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Vicarious Trauma

Mar 2022

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What are the 10 essential elements of the Intensive Therapeutic Care System in NSW?
What are the 10 essential elements of the Intensive Therapeutic Care System in NSW?
Concepts of ‘complexity’ and ‘evidence’ are often heard in discussions that seek to find ways to better meet the needs of traumatised young people requiring more intensive forms of care....
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An emerging paradigm - Welcome to our new therapeutic care blog
An emerging paradigm - Welcome to our new therapeutic care blog
Over the past two decades, the term therapeutic care has emerged as a new paradigm used to integrate constructs that had traditionally been considered separate – therapeutic processes and the...
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Coaching and mentoring - The art of giving feedback - Practice guide
Coaching and mentoring - The art of giving feedback - Practice guide
This guide has been developed to support Therapeutic Specialists and Supervisors in Intensive Therapeutic Care in NSW in their development and support of staff. It is a companion to the...
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A model for coaching staff in Intensive Therapeutic Care: A guide for therapeutic specialists and supervisors - Practice guide
A model for coaching staff in Intensive Therapeutic Care: A guide for therapeutic specialists and supervisors - Practice guide
This guide has been developed for use by Therapeutic Specialists and Supervisors who have a role in supporting and developing the practice of staff. It covers the critical elements of...
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Creating positive social climates and home-like environments in therapeutic care - Practice guide
Creating positive social climates and home-like environments in therapeutic care - Practice guide
This guide has been developed to support the implementation of Essential Element: Physical Environments from the Ten Essential Elements of Therapeutic Care. It explores how to create therapeutic care contexts...
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Reflective practice: enhancing practice in therapeutic care - Practice guide
Reflective practice: enhancing practice in therapeutic care - Practice guide
Reflective Practice is one of the 10 Essential Elements of Intensive Therapeutic Care. This guide has been developed to support Therapeutic Specialists to engage staff in critical Reflective Practice -...
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What is effective therapeutic care? Research brief
What is effective therapeutic care? Research brief
This research briefing is an introduction to therapeutic care as a preferred response for children and young people who have experienced complex trauma and are unable to live at home....
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The evidence base for therapeutic group  care:  A systematic scoping review - Research brief
The evidence base for therapeutic group care: A systematic scoping review - Research brief
The NSW Government has undertaken major reforms over the past two years aimed at improving outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care. Following a review by Verso Consulting...
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Good practice in supporting young people leaving care - Research brief
Good practice in supporting young people leaving care - Research brief
The move to independent living is challenging for any young person, requiring the exercise of many new skills and navigation of a range of social institutions with which they may...
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Putting theory into practice
Putting theory into practice
Sometimes you might wonder why you need to learn about theory. I have heard people say:   Residential work with young people is often conducted amidst high anxiety, uncertainty and...
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The role of emotions in therapeutic care
The role of emotions in therapeutic care
The role of emotions within human service work may at first glance appear to be intuitively obvious and incontestable. Indeed, Howe (2008) described the day of a human service worker...
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The needs of LGBTIQ young people in out-of-home care - Research brief
The needs of LGBTIQ young people in out-of-home care - Research brief
Young people who are same sex attracted, trans or gender diverse – a population who will be referred to in this document as LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and...
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Working with young people with harmful sexual behaviours - Research brief
Working with young people with harmful sexual behaviours - Research brief
This research briefing provides an overview of the current literature reporting on young people who engage in harmful sexual behaviours. Workers at the front line of practice have known for...
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Care criminalisation: issues and current research - Research brief
Care criminalisation: issues and current research - Research brief
Young people who are in, or have been in out-of-home care, particularly those with experience of living in residential care, are vulnerable to a number of negative outcomes, including having...
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What is known about child sexual exploitation in residential care? Research brief
What is known about child sexual exploitation in residential care? Research brief
In 2016, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia noted that Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) was a significant issue of concern for children and young...
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Relationship-based care is key to recovery and change
Relationship-based care is key to recovery and change
For recovery and healing to occur in therapeutic residential care, there must be synergy or “congruence” between residential workers, the organisational culture and all other stakeholders in meeting the needs...
