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From the Directors Desk

Running an outstanding fostering agency in South London has its rewards and challenges not least in the environment of children’s social care. We know there are tremendous social pressures within the wider community which leads to children coming into care. The local authorities are under huge pressure to ensure children remain safe in their families in a world where they have less money to spend. As a provider of outstanding services our responsibility is to ensure we offer quality, and value for money for our customers.

So, from my view point I like to think about five major areas:

  • The delivery of therapeutic care to children
  • Foster carer development
  • Quality of support
  • How we support our staff team and recruitment.

Of course, there are other equally important things we deal with day- to-day but these areas encapsulate the issues I think about from my perspective.

The delivery of therapeutic care to children and young people

This really centres on having good information, from our LA partners which enables us to understand the needs of children and young people in a wholistic way and they are well matched. We do our own assessment to unpick the presenting needs, to explore how we will deliver the care plan in a foster home. This is ensuring children feel safe and well supported in their new foster home.

Foster carer development

How a foster carer develops their skills is essential to caring for looked after children well. To intentionally parent children you need to be curious and understand their trauma and how this will impact your household. Foster carers need to reflect on parenting by using training and the support networks around them well. This includes their supervising social worker, therapeutic consultant, and mentors. We also know you do not become a therapeutic foster carer overnight, so it is a journey of learning with support.

Quality of Support

Given we are a south London fostering agency, Ascent actively uses the community and local resources to support our families. We partner with other resources in the community such as Reaching Higher a local youth charity to offer young people alternative activities with their peers. Support can mean using our various groups to discuss the delights and frustrations of parenting somebody else children. We have focused on the team’s mental wellbeing over the last year and challenge the team to stay healthy and to reduce stress in our lives through having a good diet and to exercise. Its not unusual for us to go for a walk in the park as a team or have a picnic together as a way of normalising the care experience for all. Support is about as having a range of tools to help foster carers reflect on the challenge of caring for children with complex needs and collectively think and share each other’s worries as a group. It takes a team to support the children in care or as the African proverb says, “it takes ‘a village to raise a child.”

Our core staff are the backbone of the organisation and at Ascent we have an Investors in people’s platinum award, we continue to make great strides in ensuring Ascent is a great place to work and people feel listened to and supported to do their job well. We believe everyone needs reasonable challenge and feedback; and to be clear of the organisational goals. Ours is simple we are committed to providing the best care possible for children and young people. Too achieve this we need motivated people who are aligned with our vision. Thankfully, we have a fantastic team who often go over and above to deliver the best care and support.

Looking for fostering carers across South London presents a major challenge, mainly due to the lack of availability of spare rooms within the family home, birth children are staying at home longer as they are finding it increasingly hard to move either into rented accommodation or buy their own place. A spare room in the family home for a looked after child is essential as they need a place to call their own where they can feel safe. We are actively seeking new carers to join our team. It important that people in South London engage with fostering as it a great way to give something back, its rewarding and we train and renumerate our team well. If you are interested email us on hello@ascentfostering.com or call us on 0203 757 0070.

Author – Mark Pomell

 

World Book Day – How Reading Benefits All Children

If you’re anything like us, you might have spotted a few Harry Potters, very hungry caterpillars, Big Friendly Giants, and Mad Hatters passing by your window on the way to school recently. That can mean only one thing – World Book Day has just passed us by.

Celebrating the power of reading, World Book Day is an annual event at many schools and libraries across the country. Kids grab the chance to dress as their favourite characters and join in some literary fun, but it’s also an ideal time to reflect on the importance of reading and sharing a love of books with kids.

In this post we’ll explore why reading is so beneficial for children and give you a few suggestions as to how to share a love of reading activities with your foster child.

