We train Foster Parents to build on their own qualities and experiences or to adapt their parenting skills to think therapeutically in their approach to foster parenting.
The difference between ordinary fostering and the extraordinary work done by By the Bridge's therapeutic Foster Parents is in how they think about the child.
Therapeutic fostering has enabled our Foster Parents to do amazing work that has resulted in many great outcomes for foster children in our care.
What is Therapeutic Fostering?
A Therapeutic Foster Parent’s job is to learn about the child and understand what has gone wrong, and how they can best support the child’s emotional, psychological and social development. With this it is hoped that there will be improvements to the well-being of the child, and they will for example be more confident, have a better self-esteem, be able to enjoy friendships and engage age appropriately.
The knowledge our therapeutic Foster Parents gain is transferable to all sorts of relationships and situations, and many find that the strategies they have learned can help them manage other areas of their lives more effectively. We know this because we've taught hundreds of people to work this way.
What's needed in a Therapeutic Foster Parent?
In addition to the qualities required of a Foster Parent, our Therapeutic Foster Parents learn to:
- Understand how traumatic experiences impact on a child’s development
- Look beyond the behaviour, to understand what is causing it – this is the key to healing a hurt child
- Recognise that healing has a process that requires time and perseverance
- Accept the child for who they are and not judge them by what has happened to them
- Continue to develop new skills and knowledge with our specialist training
To a young person, nothing is more powerful than knowing you are with them in their distress and helping them to find ways to manage difficult feelings.
Therapeutic fostering plans provide our Foster Parents with a professional tool to support them in becoming an expert in understanding the internal worlds of their foster children.
Working Therapeutically with Young People
Every child is different. Every child has unique physical and emotional needs, so every child has a therapeutic plan. The plan shows that therapeutic fostering is in the detail of day to day care. Even a simple thing such as the way they are woken up in the morning is thought through.
Having a therapeutic plan helps our Foster Parents identify and anticipate difficulties and triggers to behaviour. For example, if a child has been neglected or has lived with domestic violence, a foster parent can take guidance from the plan on how to help them.
Therapeutic fostering helps to identify the care needs of each child and offers Foster Parents strategies and ideas for helping the child develop in the areas identified as needing attention. The plan is reviewed regulary and adjusted if necessary.
As you complete your training as a Therapeutic Foster Parent, along with other criteria, you have the opportunity to apply for promotion to higher pay grades.