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What does stability in residential care mean? Part I
What does stability in residential care mean? Part I
After four years working in residential care, both on the floor and as a clinician, I wanted to better understand what stability really means for young people in residential care?...
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Staying on your game as a therapeutic specialist
Staying on your game as a therapeutic specialist
What follows is a mixture of tips, reminders, encouragement and hopefully a little bit of inspiration. Start with your “why" - Knowing your why is a key essential to success...
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Stability in residential Care: Part II
Stability in residential Care: Part II
Sarah is 14 and has been in placement for 18 months. She lives in a residential house with two boys and one girl. The boys display aggressive behaviours and are...
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Tips for supporting young people in therapeutic care through COVID-19 - Practice tool
Tips for supporting young people in therapeutic care through COVID-19 - Practice tool
This resource was developed to provide a range of tips and insights on supporting young people during the COVID pandemic. It covers a range orf areas across Realstionships and staying...
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8 ways to support young people in residential care during COVID-19
8 ways to support young people in residential care during COVID-19
How do we keep to the therapeutic care principles of safety, consistency, predictability, and routine in a world that feels like it has turned upside down overnight? It’s near impossible!...
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They came to us for care and left with a criminal record
They came to us for care and left with a criminal record
There is a nexus between living in Out of Home Care (OOHC) and being involved with the criminal justice system. In NSW children and young people in OOHC have been...
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How do we create excellence in Intensive Therapeutic residential care practice?
How do we create excellence in Intensive Therapeutic residential care practice?
What creates high quality therapeutic residential care? This is the question often asked of agencies, of staff, of policy makers and of the young people themselves. There is no simple...
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Leaving Care: What we know and don’t know about outcomes for young people
Leaving Care: What we know and don’t know about outcomes for young people
The research is clear: young people do not fare well when they leave care. Study after study, both in Australia and internationally, tells us that our care leavers are more...
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Cultivating curiosity in Therapeutic residential care
Cultivating curiosity in Therapeutic residential care
Curiosity is something that has excited me my whole life. I am sure a lot of you share my fascination and enthusiasm for curiosity. There seems to be wide support...
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Safety from the outside to the inside
Safety from the outside to the inside
At the recent Therapeutic Specialist’s forum, there was lots of discussion about the concept of physical and relational safety in Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC). We all agreed that it is...
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Therapeutic residential workers? Who are we?
Therapeutic residential workers? Who are we?
This blog is to introduce my recent research with therapeutic residential workers. Further blogs and practice guides relating to finding, keeping, acknowledging and celebrating the best person for the job...
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Young peoples' participation is a right, not a privilege
Young peoples' participation is a right, not a privilege
Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), Australian young people should be assured the right to express their views freely in all matters that affect...
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Enabling young people’s participation in residential care decision-making - Research brief
Enabling young people’s participation in residential care decision-making - Research brief
The literature on how young people participate in decision-making in residential care identifies three main aspects of participation: being able to access information to take part in decisions that matter;...
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10 ways to enable young people's participation in therapeutic residential care
10 ways to enable young people's participation in therapeutic residential care
In this blog, I’m keen to offer practitioners in therapeutic residential care some ideas about how to involve young people in decisions that affect their lives. Many young people in...
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Vanessa Farrell interview: Therapeutic opportunities in the time of COVID-19
Vanessa Farrell interview: Therapeutic opportunities in the time of COVID-19
In this video, we talk to Vanessa Farrell Therapeutic Care Manager at Anglicare. I had the opportunity to hear Vanessa speak at a recent Therapeutic Specialist Community of Practice on...
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Myth busting child sexual exploitation
Myth busting child sexual exploitation
When it comes to the sexual exploitation of children, most Australians tend to view it as a problem that exists somewhere else. However, those of us working in Intensive Therapeutic...
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Isaac's story: Having a voice in out-of-home care
Isaac's story: Having a voice in out-of-home care
Isaac is 15 years old, about 6ft tall, and you know when he is in the room. Isaac lives in his house with one other young person. Isaac experiences the...