How reading benefits children Numerous studies have discovered the benefits of reading for children, including:

  1. Developing empathy – Reading allows us to imagine ourselves in the place of the characters in the book, how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking, helping to promote empathy. Putting themselves in a character’s shoes also allows children to gain a deeper understanding of their own emotions.
  2. Improving literacy skills – Regular reading helps to expand a child’s vocabulary and gives kids a good academic grounding to succeed across the curriculum.
  3. Providing stability – A recent study commissioned by The Book Trust identified that reading can be a ‘stable activity’ for children across their lives. It allows them to access information independently and can be a comforting, constant presence in difficult circumstances.
  4. Increase creativity and imagination – When we read, we have to use our imagination to picture the characters and settings, and to predict what will happen next.
  5. Enhancing concentration – Reading encourages children to focus on one task for a period of time. This skill, the ability to focus, is one that is vital for success in other subjects, and can also be a good opportunity to encourage quiet time.

HOW TO MAKE READING PART OF YOUR ROUTINE

Reading with kids at home can have a range of benefits, and is a great way to spend quality time with your foster children. Here are a few tips to make reading sessions enjoyable for you both:

  1. It’s never too early to start – Even if your child is too young to understand what is being read, they’ll still enjoy looking at the pictures and following along with funny voices.
  2. Try out a range of books – Every book is a gateway to a different world, and changing up what you read will give children access to all of these varied experiences. There are many books written specifically by authors who have experienced the foster care system, both as children and as carers, too.
  3. Tailor activities around favourite stories – Reading is a fantastic conversation starter and a good way to get to know the kids you’re looking after. You could encourage conversation about their favourite parts of the book or help them to make their own illustrations to decorate their space.

To find out more about fostering, please explore the resources on our website or contact our friendly team on 0203 757 0070.

Parent and Child Fostering opportunities in your area

Parent and Child Fostering opportunities in your area

Parent and child fostering is a unique type of foster care placement that can have a hugely positive impact on the lives of the people you’re supporting.

WHAT IS PARENT AND CHILD FOSTERING?

Parent and child foster carers provide a loving environment for a new parent and their baby. As well as helping new mums and dads develop the skills they need to look after their child, you’ll share your knowledge and experience to help parents be positive role models.

This type of foster placement is usually short term, around 3 months maximum. Its purpose is to help make sure that parents and children can stay together. There might be concerns about the parent’s safety or their ability to look after a child. In some cases, the new parent may have been in care themselves and may need some extra help to

DO I NEED SPECIAL SKILLS?

You don’t need to have any specific skills to be a parent and child foster carer, but a good sense of humour and the ability to remain cool under pressure are a good start. You’ll have had experience in caring for babies, and you’ll be comfortable sharing your experience and teaching new parents.

On a practical level, you’ll need to have a spare bedroom that is large enough to house the parent and their baby, too.

If you decide that this type of fostering is for you, you’ll be given full training before you start. You’ll also have continuous support from social workers and other professionals working with the new parent. You’ll meet with your social worker regularly to discuss progress and any concerns. In addition, there are many networks of foster carers up and down the country who offer support and meet ups with other careers in the same boat.

Foster care agencies such as Ascent will provide additional training and ongoing courses to help you increase your skills and knowledge.

HOW TO FIND PARENT AND CHILD OPPORTUNITIES IN YOUR AREA

The first step in becoming a parent and child foster carer is to speak to your local fostering agency. They’ll be able to give you a lot more information and answer any questions you have.

Ascent Fostering serves many communities in south London, including Croydon, Lewisham, and Lambeth. You can phone us on 0203 757 0070 to talk to one of our team, or drop us an email at hello@ascentfostering.com. We’ll be happy to talk you through the fostering process and to answer any questions you might have.

Reaching out to local parent and child fostering groups is another good way to learn more about the journey to foster caring, find opportunities in your area and get started on this incredibly rewarding journey.

