Foster care
Carer guide
Our approach - creating a positive care environment
The CARE: Creating conditions for change model

The CARE: Creating conditions for change model

So that we can support the best possible outcomes for all children in out of home care, we have adopted an evidence based, trauma informed model known as CARE.


  • Influences the way we think about children. It focuses on our relationships to help children build new competencies, and guides our interactions with children and their families.
  • Helps us make decisions and take actions based on the best interests of children.
  • Emphasises that everybody does well if they can and by working together we can create conditions for positive changes in the lives of children.
  • Gives us a shared language and understanding so we can be consistent in our practice and work towards a common goal.

The six CARE principles provide the foundation for all our interactions with children

  • Relationship based
  • Ecologically oriented
  • Developmentally focussed
  • Family involved
  • Trauma informed
  • Competence centred

Understanding the impact of trauma on a child’s development can help us teach children skills in a developmentally appropriate way. All the children in our care and their families have strengths and capacities. We will work with you to help your relationship with children and their family grow and thrive.

The CARE model recognises that children do well if they can. If they can’t it’s up to us to provide an environment where they can succeed. This includes considering factors such as

Physical Environment

Basic needs such as food, water and shelter, medical and dental needs and the provision of clothing and age appropriate possessions.

The home environment needs to be safe, clean and hygienic, providing a bed, a space of their own for privacy, adequate space for them to run and play, provision of furniture, toys or equipment they need.

Caring relationships

Caring relationships are created by caring adults. They involve trust, availability, acceptance, positive regard and respect. Being there for children is an important part of being a compassionate carer. Compassionate carers don’t take children’s behaviour personally, but look beneath the behaviour and understand the needs.

Forming attachments and developing caring relationships helps meet children’s needs and teaches children how to meet other people’s needs. Your relationship with and commitment to the child is extremely important. Children in care need to feel included and accepted.

Children need the opportunity to feel good about themselves, and about their family and culture, and to relate positively to others.

High expectation messages

Believing in children, even when they do not believe in themselves, sends a message to them that they can achieve and be successful. Building on their strengths, interests and hopes motivates children to learn and develop.

Opportunities to participate and contribute

When children are engaged in interesting and challenging activities, they have opportunities to learn, develop relationships, enjoy being part of a group, be creative and problem solve. Children develop a sense of power, respect and meaning through participating in activities and contributing to others and the community.

A positive care environment means children have the opportunity to have friends and be involved in their wider community where their interests and talents are encouraged. A positive care environment promotes learning, builds new skills and is stimulating and interesting. Children need opportunities, experiences and an education to help them learn.

Want to become a carer?
To become a foster carer your ability to care and nurture a child is what really matters.
To learn more, visit the LWB foster care website