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Making sense of complex and challenging behaviours
Making sense of complex and challenging behaviours
An inability to understand trauma-based behaviours often sees young people 'labelled' in ways that can create a 'spiral of negativity'. A trauma-informed approach orients us to be curious about what...
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Tahlia’s story: Having a voice in out-of-home care
Tahlia’s story: Having a voice in out-of-home care
Tahlia is a 16-year-old young woman who likes to be in complete control of her world at all times. She is as strong, articulate and as sassy as they come....
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Care teams - Collaborative processes for creating healing and change - Practice guide
Care teams - Collaborative processes for creating healing and change - Practice guide
A care team approach is an essential element of therapeutic care. This guide has been developed to support the practice of collaboration and participation through Care Team processes of which...
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The role of supervision in the trauma-informed journey
The role of supervision in the trauma-informed journey
The intention of trauma-informed practice and care is an increased understanding of how present behaviours and difficulties can be understood in the context of past trauma. The approach offers a...
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The Intensive Therapeutic Care dance
The Intensive Therapeutic Care dance
Therapeutic residential work can be conceptualised as a dance. It works best when therapeutic workers display therapeutic presence, are in sync with the young person, can making meaning of the...
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What does voice and choice mean in Intensive Therapeutic Care?
What does voice and choice mean in Intensive Therapeutic Care?
Voice and choice can be an extremely difficult concept in Intensive Therapeutic Care to get right. We know participation is a right, not a privilege, and we also know young people...
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Understanding and supporting young people who self-harm in residential care
Understanding and supporting young people who self-harm in residential care
Some of the young people we care for in the ITC programs deal with emotional distress and pain by hurting themselves physically. Young people hurting themselves is distressing to them...
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What is cultural safety?
What is cultural safety?
Cultural Safety is used by organisations alongside Cultural Competency and Cultural Responsiveness to demonstrate their commitment to work and provide services which are welcoming and respectful of another person’s culture....
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The role of praise in working with young people
The role of praise in working with young people
We can see each of our daily interactions with each of the young people we care for as bids for connection.  By choosing to turn toward, to turn away, or...
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What are the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in care? Research brief
What are the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in care? Research brief
Indigenous children and young people face unique challenges in the child welfare system. The dimensions of this problem are complex and multifaceted. Providing culturally safe and traumainformed therapeutic care to...
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The healing power of friendship
The healing power of friendship
Can the friendships and connections that can develop in Intensive Residential Care be nurtured and grown rather than feared? I would like you to take a moment to think back...
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Karen's story: Culture
Karen's story: Culture
Recently I had the privilege of being invited to the 50th Birthday party for twins, Karen and Sharon Lovett who initially came into care at 4 months.  I was fortunate...
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Preventing self-harm among young people in out-of-home care - Research brief
Preventing self-harm among young people in out-of-home care - Research brief
Many young people in out-of-home care are at an elevated risk of self-harm and suicidality. The reasons range from early exposure to abuse, disconnection from family, instability of their living...
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“It wasn't just listening to your ideas, it was following through”
“It wasn't just listening to your ideas, it was following through”
In 2019 and 2020, a group of young people with firsthand experience in out-of-home care joined PhD candidate Meaghan Vosz to research the practices associated with ‘giving due weight’ to...
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‘Tis the Season to be Jolly’ – but not for everyone
‘Tis the Season to be Jolly’ – but not for everyone
It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the fun and happiness of Christmas and forget that, for others, the season isn’t necessarily a joyful one. For some the...
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How do you support staff feeling defeated and powerless? A Case Study
How do you support staff feeling defeated and powerless? A Case Study
My work as a Therapeutic Specialist is about finding ways to equip and support staff to provide high-quality therapeutic care for young people living in Intensive Therapeutic Care homes. It...
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The 10 essential elements of Intensive Therapeutic Care NSW - Practice guide
The 10 essential elements of Intensive Therapeutic Care NSW - Practice guide
This guide has been developed to describe the 10 Essential Elements that form the basis for Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) service provision in NSW. The 10 Essential Elements have been...