SERIOUS YOUTH VIOLENCE

THE LONDON BOROUGH OF CROYDON

Croydon is home to a diverse multicultural population which is felt as you navigate your way through the borough. Arts, business, commerce, and sport have thrived within the borough over the last few decades which have made notable impacts around the world. Whether you’re over by West Croydon station or by London road, which boasts a mixture of Caribbean and South Asian stores which are comprised of cultural fashion, hair, cuisine, music and religious places of worship or over by the east of the borough, which in recent years has become the entertainment epi centre due to the additions of Box park and designer high rise apartments, however Croydon’s historical heritage shines through with architecture from the Anglo Saxon period, notably the Croydon clock tower, surrey street market, Whitgift Almhouses and the grade 1 parish church.

SERIOUS YOUTH VIOLENCE (SYV) IN CROYDON

In a recent study conducted and published by Croydon council, Croydon is home to the largest population of under 18 young people in London. Croydon is split into 4 wards. The most deprived of those wards is West Croydon which has some of the biggest pockets of deprivation which has been documented over the last ten years. Areas such as Waddon, Sumner Road, Eastney Road, Hand croft Road estate, Leighton Street and the Addington estate are places most affected. The majority of the exploited young people within the borough come from these neighbourhoods and communities which have the highest incidents of serious youth violence, gang activity and exploitation.

It begs the question does the socioeconomic issues within the borough have any correlation to the rise in serious youth violence (SYV)? between July 2019 and July 2023, Croydon was ranked 2nd in SYV crime count among the other London boroughs and 15th in rate per 1,000 people. 80% of the victims are male, with an increasing trend for female victims, approximately 2% annually during the last 3 years. This has been highlighted in more recent times after the murder of a 15-year-old girl in 2023 outside the Whitgift centre in Croydon which sparked a nationwide rallying cry to address SYV within London.

MY STORY OF SYV

Unfortunately, this issue has long existed before most of these studies were undertaken as in the mid-2000s I was a teenager who grew up within the impoverished Leighton street/Hand croft road district, where I could feel the strain of belonging to a single parent household. due to this I yearned to have things of my own and help my mother who at one time had multiple jobs to just make ends meet. It led me down a path of seeking validation, the need to be respected, the need for finances beyond legitimate means and the need to be recognised. violence, exploitation, and gang membership soon followed which in turn created blurred territorial lines and allegiances to gangs based all over South London. This landed me in trouble, and I became embroiled in a spate of violent incidents – one resulting in my stabbing on New Year’s Eve 2009. This then led to conflict across Croydon between different gangs and groups of young people which contributed to the term of ‘post code wars.’

After changing my life for the better I endeavoured to giving back to young people who may have had shared similar experiences, or young people who didn’t share this reality to create awareness. At Ascent Children’s Services I was given this opportunity as I was named as the ‘Head of engagement and Independence’. Within my role I mentor a case load of young people who I advise, steer, teach, and advocate for their social, health and educational needs. I also provide awareness on SYV to carers and staff across the entire organisation as unfortunately it is still prevalent as of 2024 and its imperative that professionals and carers all have the same knowledge to best support our young people and keep them free from all types of harm and exploitation.

As of 2024 I am providing events, competitions, and activities for young people as well as making sure I am engaging in a trauma informed sensitive manner. My hope is that Croydon continuously evolves and creates safe spaces for not just gang affected young people but all young people within the borough, but also becomes a place where young people can learn and live without the threat of poverty and violence.

If you are passionate about safeguarding our young people from the harm of serious youth violence or wish to increase your knowledge here are some organisations that I would recommend you link to.

St Giles Trust
Serious violence strategy GOV.UK
Redthread

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope it’s been informative and has raised awareness of the ongoing issue we have in South London dealing with SYV.

 

— By Dimintri Jordan

Why do people foster?

The most common reason many people choose to foster is to support vulnerable young people at the time they need it most. However, there are lots of other benefits to fostering, from the flexibility it offers to the chance to share your valuable knowledge and develop your own learning and understanding.

WHAT IS FOSTER CARING?

