What is Therapeutic Fostering?

If you are someone interested in the world of foster care, you may have heard the phrase “therapeutic foster care/fostering” thrown around but aren’t quite sure what it means. 

As a potential or current foster parent, this is an important concept to understand as it can open up many different opportunities for children and families in need. 

In this blog post, we’ll dive into everything from the basics of therapeutic foster care to its benefits and some tips for making sure your family is equipped with the resources you need to provide the best possible home environment.

Therapeutic foster care can be complex at first glance, so let’s break down all its intricate details together


What is therapeutic foster care?


Giving children who have experienced difficult circumstances extra-special care is the main goal of therapeutic foster care. 

These are children who may have experienced trauma and abuse when they were young. 

So, we train foster carers with special skills to provide the best care possible. We focus on each child’s individual needs, creating a safe space for them to grow and helping them learn to trust again.

On top of the usual benefits of fostering, therapeutic fostering includes extra therapy to help these young people who have been through a lot. Our goal is to help them feel safe and start recovering by building trust with caring adults.

Just imagine being able to work with some of the most vulnerable and traumatised children in our society and making a difference in their lives through your compassionate and consistent care. 

It’s amazing to see these young adolescents start finding their way in life and laying the foundations for a brighter future.


What does therapeutically-informed care mean?


Therapeutically-informed care means that we understand that children who are recovering from trauma need more than just weekly therapy sessions. 

At Family Care, we believe that it’s important for all our foster carers and staff to work therapeutically with young people 24/7. 

This means that they are trained to work within the Secure Base framework, which promotes therapeutic practises. 

Our therapy team works alongside us to provide training and support to our foster carers and staff so that they are confident in using these approaches to provide the best care for the children in our programme.


What is The Secure Base framework?


At Family Care, we use therapeutic approaches based on The Secure Base model across all our services. 

This model was developed by Professor Gillian Schofield and Dr Mary Beek at the Centre for Research on Children and Families through research and practice dissemination projects. 

It provides a framework for therapeutic caregiving that promotes resilience and helps infants, children, and young people feel a sense of security.

When you think about it, a secure base is crucial in any caregiving environment, whether it’s within a birth family, foster care, residential care, or education.

Children need to feel secure in their relationships with the adults who take care of them. 

For children who haven’t experienced sensitive parenting that promotes security and resilience, it can be difficult for them to trust and manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.

That’s why foster carers need to be supported and equipped to provide a consistent and reliable base from which children can explore the world while also being a safe haven for reassurance during difficult times, to support healthy childhood development.



Secure Base



How does The Secure Base framework work?


Based on attachment theory, the Secure Base approach has been modified to incorporate a crucial component called “family membership” for children who are no longer with their biological families. 

According to the model, there are five aspects of caregiving—availability, sensitivity, acceptance, cooperation, and family membership, each of which has a beneficial effect on the child’s development.

These dimensions overlap and combine with each other to create a secure base.

For example, a caregiver who is playing with a child in a focused and child-led manner may be demonstrating sensitivity, acceptance, availability, and promoting cooperation all at once.

In simple terms, the Secure Base model emphasises the importance of caregivers being present, responsive, accepting, and cooperative and provides a sense of family membership for children who may have experienced separation from their birth families. 

This approach helps create a secure foundation for the child’s emotional well-being and healthy development.


How is the Secure Base implemented in our work?


The Secure Base approach is integrated into various aspects of our operations, including our recruitment process, foster assessments, staff supervision, appraisals, and day-to-day work.

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the Secure Base Model when you join us. 

Our in-house therapists will provide step-by-step training to all our foster parents and staff, so you’ll become comfortable with it in no time. 

If you’re applying to become a foster carer, you’ll learn about the model during your Skills to Foster training, and we also hold several training events on Secure Base throughout the year.

In fact, we have established a professional relationship with Professor Gillian Schofield, who led the project that developed the Secure Base Model. 

Gillian attended our annual roadshow in 2016 and led a conference training event the following year, benefiting all our foster carers and staff. 

We have remained in contact with both Gillian Schofield and Mary Beek to exchange ideas and progress, ensuring that we are utilising the Secure Base Model in the most effective way possible.

Enquire with a local fostering agency today

Thinking of Fostering? 


At Family Care, we are committed to providing comprehensive support to our foster carers every step of the way. 

You will have a dedicated supervising social worker who will be familiar with you on a first-name basis, along with a fostering team that includes support workers, administrators, and placement officers. 

Our annual training calendar allows you to plan ahead and attend the courses you need, with travel expenses covered. 

In addition, you will have a membership with Foster Talk and the Fostering Network for independent professional support on top of what we offer.

We take pride in being an established and trustworthy agency dedicated to promoting positive outcomes for the children in our care. 

Our approach to caregiving is firmly underpinned by the Secure Base Model, which informs every relationship we build with our carers, staff, and young people. 

You can trust that we will provide you with the necessary training, support, and resources to help you make a meaningful difference in the lives of the children we serve. 



Healing Pasts | Building Futures
Since 1988

0800 5 677 677

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