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The essential elements of therapeutic foster care - Research brief
The essential elements of therapeutic foster care - Research brief
As far back as 2002 in the creation of the Catalyst Program, Mitchell developed what was Australia’s first therapeutic foster care program and one of a handful of pioneering programs...
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Vicarious trauma and secondary stress in therapeutic residential care - Research brief
Vicarious trauma and secondary stress in therapeutic residential care - Research brief
It is generally accepted that child welfare professionals are at high risk of experiencing vicarious trauma: the manifestation of traumatic symptoms resulting from working with individuals who, themselves, have encountered...
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Client mix and matching in intensive therapeutic care
Client mix and matching in intensive therapeutic care
Young people living in residential care are highly vulnerable and have commonly experienced a significant level of trauma and abuse. They often present with complex needs and a range of...
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Understanding vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
Understanding vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
Research shows how profoundly influenced we are by other people’s emotional states and how rapidly our interpersonal affective responses occur, and how dynamically our physiology responds to others’ emotional states....
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Exploring the meaning that lies beneath young people’s behaviour and supporting change - Practice tool
Exploring the meaning that lies beneath young people’s behaviour and supporting change - Practice tool
This resource has been developed to support professionals to unpack and plan how to respond to identified behaviours that are concerning, challenging and disruptive for young people in their search...
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What works? Promising practices to support young people who self-harm
What works? Promising practices to support young people who self-harm
Why do young people in out of home care self-harm? What are the best predictors of suicide and self-harm? What really works when supporting young people who self-harm in out-of-home...
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Q&A with Cate Keady from the Elver Program
Q&A with Cate Keady from the Elver Program
Since 2018, Cate Keady has worked within the Department of Communities and Justice to establish and manage the Intensive Support Services Elver Program - in partnership with South Western Sydney...
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What makes a good therapeutic residential care worker? Practice guide
What makes a good therapeutic residential care worker? Practice guide
Trained staff and consistent rostering are essential elements of therapeutic residential care. The purpose of this guide is to consider more broadly what makes an excellent therapeutic residential care worker...
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Q&A with Mohita Kapoor from CREATE Foundation
Q&A with Mohita Kapoor from CREATE Foundation
In September 2020 Mohita Kapoor, the NSW State Coordinator for the CREATE Foundation was invited to speak at our Therapeutic Specialist forum for those working within the Intensive Therapeutic Care...
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“Just ask Us”: Insights into working with young people with disability
“Just ask Us”: Insights into working with young people with disability
In late 2020, the Advocate for Children Young People (ACYP) shared their first report dedicated exclusively to the unique lived experiences of young people with disability. They asked 370 children...
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Neuroscience meets leadership
Neuroscience meets leadership
In this blog, I explore the relationship between neuroscience and leadership. The latest research in neuroscience tells us that our neurobiology is what drives our behaviour and defines how we,...
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Achieving effective supervision – Games that supervisors play
Achieving effective supervision – Games that supervisors play
In the previous blog, we discussed how easy it is for the supervisor/supervisee relationship to be consciously or sub-consciously ambushed by power/defensive game play. Kadushin (1968) described games as repetitive...
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A story you may recognise
A story you may recognise
Peta had worked in residential care for 18 months. She took the position because she had had a difficult childhood and she felt that she had a lot to offer...
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Safe Connections – A resource kit to support young people in care at risk of child sexual exploitation - Practice guide
Safe Connections – A resource kit to support young people in care at risk of child sexual exploitation - Practice guide
The Safe Connections resource kit has been designed for use with young people at risk of or experiencing child sexual exploitation in care. Child sexual exploitation is a form of...
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Behaviours that challenge: What has happened to you?
Behaviours that challenge: What has happened to you?
Children and young people living in Therapeutic Residential Care in Australia often present with a range of behaviours that challenge us. The complexity and difficulty in working with these challenging...
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How do you prepare for the transitioning of young people into an Intensive Therapeutic Care house? Part 2
How do you prepare for the transitioning of young people into an Intensive Therapeutic Care house? Part 2
In the first part of the Blog, we explored limit and expectation setting, maintaining a state of occupancy and the planning process for a successful transition. In part two of...