Foster carers give children, young people, and adults in some situations, a loving, nurturing, supportive and stable home when they cannot live with their birth families or independently. This can be for a short period of time or until they become independent.

WHY BECOME A FOSTER CARER?

Becoming a foster carer and working with children and young people is one of the most rewarding things you can do:

  • Be part of a professional support team.

Foster carers work as a part of a wider team of professionals to support a young person. This includes social workers, school workers, and healthcare professionals, who are all working together to help children overcome difficult circumstances and achieve their potential. You’ll give young people a voice, together with help and guidance when they really need it.

  • Share your skills and experience.

Foster carers have a unique role in being able to share their skills and experience, whatever the age of the young people you’re looking after. Parent and child fostering, for example, lets you pass on your know-how to a young parent and helps to make what can be a stressful time a lot more enjoyable.

  • Expand your own knowledge and understanding.

Fostering is also a learning experience for yourself, through intentional parenting you will find out new ways to help a young person cope with the trauma they have experienced and how to effectively help them manage day-to-day anxieties. And don’t forget we can also learn so much from listening and engaging with young people.

  • Flexibility.

Foster carers work from home, so they can easily combine their role with other responsibilities. This could be taking care of their own children or a job. The level of support you’ll have to give your foster child depends on their individual needs, but when you sign up to a fostering agency, you’ll be able to choose the type of fostering that fits in best with your life and commitments, whether it’s a short or long-term placement.

  • Financial support.

All foster carers are paid an allowance to help them buy food and clothing, and to cover the costs of looking after a young person. The amount carers receive depends on where you live and the complexity the children you’re looking after. Some foster carers might be paid an extra fee if they are looking after children with additional needs.

  • 24/7 Support when required.

You’ll be supported throughout the entire journey in becoming a foster carer, right from the first moment you sign up. Before you become a foster carer for the first time, you’ll be given extensive training to give you the skills you need, and more training throughout the process. This can come from the other professionals involved in the young person’s care, as well as from support groups with other carers in your area.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT FOSTERING?

Ascent Fostering is a therapeutic agency that has been supporting people to become foster carers for many years, we have incredible expertise within the organisation and over 30 years of experience in the field. Give us a call, drop us an email, or message us on social media to ask us anything about the process of becoming a foster carer. We’re very friendly and knowledgeable and can help you at every step along the way. If you would like to receive our brochure click here and we’ll get it out to you straight away.

 

Journey to becoming a therapeutic foster carer

THE IMPORTANCE OF FOSTER CARE

According to the BBC, the number of children in care is estimated to reach 100,000 by 2025, a rise of 36% in a decade [1].

At the same time, the cost of living crisis and the after-effects of Covid have all contributed to a reduction in the number of foster carers in the UK. This has meant that many more children now require support from a fostering agency in London and all over the country too.

WHY IS FOSTER CARE IMPORTANT?

Children of all ages and backgrounds may need foster care at some point if they can’t stay with their birth family. For some, foster care will be a short term solution, but for others, it could last several years.

Foster care is a very important part of supporting young people and your local community for a variety of reasons.

The most important is that foster care can fundamentally change a child’s life for the better by providing them with a safe space and consistent care. Foster carers not only look after their everyday needs but help young people to thrive by supporting their unique educational requirements. There is a significant attainment gap between children in care and children not in care. For example, around 15% of children in foster care receive a grade A-C in GCSE maths, compared to around 60% of their peers. Giving them a regular routine and specific support can close this gap and set them up for future success.

Foster care is also very important in helping children to develop their emotional and social needs. Having to leave the family home for whatever reason is a traumatic experience, and some children may have also experienced abuse or neglect. Foster care can support them in building / re-building their self-esteem, resilience, and social skills and in recovering from these traumatic early experiences.

If you’re new to foster care, this may sound a little daunting, but your local fostering agency in London, or your area will give you the tools and help you learn the skills you need to look after children with additional needs.

