Consistently Outstanding since 2013

Therapeutic foster care

Giving you the tools to tackle any challenges

Fostering People is an ACEs aware organisation which uses the PACE parenting model so every child benefits from therapeutic care.

Fostering People is committed to what’s called ‘therapeutic fostering’. Therapeutic fostering is a specialist approach that is used by a number of organisations because it’s effective and helps deliver life-changing outcomes for children in care. It also gives foster parents the tools they need to deal with a variety of challenges.

The sad truth is that many children who need fostering have had extremely difficult starts in life, including experiencing abuse or neglect. We call these ‘adverse childhood experiences’ (ACEs) and we know from research that ACEs are linked to health and social problems later in life, such as crime, drink, drugs or repeating cycle of abuse. There are even links between ACEs and diabetes and heart health. ACEs linger with a child or young person, and it’s unlikely that they’ll simply disappear over time. Even a loving home and the support of dedicated foster parents isn’t always enough on their own.

We are ACEs aware.

Fostering People is an ‘ACEs aware organisation’ which means we understand the challenges and take them into account in the way we work. Helping children and foster parents tackle the issues and start working on minimising – or removing - their impact is what therapeutic fostering is all about.

For some foster children, this might mean having access to a specialist therapist who can provide professional guidance and counselling to support the work of foster parents. But mostly, it’s about training, and encouraging our foster parents to support children in a ‘therapeutic way’. This can be done in many ways – listening, talking, and being open and honest – but, at heart, it’s about learning to understand the reasons behind behaviour. For a foster child, this hopefully leads to insight and change. For foster parents, it means you learn to parent therapeutically. This changes how you may have parented before, but it significantly helps to manage a child’s behaviour, rather than just react to it. For both foster carers and children, it means developing into more resilient and fulfilled individuals. It’s a powerful philosophy with long-term benefits for everyone.

Our particular approach to therapeutic fostering is based on the work of two experienced childcare professionals, Dan Hughes and Kim Golding. It’s all explained in their ground-breaking book ‘Creating Loving Attachments: Parenting with PACE’. Here, PACE stands for Play, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy – all vital elements in building trust and confidence with children. Combined with love, these can counter the impact of adverse childhood experiences and help children get their lives back on track.

Therapeutic fostering might sound complex, but it’s quite instinctive and we make sure our foster parents are thoroughly trained and supported to work this way. We’re lucky that Kim Golding has provided PACE training to our Social Workers so they’re well equipped to help. Importantly, all our foster parents have regular access to local ‘Reflect Groups’ run by one of the UK’s leading therapists, Sarah Dillon, and this offering is also available in Scotland where we use an equally qualified local therapist. In these sessions, foster parents share experiences, learn from each other and develop their skills in a friendly, caring environment.

With the local support of our network of therapists, experts and other foster parents, we’re able to help children move on from their pasts and embrace a better future. As we say in our vision: ‘Let’s change lives together’.

We were given reassurance as new foster parents that we were doing everything right and we continued to parent with PACE.

Louise and Andrew, Foster parents

Louise and Andrew's fostering story

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Suite D, The Point,
Welbeck Road, West Bridgford,
Nottingham, NG2 7QW