The training and support offered by Caring Families Aotearoa is specific to caregivers parenting tamariki and rangatahi who have relationship difficulties, especially children who have experienced attachment problems, trauma, loss and or separation.
Our therapeutic parenting training pays special attention to the parenting attitude of PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy). It gives caregivers the ability to understand without judging the internal experience of the tamaiti. They additionally explore how to maintain connection while also providing structure, supervision and discipline in order to support behaviour.
Caring Families Aotearoa’s framework of practice is a healing centered, trauma informed, relational/attachment model. This framework is informed by Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP), developed by Dan Hughes (2009, 2011).
The LIFT programme has two levels that support, inform, and training caregivers to better understand the children and young people in their care. It has been tested extensively throughout Aotearoa with positive and encouraging results. The DDP informed programme, using an attitude of PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, Empathy) builds capability, confidence, and connection.
Level One uses the ‘Foundations for Attachments’ programme developed by Kim Golding and is delivered over four weeks.
Level Two uses the ‘Nurturing Attachments’ programme also developed by Kim Golding. It is more in-depth and continues integrating an attitude of PACE for caregivers. Level two is 18 sessions over nine weeks.
Each level is supported and facilitated with peer group meetings once a month following the completion of the training. On-going focus/support groups to integrate and support caregivers with the learning.
Specialist Training Opportunities
Caring Families Aotearoa has a suite of therapeutic training opportunities to meet caregivers more specific needs, and
to help them understand what is happening for the tamariki in their care.
What’s Behind the Behaviour? Healing Centred Engagement
(half day training)
This small group workshop explores the importance of emotional connection with children. It helps group members to understand and explore the idea of being mind-minded in parenting (being aware of their feelings, thoughts and desires as well as those of the child). Group members are also helped to recognise the difference between defensive and open and engaged responding. How you respond to children, especially those who have come from adverse backgrounds often determines how the child or young person reacts. This is displayed in the behaviours they show.
The idea is to parent in a way that meets the behavioural, developmental and therapeutic needs of the child. This DDP informed workshop has an emphasis on ‘connection with correction’ to provide a secure and safe base for the child.
Making Changes – Placement Stability in Hard Times
(half day training)
This small group workshop focuses mainly on the caregiver. Group members are helped to reflect upon themselves in a way that relates this to their own parenting of the children. This session specifically focuses on an exploration of past attachment and other relationship history, so an understanding is created of how and why they parent as they do.
The session then moves on to the importance of self-care so that they are able to maintain their resilience as caregivers. The group will leave this session with the beginning of a self-care plan.
Helping Children Feel Safe – Providing Stucture and Supervision
(half day training)
The focus of this session is on the provision of optimal levels of structure and supervision for children. This can be challenging for children with attachment difficulties as their emotional age can be very different from their chronological age and can change from day to day as stress levels fluctuate. Group members are encouraged to think about the importance of structure and supervision, tailored to the emotional functioning of the children, to help children to feel safe and secure. The appropriate level of supervision can be difficult to arrive at and to provide, so group members explore ways to provide the correct amount of supervision at different times for the children they care for.
This small group workshop is based on Kim Goldings, Nurturing Attachments programme.
Difficult Behaviour – Managing Confrontation and Intimidating Interactions
(half day training)
In this session confrontational interactions are considered. Group members are encouraged to explore the reasons why children can habitually respond to them with confrontational styles of relating. The importance of stepping aside from such confrontations is considered, and group members explore different ways of managing to avoid confrontation. Confrontation is very much a coercive interaction and an aim of this session is to help group members understand coercive interactions and their use in regulating parental attention more fully.
Perhaps for caregivers some of the most difficult behaviours to deal with are when the children lie and steal. These are typical and complex behaviours that children with emotional difficulties display. Group members will be helped to understand the reasons why children adopt these behaviours and why they often appear to lack a sense of guilt and remorse. They will explore different ways to help children who lie and steal without getting angry and confrontational. This small group workshop is based on Kim Goldings, Nurturing Attachments programme.
Family Dynamics – ‘Torn Loyalties’
This workshop explores the thoughts and feelings of children when placed into a care family and the conflicts that they experience. It explores the connection that children have with their biological family and how to navigate this and the challenges this may cause to the caregiver family atmosphere.
We look at the beliefs that the child might bring into the new home and the behaviours that they may use to keep themselves safe. We will discuss the challenges with biological family contact or no biological family contact and what this means for the child.