FOSTER CARE SUPPORTS FAMILIES FACING DIFFICULTIES

There are many reasons why children may need to go into foster care, from parental illness to cases where parents may require mental health or addiction support. The aim of foster care, wherever possible, is to help families to remain together. Foster care allows parents to receive support, too, and whether the foster care is a short or long term placement, all carers play a special role in helping to give not only the children but their families, essential support.

SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY

Foster care also plays an important role in supporting the local community. By giving children a safe space to live, foster carers are helping to address wider social problems, such as homelessness, poverty, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Ascent is a fostering agency in South London with many years of experience. If you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer, or you’d like to learn more about what it involves, please call us on 0204 538 3699 or have a look at the FAQ page on our website.

Who can apply to become a foster parent

WHO CAN APPLY TO BECOME A FOSTER PARENT?

According to Gov.uk, around three quarters of looked after children live in foster care with foster parents. Thinking about becoming a foster parent can feel daunting, but it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME A FOSTER PARENT?

The short answer is that anyone who is over the age of 21, with a SPARE ROOM, plenty of energy, a sense of humour, the desire to learn and develop their skills, and a lot of love can become a foster parent. There’s no upper age limit, or financial eligibility – all you need to do is to be able to provide children with a stable, loving background.

It’s not necessary to be in a relationship to become a foster parent or to have your own children. You’ll only need to be able to make the commitment to support your placed child, with support from a team of other professionals.

Children needing foster care come from a diverse variety of backgrounds and foster parents come from a broad mixture of backgrounds too. It’s important that you can empathise with a child’s situation and give them a loving home for the time they’re with you. This could be a short term, temporary situation, or a longer term arrangement.

DO I NEED TO BE A UK CITIZEN TO BECOME A FOSTER PARENT?

It’s not necessary to be a British citizen to be a foster parent in the UK, but you will need to be a full-time resident, or have indefinite leave to remain.

HOW DO I BECOME A FOSTER PARENT?

The process of becoming a foster parent usually takes about 3 -4 months with Ascent. The process starts with a telephone conversation, followed by a home visit from a member of the Ascent team. A formal assessment will then take place, with input from a social worker. It can seem an overwhelming process, but the Ascent fostering team will be here at every step of the way to talk you through it. Click to see out Journey to becoming a therapeutic foster carer.

DO FOSTER PARENT GET ANY FINANCIAL HELP?

Every foster carer will receive a weekly allowance to help them with the costs of looking after a child or young person, including clothing, food, and pocket money. Ascent also offers additional financial support for holidays and 21 days paid respite PA.

The amount you receive will vary depending on the age and complexity of the child, and the individual agency’s rates. Foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes. There is a specific tax scheme foster carers can use called Qualifying Care Relief. The scheme calculates a tax threshold unique to the fostering household which determines if a foster carer has to pay any tax from their fostering.

The Ascent Fostering website is full of information about the whole journey of becoming a foster parent. We also offer online information sessions about fostering, which are a great way to find out more.

If you would like to find out more about how to become a foster carer, please click here and we’ll give you a call, or alternatively call us on 020 3 757 0070 or join us for one of our open mornings.

Reasons to become a foster carer with Ascent Fostering Agency

Choosing to become a foster carer is a big decision. It comes with various challenges and responsibilities, but is a hugely noble and rewarding decision that can positively impact the lives of children and teenagers in need.. If you are considering fostering in London, it helps to understand how it can benefit everyone involved.

WHAT IS FOSTERING?

In some circumstances, a child can no longer stay safely with their birth parents. This may be because of violence or neglect in the home, but it may also be because the parent is experiencing significant health issues and cannot adequately provide care. Fostering in London provides a safe home for the child on a temporary basis, ensuring that their needs are met but with the aim that the family will be reunited as soon as possible and safe to do so.

