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What Is Therapeutic Foster Care?

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As a foster carer, you will encounter children with many different needs, and previous experiences. Some of the children that come into our care may have had to deal with abuse, trauma or severe disruption in their lives. The role of our foster carers is to provide a safe environment where children and young people can form healthy relationships and regulate their emotions. Therapeutic Foster Carers are specifically trained and therefore skilled to provide a safe environment for children and young people.

Our foster carer becomes part of a ‘team around the child’, additional support coming from a dedicated support worker for the child or young person and an allocated therapist who works directly with the foster carer on behaviour management – all providing a secure safe base for the child or young person.


How does therapeutic foster care differ from mainstream foster care?

All of our foster carers are given all the support they need to provide quality care, but therapeutic foster carers require further training and specific intervention.

The agency uses the ‘SSRR model’, Safety, Stability, Resilience & Repair, which is an integrated and systemic model – meaning that everything and everyone matters. This model considers the complexity of young people’s lives and their developmental profile. It is based on the development of positive relationships, trust and secure base attachments between young people and their foster carers.


What does therapeutic foster care entail?

As a therapeutic foster carer you will utilise the SSRR in the following way.

● Make sense of behaviour within the context of early life experiences and developmental trauma. This means understanding aspects such as defensive behaviours, attachment issues and coping mechanisms connected to trauma.
● Able to confidently respond and manage behavioural problems via the connect and correct principle. This includes knowing the right action to take and the right way to communicate with the child effectively.
● Being able to handle rejection and resistance to their care due to the foster child’s past trauma. A therapeutic foster carer needs to be able to step outside of themselves and their ego to fully understand that a child’s behaviour isn’t personal and that they are moving through a process of healing and recovery.
● Being able to openly acknowledge and admit their own experiences and knowing when that may impact their care and own reactions.
● Regularly attend constant training and developmental programs to help them learn even more about managing and caring for children with past trauma.


How do you become a therapeutic foster carer?

At Calon Cymru Fostering we offer Therapeutically Led Placements (TLP), which offers all the benefits of foster care and therapeutic support in one package. We make sure all our TLP carers are fully trained and supported before getting their first placement and offer consistent support throughout.

If you’re interested in becoming one of our therapeutic foster carers, you will need to:
● Be emotionally robust and resilient enough to manage difficult or sometimes stressful situations
● Provide a secure, safe and loving environment for a child or young person
● Have a good sense of humour
● Have warmth and empathy
● Be adaptable and be able to create flexibility around a child’s individual needs
● Able to draw on practical skills you’ve gained over time


Get in touch with our team to find out more about becoming one of our therapeutic foster carers.


Fostering insights


  • Therapeutic
  • Advice

Date published

24 February 2023

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