New Hope of Better Outcomes for Children in Care

Mar 25, 2013, 14:16 ET from Capstone Foster Care

CHESTER, England, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Capstone Foster Care is one of six sites in Britain chosen by The Fostering Network to demonstrate a new way of working with children and young people who come into the care system. The model for this innovative programme has been taken from Europe where interventions for children unable to live with their parents are known to be more effective in every area (better educational, social and emotional outcomes - with far fewer children accessing mental health services later in their lives).

The 'Head, Heart, Hands' programme was launched on March 20th in Parliament. It is a four-year project, backed by Comic Relief and other major funders who are prepared to invest substantially in transforming how we care for the most vulnerable children in our society. It has secured cross-party encouragement and it is hoped that this model of social pedagogy that is so grounded in Europe's practice, will take root and grow here.

While commonplace in continental Europe, social pedagogy is not yet a familiar concept in Britain. In the context of child-care, social pedagogy puts the relationship between carer and child at the centre of the fostering enterprise and offers a coherent and ethical framework for such work. This is a much-needed blast of fresh air to foster carers and social workers struggling with the enormous burden of rules and administration in an increasingly risk-averse care environment. It gives the child in a foster placement the right to the same quality of relationship with a foster parent as the birth child, however differently it might have to be managed. In such a system, the foster carer has significant authority as the person who is enabling the child to form the attachment relationship and she/he is a well-integrated member of the support team around the child, where communication and dialogue are keys to good outcomes.

Capstone Foster Care is committed to the 'Head, Heart, Hands' programme. The blend of theory (head) with empathy and intuition (heart) which is demonstrated in the reality of day-to-day practical activities with the child (hands) accords well with the agency's emphasis on therapeutic training and support which promotes and sustains the healing relationship with the child. It also resonates with the focus on the child/carer relationship in the Russian-doll model of therapeutic care that we have developed for the work that Capstone's social workers and carers do with the complex children and young people who come into their care. It is viewed as a model that holds out real hope of long-term well-being for emotionally injured children and therefore a lot of resource is being invested into it to ensure that it becomes the model of choice for the care of vulnerable children in Britain.

SOURCE Capstone Foster Care