REASONS TO FOSTER

  • Provide love,  nurture, stability and guidance to children and young people who have had their lives disrupted

There are a wide range of reasons as to why children may need to enter foster care, but all involve significant disruption to their lives, including the loss of their birth family. This can cause long-term behavioural issues and difficulty forming attachments. You can help them feel secure in a stable environment, so they have a chance to heal.  Ascent works with a number of  therapeutic professionals who are there to help our young people to acknowledge their loss and trauma and give them the tools to be able to better manager their feelings.

  • Encourage children to grow and achieve

Part of your role as a foster carer is to encourage the children you care for to be the best they can be. From assisting them with their homework to encouraging their hobbies and simply showing them your unconditional support, you can play a significant role in helping them achieve their full potential, even if they have not had the best start in life.

  • Prevent families from being permanently separated!

Even in cases with significant abuse, separating a child from their birth parents can cause trauma. The goal of fostering, unlike adoption, is always family reunification, in line with the considerable evidence that, in most cases, this is the healthiest outcome for everyone involved.

  • Keep things local.

Children can be fostered a long way from home, but the general aim is to keep them in the same area. This allows them to maintain contact with their school, friends and biological family. You can become an important member of your community, helping local residents who are going through hard times. Ascent is a small family oriented fostering agency who supports foster carers in the South London and Kent/Surrey boarders.

  • Combining fostering with other jobs/raising your own children

Fostering in London takes a lot of time, but it can fit in with the rest of your life. Depending on the specific needs of the child being fostered, you may be able to keep working as normal (including working from home). Fostering is also perfectly compatible with raising your own biological children providing they are fully onboard with the idea of welcoming a new child into the family.

YOU WILL RECEIVE SUPPORT AND TRAINING

Ascent Fostering knows how challenging fostering  can be  and offers various kinds of support, which includes your dedicated Supervising Social Worker, Out of Hours service, Therapeutic support and mentoring for your young people. We also extend a comprehensive training programme tailor made for you. You will also receive to a monetary allowance to provide for the children in your care and 21 days paid respite.

Almost every family experiences trouble at times. As a foster carer, you can provide unique support and a source of security for a child who has experienced significant hardship whilst still respecting that child’s original birth family. You will not be alone, here at Ascent we organise a number of social events throughout the year to bring our foster families together to help build strong networks for our carers.

Ascent fostering has been awarded “outstanding” by Ofsted and we hold a Platinum level with investors in people, these gradings are testament to the work we do to support young people in our carer and the carers who care for them.

If you would like to find out more about fostering, please contact us on 0203 757 0070 to have an informal chat or if you would like to receive our brochure please click here and we’ll get it straight to you.

The Power of Therapeutic Life Story Work within Fostering

The Power of Therapeutic Life Story Work within Fostering

Everyone has a Story!

The fundamentals of how we view, internalise, experience, and respond to the world are embedded in our earlier life experiences. We all have a history that speaks to the sense of self therefore, having access to your history is important. When children experience multiple moves within the care system, they move further away from the people they have shared life experiences with which results in a fragmentation of their personal history and makes it more difficult to develop a strong sense of self and identity. Furthermore, being denied access to these earlier experiences and understanding their impact on the present and the future makes it difficult to develop into a psychologically healthy adult.

Why do we do therapeutic life story work?

Life story work gives children who are in the care system or who have been adopted, access to their history and supports them in processing and making sense of their past experiences. It aims to provide a written interpretation of the child’s life journey from birth to the present. Whereas ‘traditional’ completion of life story work does not always include the child or the caregiver, therapeutic life story work invites the foster carer and the child to participate in the process along with the life story work practitioner. This allows for both to develop their knowledge of each other, thereby strengthening the connection between the two and allowing them to become attuned to each other.

What are the Benefits of conducting therapeutic life story work with our young people

Therapeutic life story work not only focuses on the who, what, when why and how of past experiences but also considers the impact, these experiences have on the child in the present and how it may manifest in complex behaviours and feelings. The model offers not only a way of knowing your past but also an opportunity to heal and reframe negative narratives and empower the child in creating a strong sense of self. It can be powerful in helping children to reflect on how they approach various difficulties in their lives and lead them on a path of resolution and healing.