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How do you prepare for the transitioning of young people into an Intensive Therapeutic Care house? Part 1
How do you prepare for the transitioning of young people into an Intensive Therapeutic Care house? Part 1
This is a two-part blog and will focus on the transition of young people into an Intensive Therapeutic Care house; however, most of the content is transferrable to other placement...
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New, free training: responding to child sexual exploitation
New, free training: responding to child sexual exploitation
Last week, we launched our new Responding to Child Sexual Exploitation online training resource for caseworkers, residential workers, house supervisors and managers, therapeutic specialists and organisational leaders working in out...
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Review of new briefing papers on child sexual exploitation
Review of new briefing papers on child sexual exploitation
Much of the available research regarding the sexual exploitation of children and young people is explored through the prism of victim as female and perpetrator as male. As a result,...
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'It happens to boys too': Child sexual exploitation
'It happens to boys too': Child sexual exploitation
Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the profile and awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Undoubtedly there is a benefit of increased awareness and understanding...
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Reflections on the therapeutic specialist forum
Reflections on the therapeutic specialist forum
Last month, 40 Therapeutic Specialists from a range of organisation’s gathered in Sydney for the annual Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) Therapeutic Specialist Forum. Across two days participants engaged in workshops,...
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How can you support safe social media use in out-of-home care organisations?
How can you support safe social media use in out-of-home care organisations?
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok, WeChat, Instagram – as common as these social media platforms and many others are, most of us are still learning the best ways to use (or...
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Social media for personnel - Practice guide
Social media for personnel - Practice guide
Social media can be a powerful and valuable tool for communication, engagement and promotion, offering convenience and communication opportunities in many instances. But social media can also raise questions around...
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Minimum age of criminal responsibility in the ACT
Minimum age of criminal responsibility in the ACT
  This submission addresses the question of whether the age of criminal responsibility (MACR) should be increased and submits that the age should be raised from 10 years old to...
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More than just a kid in care - Identity and Culture
More than just a kid in care - Identity and Culture
This NAIDOC week, I have spent some time listening to the new, 4-part podcast series called “More Than Just a Kid in Care”. Written, produced and edited by young people...
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Changing your practice to being trauma informed in therapeutic residential care
Changing your practice to being trauma informed in therapeutic residential care
Whilst the following Arabian proverb takes a bit to get your head around it leads rather nicely into this blog and our brief introduction on the relevance of the conscious...
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How to thrive in lock down, lean into what works in therapeutic care
How to thrive in lock down, lean into what works in therapeutic care
Lockdown means we lose touch with many things: friends, family, freedom. For young people, therapeutic youth workers and other staff in Intensive Therapeutic Care, however, it also offers an opportunity...
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Trauma-informed relationship-based recovery reflection tool - Practice tool
Trauma-informed relationship-based recovery reflection tool - Practice tool
Children and young people need adults who can co-regulate with them and teach them about feelings and their inner world. This Trauma Informed Relationship-Based Recovery Reflection tool can be used...
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Children, young people and sleep
Children, young people and sleep
Many of those of you who know me, know that I have a big interest in sleep hygiene and the children and young people in out of home care (OOHC)....
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Supporting children in out-of-home care to cope with ambiguous loss
Supporting children in out-of-home care to cope with ambiguous loss
When you think of grief and loss, what comes to your mind? You may think of the immense sorrow one may experience. For some of us, we can seek solace...
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The therapeutic power of laughter
The therapeutic power of laughter
"The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter." Mark Twain We all like to laugh. It makes us feel good. Among humans, laughter begins as...
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Client mix and client matching in therapeutic care - Practice guide
Client mix and client matching in therapeutic care - Practice guide
Client mix and the process of client matching is one of the 10 Essential Elements underpinning the Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) system in New South Wales. This guide has been...
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Applying polyvagal theory to relationship-based therapeutic care - Practice tool
Applying polyvagal theory to relationship-based therapeutic care - Practice tool
Relationship-based practice is at the core of effective therapeutic care. Key to understanding how to build effective relationships with young people who have experienced trauma is to understand how the...
