty building relationships and trusting others
• Depression or withdrawn behaviour
• Problems with aggression or anger management
What does therapeutic fostering involve?
The foster carer’s job is to learn all they can about the child and understand what has gone wrong, and how they can best support the child’s emotional, psychological and social development. In this way it is hoped that the well-being of the child will see improvements, and they will for example be more confident, have a better self esteem, be able to enjoy friendships and engage age appropriately.
In order to provide an effective therapeutic fostering placement, a foster carer will need to provide:
• A secure, consistent environment
• Demonstration of belief in the abilities and the future of the child
• Understanding in the deeper reasons for a child’s behaviour
• The presence and willingness to talk with the foster child whenever needed
• Continue the therapeutic programme within the home
Training for therapeutic fostering
A foster carer who wishes to provide therapeutic fostering must undergo a training programme to give them the correct skills for this type of fostering. Each foster carer will be assessed on their ability to provide this specialist fostering, and matched with a foster child who they are best placed to care for.
Therapeutic fostering is a challenging vocation, but it can also be immensely rewarding to have a positive and lasting impact on the life of a child. If you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with UK Fostering for further information.