A Presentation from CoramBAAF Making Good Fostering Assessments

A Presentation from CoramBAAF Making Good Fostering Assessments

A Presentation from CoramBAAF Making Good Fostering Assessments Workshop Day 2 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2016 Coram Academy Ltd, 41 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ. www.corambaaf.org.uk Registered as a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales no. 9697712, part of the Coram Group, Charity no. 3122718. Relationships Try sitting in a different seat. You might change your view and develop a new one (and maybe a new relationship!)

2 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Foster carers children Three main problematic areas Relationships with foster children Relationships with their parents Relationships with social workers / fostering agency 3 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Relationships with foster children

Aggression most had experienced violent outbursts, threats, destruction of valued possessions and physical acts of violence Age and sex differences there were fewer conflicts with children who were younger and who were of a different sex to carers own children. Loss they felt this deeply but didnt have time to mourn properly. 4 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Loss of role 5

Children repeatedly have to adjust their role in the family as foster children come and go; Childrens relationships with other family members will change as well as forging a new relationship with the foster child. In 2 studies fostering link workers had to reassure birth children that they wouldnt be removed from their families as foster children were. CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Loss of parental attention Carers children sometimes felt that too much of their parents time was spent on

foster children They understood this but still felt jealous and resentful Children felt guilty for being jealous. 6 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Childrens responses: Cutting themselves off, looking for support from outside the home Silence Early maturation 1. To be role models 2. To help with care

3. To take care of themselves 7 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Involving adopted/ birth children in assessments. To establish a relationship with the child and give the child a voice; To ascertain the childs understanding, wishes and feelings about adoption; To assess their relationship with their parents and siblings; To assess their needs, strengths and vulnerabilities; To help prepare the child for the impact of adoption; To help the child understand the needs and behaviour of children who may be placed.

To help the child feel safe; To gather evidence of the applicants parenting capacity and style. 8 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Some issues and tools to consider Sibling assessment without one of the siblings present. Assessment of a child an opportunity for direct work. Use direct work tools scenarios (what happens in your family if a child comes in and changes the tv channel without asking); role play; life story work; outline ten things that the foster child would need to know about your family, school report on your parents.

Some children may find confrontational behaviour towards their parents difficult to tolerate. 9 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Towards a direct work tool Consider the following: How does the child express emotions; How does s/he seek comfort; How do they interact with other children; How do they respond to the difficult behaviour of other children or young people; How do they handle conflict; How have they managed significant transitions in the

past; 10 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 A Systemic Approach to Transitions Transition: When events make it necessary for family relationship patterns to be renegotiated and redefined Trigger Entry of new

family member Timing Expected or unexpected Magnitude of change Significance Tools 11

CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Genogram, Eco gram Systemic Assessments How do you currently include children of the household within an assessment? Share suggestions for increasing the participation of birth children? If you have concerns, what are they and what could be done differently to obtain a benefit? 12

CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Recommendations from research Maintain identity as a family Communicate with children Fostering link workers should spend time with children of the fostering household and provide training for them Agencies need to recognise the important role played by carers' children Agencies should facilitate support groups for carers children. 13 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Relationships: Introductions Exercise Please introduce yourself as one of the following would introduce you if asked to say three things they would want to say about you. Think carefully; Your mother Your partner Your best friend 14 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Relationships What do Relationships provide? What is a healthy relationship?

Do particular relationships pose challenges for you? 15 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Building Relationships Friendships Share/Exchange Personal Issues and confidences Common ground Organic Two-way

Not Time Limited Socialise 16 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Relationship Skills Respect Listening Helping and guidance Available Professional

Helping Relationships Focused on the child or young person Professional Knowledge Planning Boundaries Time Limited BREAK 17 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Key Relationship Difficulties Transition to parenthood The challenges of raising children Finance Health and well-being The influences of in-laws, family and friends Infidelity. The unequal balance of control Poor communication 18 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Relationship Difficulties and Help seeking Behaviour. DFE 2010

What makes Assessing Adult Relationships Difficult? They take place over a much wider space and time They are much more private than infant-mother interactions. More of what goes on in adult relationships is in their minds. They dont have to be interacting at all to be thinking about their partner and about things that they have done in the past or might want to do in the future. Their relationship is invisible to an observer. 19 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Exercise Characteristics of Prospective Foster Carers Open discussion: What characteristics do we look for in Prospective Foster Carers? Why are these characteristics important? 20 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 The Secure Base Model 21 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Patterns of Attachment Avoidant Insecure Organised Ambivalent Secure Insecure Disorganised 22 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Disorganised

Attachment Related Goals, Needs, Plans & Strategies 23 Secure Avoidant Ambivalen t Desire intimate relationships Need to maintain distance

