New toolkit to help social workers tailor support for traumatised children in care

A new project aims to better assess traumatised children in care to help social workers tailor their support and ensure a stable home life.

Shared Living Foster Care was established last year to reduce the number of under-11s living in residential care who have experienced five or more placements.

Now Kibble, a specialist service provider for at-risk young people, has teamed up with the University of Strathclyde to develop a ‘toolkit’ helping children’s panel members review a child’s experiences and behaviour, in order to meet their individual needs.

It follows funding of £150,000 from the Scottish Government’s Social Innovation Fund.

Traumatic childhood experiences can include sexual, emotional and physical abuse, and exposure to drug use.

These children are most often cared for in foster or residential care, but for those who have experienced severe trauma, their behaviour can sometimes mean they struggle to maintain foster placements or the mix of staff and other children.

In July 2017 there were 54 children in residential care under the age of 11 who had experienced five or more placements.

Shared Living is described as an extra layer of support for a foster family, where staff will come into the home at certain times that are difficult for the child, such as getting ready for school or bed time.

Kay Gibson, operations manager at Kibble, said: “The children that we see move from home to home have not only experienced their own level of trauma, but have had another layer added from the system with various broken-down placements.

“It’s therefore imperative that we make a change to the current system and create a new approach to give a child a stable family home, allowing them to remain in one place with a significant amount of support from external staff that can be altered and moved around their needs.”

Ms Gibson said the recruitment of more foster carers was vital “so we can provide comfort, safety and support for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children”.

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