Recently, the Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA) called for tenders to review current pre-approval foster carer training in Ireland, develop a new package of training, and train trainers. At the end of the competitive international tendering process I was successful in receiving the tender for the project. In this collaboration with IFCA I will be partnered by John Gibson of Secure Attachment Matters, Ireland. We are grateful to Lynne Peyton, who provided valuable assistance and support during the tendering process.
The nominated working title for the tender submitted was Entering CARE. This is meant to reference the beginning of a journey as an alternate care provider but also picks up the the four, evidence-based components of therapeutic care that anchored the Second Edition of A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder (Pearce, 2016), these being:
- Emotional Connectedness.
This does not mean that the new package will simply be an extension of what appears in my most recent book. Rather, it is envisaged that that new package will draw on the views of stakeholders in Ireland and the most up-to-date ideas and evidence that appears in the relevant international literature; including my own contributions to that thinking and literature.
In tendering to develop this package there was a strong emphasis on bringing together the at-times disparate elements of child protection and social care endeavours under the following maxims:
- Common Knowledge – that is, a knowledge framework that is shared between foster and kinship carers and professionals who work with children recovering from abuse and neglect;
- Common Language – that is, a language framework that facilitates effective communication between foster and kinship carers and professionals who work with children recovering from abuse and neglect;
- Common Purpose – that is, a set of goals that facilitate strong outcomes for children that are easily shared by foster and kinship carers and professionals who work with children recovering from abuse and neglect.
Those who are familiar with my work, including those who have participated in the Donegal implementation of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, will know that I strongly emphasise the care of those who care for children recovering from abuse and neglect. I believe that, alongside the care and protection of children, the care of foster and kinship carers must also be a priority. Any child protection endeavour that does not also care for foster and kinship carers will struggle to achieve its core business – the therapeutic care and protection of children that facilitates them achieving their developmental potential.
Finally, I believe that kindness should be at the heart of all of our endeavours in this space. It is my great hope that that the pre-approval foster care training package developed as part of this project will extend on the efforts of those who developed the existing package and promote kindness to others.
About me: I am a practising clinical psychologist who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. I am known beyond Adelaide as a consultant, trainer and author of periodical articles, the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, and two books; including A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder, which now runs to two editions (2009, 2016). I am known in Ireland as the author of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care. Triple-A is a back-to-basics, step-by-step approach to therapeutic care designed to facilitate children’s recovery from early adverse childhood experiences and promote self-efficacy and wellbeing for foster and kinship carers. Triple-A incorporates modules for the training of foster and kinship carers and for professionals who work with and support these carers. Triple-A carer training modules address the therapeutic care of children in out-of-home care, as well as carer wellbeing. Triple-A is currently part-way through an initial three-year implementation programme with TUSLA staff and foster carers in Donegal.
 Pearce, C & Gibson, J (2016), A Preliminary Evaluation of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, Foster, 2, 95-104