Child, Youth and Family
We recognise that healthy families are the key to strong and vibrant communities. Our Child, Youth and Family Support Services reach out to families at risk of having a child placed in care or support families who already have a child in care.
Where a decision is made to pursue reunification of a family we work closely with the family to identify your strengths and develop a stable and supportive home environment. Through our services we also help families relieve stress, conflict and anxiety and we work with you with respect to parenting practices and household routines. When a child or young person cannot live at home we provide out-of-home care services including foster care, residential care or supported accommodation.
For young people not suited to foster care we offer residential care with 24-hour on-site trained carers and extra staff or specialist support as required. We also arrange family contact, educational planning, clinical support services, cultural planning, transition support and respite as part of our wrap around support model.
The Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) model has been adopted as the therapeutic model for Life Without Barriers’ out-of-home care services. It forms part of the core training for staff working in out-of-home care programs, assisting them to provide effective support for children and young people who have experienced trauma.
CARE is based on principles of developmentally focused, ecologically oriented, competence centred, family involved, relationship based and trauma informed. These principles address children’s needs, and help them to functionally interact in their environments. While the situation for each child might be different, these solid principles guide decision making that are in the best interest of every child.
The approach requires practitioners to be self-aware, reflective and truly responsive – not just reactive. Carers and staff are enabled to focus on healing the pain and trauma at the heart of a child’s experience rather than relying on controlling behaviours. Essentially the model creates the conditions for change whereby the development of young people is enhanced and they can take charge of their behaviours.
Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
CARE is supported by the therapeutic crisis prevention and intervention (TCI) system. CARE and TCI provide the framework for residential staff to implement planned, positive and supportive strategies to assist children and young people to work towards more positive patterns of behaviour, as well as to ensure the safety of all residents and other staff.
The effective application of the CARE model and the TCI system will assist in providing a safe and nurturing environment for our children and young people in which they can experience co-regulation with the support of an adult, and over time learn and develop self-regulation.
Background of CARE
CARE originated in 2005 in the USA and its implementation is supported through the Bronfenbrenner Centre for Translational Research at Cornell University. The CARE model involves engaging staff at all levels of Life Without Barriers, providing them with intensive training around the six core principles.
1. Developmentally focused – Staff learn how to enhance children’s developmental competencies by –
- Teaching skills that are missing;
- Creating opportunities for children to practice these skills with adult assistance,
- Adapting the environment so that children can succeed.
2. Family involved – Because a child’s identity is inextricably tied to their family, involving a parent or other significant adult is a vital component in planning for the child’s return to their community.
3. Relationship based – Positive relationships between children and staff (or carers) enable children to feel safe, to learn to trust and be able to gain assistance to overcome barriers and problems they face.
4. Competence centred – This refers to the combination of skills, knowledge and attitudes that children need in order effectively to negotiate the challenges of daily life. Staff are encouraged to help children become more competent at managing both their environment and learning new skills.
5. Trauma informed – CARE teaches staff to take into account the impact of a child’s trauma on all interactions, activities and expectations. CARE stresses the importance of establishing and maintaining a safe, non-violent culture in which children can learn adaptive ways of coping with stress
6. Ecologically oriented – A caring and supportive environment provides the wherewithal for children to learn how to respect and look after others and themselves. The more an environment can be enhanced to motivate children to participate in activities and relationships, the greater is the opportunity for children to grow and develop.