Resilience in children and young people -

December 20, 2012

At UK Fostering we recognise that healthy and robust levels of resilience are incredibly important for children and young people who have had a difficult start in life. But many children in foster care need extra help to develop resilience from the people who are closest to them: the foster carers.

Resilience is generally described as the process of adapting well when faced with trauma, tragedy, adversity, challenges, neglect, abuse, relationship breakdowns, health problems etc. It is broadly acknowledged that resilience means to overcome these life events and to ‘bounce back’. However, being resilient does not mean someone does not experience distress or difficulties, but it means that they have tools and support to overcome these, mostly in a positive way. The mere fact that a child is placed in foster care means that they have been and are faced with difficulties and adversity of some kind.

It becomes obvious, why resilience for children in care is so important. Resilience in children and adults involve all of the following elements which can be learnt and developed in anyone:

      • Behaviours
      • Thoughts
      • Actions

Barnardo’s has done research into resilience factors and they say that their results are clear: It is generally agreed that resilience is affected by the strengths of an individual, and of their family, as well as those of the community and the culture in which they live. Please see the following link for the full details (Click here)

The fact that the strength of the family and the community affect resilience building is a real opportunity for foster carers in the UK.

What areas of a person’s life contribute to resilience building? According to Daniel and Wassell (2002) the six domains of resilience are:

  1. Secure base
  2. Education
  3. Friendships
  4. Talents and interests
  5. Positive values
  6. Social competencies

Urs Bielmann, Director of UK Fostering says: ‘It is significant how all of these factors fall under the areas which a foster family can directly support and influence. It is so important that foster carers are supported and guided in working on all of these areas. A ‘secure base’ is the very foundation of any successful foster placement’.

We plan to post further blogs on the topic of resilience. So watch out for the next part in which we look at what aspects of the daily lives of your children gives an indication on their level of resilience.