Working in partnership with foster carers and residential care workers in Albury/Wodonga
Our small trauma team of four staff in Albury/Wodonga works alongside foster carers and residential care workers who are looking after children and young people who cannot live at home for fear that they will be abused again. We support these carers to understand children and young people who have suffered trauma behave in the way they do. For example, they sometimes need to sleep during the day because at night they are awake, too scared to sleep because of the nightmares they will have. During the day, when there are more people around and the household is awake, they can feel safer. Others, for example struggle to follow simple routines at home because the trauma has affected their ability to remember even a small sequence of steps. When carers understand this, they are able to modify their expectations and approach and become more attuned to the needs of these children. Over time, as children and young people feel safe again, they are able to be less stressed and they settle into their environment more easily. This is when children stop feeling like they are being looked after in a home and start to feel they are being cared for by a family.
Bringing Up Training program to early childhood services in Penrith, NSW
The Foundation has just finished running one of its accredited training courses on the neuroscience of trauma to a group of 21 Early Childhood Educators working in Penrith. The course is the only one of its kind in Australia and teaches professionals how to identify children who have experienced abuse and violence, how these children show their trauma in their behaviour, how to understand their needs and then make trauma-informed plans to support children. The training gives these professionals a different way to understand that children who are affected by trauma are forced to use self-protective strategies. Sometimes this results in behaviour that is challenging and difficult. Once they have this knowledge, they learn to put in place very practical plans to help these children heal. When you think that each of these educators looks after up to 10 children over the course of a week, the impact of training multiplies very quickly. One trainee gave us this feedback about their experience:
‘…From a professional perspective I can safely say that the ACF training changed the way we work and is heavily influencing our model review. I did not realise how much it would change workers’ perspectives on their families and I am really excited when I hear workers expressing and sharing trauma-informed approaches and strategies to others in their daily work….”