Mike Thomas & Terry Philpot, Jessica Kingsley
This book, the last in a series, is intended to be practical and practice-based, writes Carolyn Cousins. It highlights the important role foster carers play in the lives of traumatised children, and champions a more professional and therapeutic approach to fostering, with carer emotional regulation promoted as a key success factor.
The book lacks clarity as to its intended audience. At times it seems to be aimed at new carers, then at experienced carers and social workers. The therapeutic model is not explored in enough detail to apply. Sound opinions are shared, which although based on practice experience, are not new.
There is a short history of fostering – from Moses through to Bowlby – but it’s a quick tour. There is a basic explanation of the effects of trauma on children, consideration of carer profile shifts across the UK, and discussion of carer motivation. If you know the issues, it’s a reminder; if not, there isn’t really sufficient detail to gain a proper understanding.
One chapter, optimistically entitled “How placements can succeed”, gives an overview of literature but essentially advocates increased supervision visits to ensure carers feel supported, and focusing on exploring feelings, not just tasks.
The book ends rather abruptly and I was left wanting more detail about their therapeutic model, but instead was positively reminded of the basic practice wisdom we draw on.
Carolyn Cousins, service manager, fostering