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Trauma-informed care - Research brief
Trauma-informed care - Research brief
This research briefing aims to define and clarify what trauma, complex trauma and trauma informed care are. Extensive literature has now surmised that exposure to adverse experiences such as child...
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Mandatory consent education, a win for all young people
Mandatory consent education, a win for all young people
Consent education will be mandatory in Australian schools from 2023, a win for Chanel Contos’ #teachusconsent movement and all young people who have called out a lack of holistic consent and sexuality...
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Trauma-informed relationship based recovery reflection tool
Trauma-informed relationship based recovery reflection tool
“Childhood trauma has the potential to interrupt the normal physical, physiological, emotional, mental and intellectual development, of children and can have wide-ranging, and often life-long implications for their health and...
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Q&A with the trainer: Harmful sexual behaviour
Q&A with the trainer: Harmful sexual behaviour
Working with young people who engage in harmful sexual behaviour is complex and challenging. Cyra Fernandes and Dan Howell have spent over a 1000 hours in the past year helping carers and professionals...
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Strengthening connections & relationships project
Strengthening connections & relationships project
What is this research about? Young people in residential care face major challenges that can prevent them from forming healthy relationships and a strong personal identity, which are critical building...
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Pulse check survey
Pulse check survey
The ITC Pulse Check Survey and Outcome Report provides a point-in-time reflection on the experiences of the reform process by ITC agency staff. To this end, the survey results clearly...
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Book review: What happened to you? Conversations on trauma, resilience and recovery by Dr Perry and Oprah Winfrey
Book review: What happened to you? Conversations on trauma, resilience and recovery by Dr Perry and Oprah Winfrey
Dr Perry and Oprah Winfrey recently released What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Recovery. The book tells the story of how adverse childhood experiences cause deep emotional...
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Come on it’s only a game
Come on it’s only a game
Many of you will have experienced something like the following… A residential worker is observing two young people playing table tennis in the rear yard of the residential unit. One...
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The wisdom of lived experience: Learning from adults who were once children in care
The wisdom of lived experience: Learning from adults who were once children in care
The wisdom of lived experience: Learning from adults who were once children in care Lisa Cherry is an author, researcher and leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting schools,...
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Belonging as an intervention: An opportunity to consider the adult that the child will become
Belonging as an intervention: An opportunity to consider the adult that the child will become
This blog is written by Lisa Cherry. Lisa is an author and a leading international trainer and consultant, specialising in assisting those in Education, Social Care and Adoption and Fostering...
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Celebrating IDAHOBIT Day 2022 by sharing LGBTQIA+ youth experiences in care
Celebrating IDAHOBIT Day 2022 by sharing LGBTQIA+ youth experiences in care
Today is IDAHOBIT day! International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia & Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) celebrates LGBTQIA+ people globally and raises awareness for the work still needed to combat discrimination. LGBTQIA+ Australians...
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How to develop your own self-care protocol
How to develop your own self-care protocol
When someone says ‘self-care’, what image comes to mind? What are the positive and negative aspects of this image? Do you have clear intentions for self-care and your self-care protocol?...
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Responding to behaviours that challenge - practice guide
Responding to behaviours that challenge - practice guide
Much has been written about understanding and managing the challenging pain-based behaviours of children and young people who have experienced trauma and live in therapeutic or out of home care....
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Creating a balance between empowerment and limit setting in therapeutic care - Practice guide
Creating a balance between empowerment and limit setting in therapeutic care - Practice guide
This guide has been developed to support Therapeutic Care carers and staff to navigate the critical balance between empowering children and young people and setting limits. One of the most...
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Responding to children and young people living in out-of-home care who engage in harmful sexual behaviour - Practice guide
Responding to children and young people living in out-of-home care who engage in harmful sexual behaviour - Practice guide
This practice guide aims to support carers and professionals working in and around the out of home care system to know how to best understand their role when responding to...
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The role of the therapeutic specialist in therapeutic care - Practice guide
The role of the therapeutic specialist in therapeutic care - Practice guide
This guide has been developed to describe and support the enactment of the role of the Therapeutic Specialist. The guide provides an overview of the role of the Therapeutic Specialist...