Desire extreme intimacy Seek balance of closeness and autonomy in relationships Limit intimacy to satisfy needs for autonomy Seek lower levels of autonomy Place greater weight on goals such as achievement Heightened displays of distress and anger

Acknowledge distress Manage distress by cutting off anger Solicitous and compliant to gain acceptance Modulate negative affect in constructive way Minimize distress related emotional displays; withhold intimate disclosure CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Assessing adult attachment Adult Attachment Interview Attachment Style Interview 24 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Quality of narrative Rigorous evaluation and scoring

Categories of attachment: - dismissing/minimising - autonomous/balanced - preoccupied/maximising Unresolved past loss or trauma/absorption in grief Quality of marriage/partnership Quality of close support of others/family of origin Ability to make and maintain supportive relationships Avoidant and anxious-ambivalent attitudes to attachment Overall attachment style and impairment in relating

Adult attachment interview (AAI): types of questions asked Five adjectives which describe your early relationship with your mother or father Can you remember times when you were emotionally upset, physically hurt, separated or rejected, or suffered abuse or loss? Why do you think your parents behaved in the way that they did? Has your childhood influenced the kind of person that you are today? 25 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Your own attachment style Exercise: Individually: write down five words to describe the relationship you had with your main carer when you were a young child. In pairs: share examples of specific incidents to evidence one or two of the words that you have written down. 26 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Attachment Style Interview (ASI) Can only be carried out by fully trained practitioners Four-day training, including pilot interview

Semi-structured interview, taped and rated Looks at the previous year (not right back into past) Addresses quality of relationships and degree in which interviewee is able to confide in close other Assesses carers ability to access support when under stress Style of relating to other adults, in terms of self-reliance, desire for company, ease in accessing help. May potentially help match carers attachment style to childs attachment style 27 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 ASI interviews

Exercise: Read the two sides of the ASI interview in your workbooks How do you rate Mrs Browns ability to confide? How do you rate her partners active emotional support? Were there any surprises for you as you rated this? 28 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Bias Bias comes from the way our minds can distort, avoid or exaggerate information.

Reframing Selective interpretation Reinterpreting Exaggerating information 29 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Denying Discounting Minimising Avoiding Forgetting

Losing Five types of discrepancy Informational: contradictory information from different sources Interpretative: different conclusions drawn from different professionals Interactive: declared intentions are contradicted by actions Incongruence: manner or talk is inconsistent, contradictory or incoherent Instinctual: workers gut feeling tells them something is wrong 30 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Discrepancy matrix Developed by Wonnacott & Morrison (2009) for practitioners to explore discrepancies within evidence from different sources Visual tool used to plot four different types of information: ambiguous, missing, assumption-led and firm ground Encourages practitioners to reflect critically on how they make decision and what informs their decision-making Information which is missing, assumption-led or ambiguous can be checked or verified and either become firm ground or be discarded 31 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Discrepancy matrix Exercise: In workbook - check statements given and plot the information on a discrepancy matrix. Strong evidence Firm ground Ambiguous information Strongly held view

Unclear No view Assumptio n led information Missing information Weak/No evidence 32 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 LUNCH

33 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Assessment Tools Genogram Eco-gram Timelines Circular Questions 34 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Key concept of systems thinking

One change within system will have knock on effects on all other members of the system, including the child ih the family Alliances within family identify common purpose Coalition; 2 or more uniting against another member triangular relationships when 2 marginalise the third 35 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Genogram exercise Work in pairs. One of you to complete a Genogram for yourself.

The other to try out some of the questions from the handout. 36 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Ecomaps 37 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Timelines 38

Age/Year Event Context/ Effect 1962 Birth. Name, meaning. Birth weight Family situation, members. Cultural context

1967 Started school Unhappy, crying. Went with older sibs. Dad left 11 years Secondary school. Mixed comp. Isolated. Moved home. Dad back CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

Exercise: Timelines In Pairs one persons to be questioned about their early history in order to begin completing a time line Beginning with birth try to be curious about experience and context up to 5 years of age Time allowing, move onto the period 5-10 years 39 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Last Chance!

40 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 A robust analytical assessment report Is clear about the purpose and potential outcomes of the assessment Is based on a clear theoretical framework Is clear about context and value base Is collaborative with, and promotes accessibility for, applicants Is based on the multiple sources of good information from different sources 41

CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 A robust analytical assessment report Contd. Values the expertise and understanding applicants bring to their situation Is clear about missing information Identifies themes and patterns, strengths and limitations Demonstrates the elements of critical reflection and critical thinking Identifies an effective and robust support and professional development plan SIGNIFICANT IMPORTANCE OF SUPERVISION THROUGHOUT

42 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Personal SWOT Exercise: Review 43 Strengths Weaknesses Opportunitie s Threats

CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017 Case Application Consider Individuals you are working with and application of learning from today. What might you do differently? 44 CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy 2017

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