I worked with a 14 year old male and his foster carer during the process. J stated: ‘Lifestory work has helped me to recognise my feelings. It helped me to not put it in a box’.

The foster carer stated: ‘He has stopped being afraid to say what exactly is going on for him. He is more expressive’

Nicky Challen-Probert our Team Manager is an accredited Therapeutic Life Story Work Practitioner and has been working with many of our young ones to help them through this process, Here’s what Nicky has to say.

To find out more about Therapeutic Life Story work click through to TLSWi

If you would like to find out more about fostering with Ascent call us on 0203 757 0070 for chat or attend one of our open mornings.

Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP)

Dan Hughes, a Clinical Psychologist, created Dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP) as a treatment for families with adopted or fostered childrenwho had experienced neglect and abuse in their birth families and suffered fromsignificant developmental trauma.

DDP is a therapeutic model which combines Psychotherapy & Parenting, focusingon the importance of the quality within the relationship between child/youngp erson & carer/parent with emphasis on safety and connection. There is so much to unpack in this model but below are some key topics to give a little flavour of what it’s all about!

The DDP model unpicks the difficulties children and young people present with because of developmental trauma. Developmentally traumatized children learn to survive and navigate their everyday life without safety, security or healthy connections. This is often done without the stability of a responsible adult due to growing up an environment which includes physical or sexual abuse, emotional harm or neglect. As a result, these children present with behaviours rooted in fear, shame, developmental delay and pain which relays in unhealthy ways such as self- harming, self-sabotaging, emotional outbursts, withdrawal/isolating, etc.

As dyadic means between 2 people, intersubjectivity is a key term in DDP based on reciprocity dynamics: “I impact you and you impact me”. With this in mind, the DDP model centres a great deal of its strategies and teachings around a concept called

PACE– Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. The DDP approach believes that this combination of affection, enables healing and creates psychological safety.

PLAYFUL – being playful creates an open and approachable atmosphere.

ACCEPTANCE – acknowledges and validates the child/young person’s internal experience and sense of self.

CURIOSITY – in the stance of wondering WHY? Or WHAT is driving the behaviours/feelings of the child, leads to a path of understanding. Dialogue and thought opens up to think more and find solutions than to react to the situation. Using phrases like “I’ve noticed that…” Or “I wonder why you…”

EMPATHY – creates capacity to imagine what the child/young person is feeling and is shared, letting the other know they are being understood and are not alone in their feelings. This can be demonstrated through letting them know how their story/behaviour/ feeling that they’ve shared has impacted you eg. “I can see how hurt you feel and hearing about this painful experience, makes me feel so sad to know you have gone through this. It must have been so difficult for you”.

Another little nugget that the DDP model highlights, is a concept of “Blocked Care”, addressing when it becomes challenging to continue giving care to a child/young person because of the lack of response that their giving when support/care/help is provided for them. The model acknowledges that this feeling of “wanting to give up” is a normal response but highlights that the child’s/young person’s lack of response to care given, comes from a place of the distorted ways in which they’ve learnt to relate, with the unconscious intention of controlling the others’ emotions via evoking/projecting feelings of anger, inadequacy or hopelessness. When Blocked Care is acknowledged as a normal response to the child/young person’s behaviour rather than a state of being or a sign to throw in the towel, it becomes a lot easier to address and recover from!

In short, the DDP model is very experiential and worth exploring when it comes to working through the trust process that takes place when building the relationship between a carer/parent and child/young person.

Here at Ascent Fostering, we train all our staff and carers in the DDP model. The PACE concept has become second nature to our foster carers who have been able to engage with their young people in a positive and constructive way.

Find out more about DDP

If you live in South London and want to learn more about Fostering, we’d love to hear from you. Either click on the link and we’ll call you back or call us on 0203 757 0070.

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