To close a gap in the growing demand for specialist care for psychologically traumatised children in local authority care, the charity Childhood First this month launched its’ new integrated therapeutic fostering service.
Integrated Therapeutic Fostering (iTF) specialises in treatment to promote the recovery of children and young people who present severe emotional and behavioural problems as a result of attachment difficulties usually rooted in early life trauma.
iTF is a standalone not-for-profit fostering agency that will accept referrals from local authorities as well as provide fostering placements for children from Childhood First’s four therapeutic communities.
Sir Martin Narey, who has recently led the Government’s two national reviews of residential and foster care, said:
“I am delighted to learn of Childhood First’s new integrated therapeutic fostering service which aims to recruit and retain the best possible foster carers, equipped and supported to care for the most challenging and previously harmed children—a key recommendation in my independent review of children’s residential care (July 2016).
“Childhood First’s foster carers will be supported by experienced, qualified, practitioners through professional accreditation to help some of the most deeply traumatised children and young people to transition from community-based residential care into foster homes.”
Childhood First’s distinctive service is based on its unique model of Integrated Systemic Therapy (iST) which has evolved over 50 years of working therapeutically with children and young people; a holistic, group-based approach founded on the traditions of milieu therapy, psychoanalysis and systemic psychotherapy.
For children and young people who are ready to leave the therapeutic communities and live within a family environment, iTF provides a seamless transition. The new service is led by registered manager, Liz Fleet, who explained the benefits for children and local authorities:
“iTF enables children who need therapeutic support, but are able to cope within a family setting, to experience a consistent family life, at the same time as healing the trauma of their past, supporting their recovery and developing their openness to learning to trust and relate well to others.
“Our aim is to help them to achieve improved socialisation and life outcomes. At the heart of our approach is our conviction that ‘the damage caused by relationships can most effectively be healed by relationships.’
“We developed our unique model of Integrated Therapeutic Fostering so that it places great emphasis upon the power of healing through consistent and healthy relationships with the adults involved in their care and through experiencing a warm and nurturing family environment. We reflect those qualities in our relationships with our carers.”
iTF is now looking for people across Norfolk and Kent to join their community of specialist foster carers. To foster, a spare bedroom is needed to provide children with a space of their own as they come to terms with their past.
In return, iTF offers a highly competitive allowance, professionally accredited training, and the deep rewards that come with offering youngsters a fresh and bright future.