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It takes a Village

by PeakCare Qld on 19th February 2015

Home -> Articles -> 2015 -> February -> It takes a Village

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Key Assets on Team Parenting

Key Assets Queensland works with foster carers of various backgrounds and levels of experience to provide a caring, family-based environment for children and young people aged from birth to 18 years of age. The work they do is focused on the South East, South West, North Coast and Brisbane regions of Queensland. Key Assets pride themselves on their work being child focused, supportive and professional. They believe in a team approach to foster care; working with foster carers, non-government organisation partners and Departmental Officers to provide placements that meet the individual needs of children and young people in care.

Key Assets know what so many across the world repeatedly state – It takes a Village to raise a child. In their Team Parenting program they strive to operationalise this sentiment.

Team Parenting is the title Core Assets (Key Assets’ founding body) has given to their holistic approach to fostering that draws together a range of professionals to support and work alongside carers as a team in meeting the needs of children and young people in their care.

This program is a holistic approach to fostering that enables a supportive foster care placement by meeting the needs of the foster carer and the child or young person. A book entitled Team Parenting for children in foster Care – A model for integrated therapeutic care was launched in November 2013. Written by Jeanette Caw and Professor Judy Sebba with the Forward by Professor Robbie Gilligan, this book, highlighted in PeakCare’s In the Read section of our e-news, showcases this model of care.

Ensuring the carer is central to the Team Parenting approach and acts as the ‘agent of change’ with the extended responsibility to deliver the therapeutic foster care directly to the child or young person is a key component of this model. The Team Parenting approach is delivered by a multidisciplinary group:

  • Social Workers undertake frequent visits and regular telephone contact with carers.
  • Children and Young People Support Services (CYPSS) workers provide support for every child placed with a Key Assets foster carer. Such dedicated support is seen as a vital component of the model.
  • Education Officers act as a liaison between children and young people and their schools.
  • Therapists provide therapeutic support to children and young people by working closely with the foster carer as well as the wider support network around each placement. Therapy can be delivered individually or in groups.

The challenge of establishing Key Assets’ team parenting approach in Queensland was the time required to establish an effective team and strong carer base. Furthermore, building the capacity of these teams and carers through training, professional development and additional supports was another essential stepping stone. Key Assets’ State Director, Rob Ryan reflects: “It is important to remember when managing and supporting children and young people with complex needs that disruption can be inevitable and our role is to use team parenting to assist carers in the marathon of fostering and the team like a coaching or support crew can wrap around the carers at the most challenging times.”

Key Assets asserts that the success of the Team Parenting approach around the world has demonstrated that any specialist intervention such as those provided by the professional support services noted above, has the potential to make significant improvements to the well- being and opportunities of children and young people in a foster care placement. The Team Parenting approach is aimed at addressing the therapeutic needs of children and young people in foster care. It is often referred to as ‘therapeutic foster care’. This describes the partnership approach to creating a therapeutic environment for the child or young person within a foster care placement:

For many children in out of home care they have so many people who have ‘part’ information about their lives that the result can be a ‘fractured’ type of care and at worst it can create disagreements between adults involved in their lives, which in turn reduces the possibility of them receiving joined up and holistic parenting. Team parenting aims to minimise this by bringing together those involved with the child to think about, reflect upon and discuss their views on the child’s emotional and developmental needs”. Rob Ryan

The Team Parenting Model builds on international research from many countries in concert with key developmental learnings and the research available from the Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education (as noted in PeakCare’s recent Article) Queensland’s Key Assets now has further evidence to share regarding their implementation and experiences of Team Parenting to demonstrate its capacity and the applicability of this model to all aspects of work in the child protection area with regard to supporting families, children and young people.