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Secondary traumatic stress and staff well-being: understanding compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout in therapeutic care - Practice guide
Secondary traumatic stress and staff well-being: understanding compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout in therapeutic care - Practice guide
This guide has been developed to support organisational congruence and in the provision of trauma informed therapeutic care and the critical need for a well-supported, capable, and stable staff group...
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Frequently asked questions by foster carers: Behaviours that challenge
Frequently asked questions by foster carers: Behaviours that challenge
In Australia, there are about 18 thousand children and young people in foster care. Most foster carers will be the first to tell you how rewarding it is – but...
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Understanding the needs of kinship carers in Australia - Research brief
Understanding the needs of kinship carers in Australia - Research brief
Kinship care placements in Australia are now more prevalent than foster care. They are the fastest growing form of out-of-home care in this country (AIHW, 2021). On 30 June 2019,...
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Sibling placement in out-of-home care - Research brief
Sibling placement in out-of-home care - Research brief
The significance of sibling relationships for children and young people in out-of-home care is well documented by national and international scholars (Luu, Conley Wright, & Cashmore, 2020). These relationships offer...
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‘Drop and run’ - the experience of kinship carers in the Australian child protection system
‘Drop and run’ - the experience of kinship carers in the Australian child protection system
Recent research was conducted by the Southern Cross University and the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care (McPherson, Gatwiri, Day, Parmenter, Mitchell & Macnamara, 2022) into the experience of kinship...
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Do ‘no touch’ policies in residential care keep workers and children safe? It’s not that simple
Do ‘no touch’ policies in residential care keep workers and children safe? It’s not that simple
Lyn was 16 and had grown up in foster and residential care. Lyn was interviewed about her experience and views about out of home care. She was extremely positive about...
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I'm a FASD specialist - Here are 5 things you should know about it
I'm a FASD specialist - Here are 5 things you should know about it
You might have seen recent ads about the risks of consuming alcohol in pregnancy and might be wondering why this issue is suddenly a focus in the media. “Every moment...
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What Professor Cindy Blackstock can teach us about trusting children and ourselves
What Professor Cindy Blackstock can teach us about trusting children and ourselves
First Nations children's rights activist and 2022 International Childhood Trauma Conference speaker Cindy Blackstock recently said that adults need to trust children with the truth. "They can handle it," Blackstock...
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“If you don’t feed the staff, they’ll eat the kids” Kevin Creeden on self-care and harmful sexual behaviours
“If you don’t feed the staff, they’ll eat the kids” Kevin Creeden on self-care and harmful sexual behaviours
Kevin Creeden, Director of Assessment and Research at Whitney Academy Massachusetts and a speaker at the 2022 International Child Trauma Conference said in recent training, “If you don’t feed the...
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Cultural Governance Panel
Cultural Governance Panel
Our Cultural Governance Panel is chaired by Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, a Jiman/Bundjalung Aboriginal woman, and comprises Aboriginal leaders from across NSW and other states in Australia including Cultural Advisor,...
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Curiosity doesn't always kill the cat: Using a curiosity-oriented approach to promote connection to culture and community for young people in out-of-home care
Curiosity doesn't always kill the cat: Using a curiosity-oriented approach to promote connection to culture and community for young people in out-of-home care
Lena Ford is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker who has worked in the field of children, youth, and families for more than 20 years, in both government and community...
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Blocked care: ‘You’re not alone; it’s a brain thing.’
Blocked care: ‘You’re not alone; it’s a brain thing.’
“No one knows what it is like to care for a child in trauma until they have cared for a child in trauma,” said Noel MacNamara in one of his...
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PhD Scholarship: young people’s experiences of therapeutic residential care-DRAFT1
PhD Scholarship: young people’s experiences of therapeutic residential care-DRAFT1
About Applicants can be based anywhere within Australia The stipend and top up are tax free An Australian first of its kind, large-scale mixed-methods study The opportunity About you What...
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What Was I Thinking? Handling the Amygdala Hijack
What Was I Thinking? Handling the Amygdala Hijack
Remember that time when you put the child you care for back to bed for the fourth time? Your thoughts suggested a level of desperation and wishful thinking, hoping that...
