Margaret Davies, Trainer and Consultant at Children’s Homes Quality, explains importance of supporting resilience in children’s homes staff.
Social Work Today, 03/06/21
Children in care need staff who can connect with them open-heartedly, yet the experience of working in the residential sector is often personally intense and challenging. Staff are commonly at risk of experiencing ‘secondary trauma’ or ‘moral distress’ which will lead to protective responses and blocked care if we do not have well-developed programs of staff support.
As we know, children who can’t live with their families, who may have been abused and neglected, need warm, open-hearted carers, who can form meaningful, loving relationships with them, and stick with them, in order to recover from their trauma and thrive. ‘Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love.’(Perry, 2006)
In my work on Trauma Informed Care, I propose that children’s homes staff need 3 solid foundations to be effective:
- Understanding of the impact of early experiences on a child’s interpersonal neurobiological development.
- Strategies that work for relating and responding to children.
- A well-developed programme of staff support and self-care
Read on to consider why “we need to invest in the staff we have, grow their capacity and resource them to stick with the children and the home”.