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Asked but not heard: Another report calls for change in out-of-home care
Asked but not heard: Another report calls for change in out-of-home care
A new report released by the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People, Zoë Robinson, calls on the government to listen and respond to the voices of children and young...
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12 ways foster and kinship carers can promote compassion and self-compassion in children and young people
12 ways foster and kinship carers can promote compassion and self-compassion in children and young people
What are Compassion and Self-Compassion?Compassion is the ability to feel and connect with the suffering of another human being, self-compassion is the ability to feel and connect with one’s own...
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‘There was no support’: Getting kinship care support right
‘There was no support’: Getting kinship care support right
We did not and am still not receiving support requested or needed. Case managers or staff change without us being informed. Phone messages left at their offices and drop in...
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The Caregiver’s healing gift- a mindful presence
The Caregiver’s healing gift- a mindful presence
For children and young people that have experienced trauma abuse and neglect, the presence of positive, safe, and attuned relationships can be significant in supporting their recovery. Actions that promote...
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Trauma, loss and parenting – care leavers’ experiences of having their own children during transitions from care
Trauma, loss and parenting – care leavers’ experiences of having their own children during transitions from care
This post is written by Jade Purtell, a multidisciplinary researcher and practitioner focused on out-of-home care and transitions from care experiences and policy. This research is funded by an Australian Government...
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“Powerful children who can control their worlds are happier, secure children,” Q&A with Billy Black
“Powerful children who can control their worlds are happier, secure children,” Q&A with Billy Black
This month, we are thrilled to welcome Billy Black to our team at the CETC as a Care Experience Resource and Training Specialist. Billy has advocated for children in care...
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Supporting LGTBQIA+ Young People in Care to Explore Identity
Supporting LGTBQIA+ Young People in Care to Explore Identity
In this month’s Community of Practice workshop, we explored the additional challenges that LGBTQIA+ young people face in care, reflecting on how to provide a secure base in care and...
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Extending care support past age 18 to 21
Extending care support past age 18 to 21
How old were you when you moved out of home for the first time? Did you continue to get support from home, perhaps for an emergency loan, help to file...
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Fight, flight, freeze, and fibbing: Lying as a trauma-based behaviour
Fight, flight, freeze, and fibbing: Lying as a trauma-based behaviour
In almost every session I have run for foster and kinship carers, someone tells a story about a child or young person in their care who regularly lies. I can feel...
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Christmas in residential care: It doesn’t need to be the most wonderful time of the year
Christmas in residential care: It doesn’t need to be the most wonderful time of the year
Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many Australians, but it can also bring pressure and unrealistic expectations. The shops are decorated, Christmas songs are everywhere, and cheesy...
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Why sleep is so important for children with trauma
Why sleep is so important for children with trauma
Many of you who know me know that I have a big interest in sleep hygiene and the children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC). To this end, I...
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New years' resolutions and other goals for teens in care
New years' resolutions and other goals for teens in care
When I was a teen in care, I found the (well-intentioned) focus on my progress from case workers and other adults exhausting. If I tried hard, I made “progress”, but...
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Using mindfulness to support the wellbeing of out-of-home care staff
Using mindfulness to support the wellbeing of out-of-home care staff
Working in out-of-home care means being busy. We often have more work than we can reasonably manage. It’s also difficult to help others when there’s so much emotion and chaos...
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Living with the Fast and the Furious
Living with the Fast and the Furious
You have opened your homes and your hearts to children who are unable to live with their parents. You want to help them access a better life. To feel safe,...
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Trauma-sensitive family time is about connection and repair
Trauma-sensitive family time is about connection and repair
Relationships with family come with good times and challenges for everyone, but for children and young people in care, this birthright of family connection can often be deprioritised for the...
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The therapeutic power of imaginary storytelling
The therapeutic power of imaginary storytelling
World Care Day is a global event held on the third Friday of February every year to celebrate the voices of children and young people with a care experience. The theme...
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Agenda for Change: Ensuring a safe and supportive out-of-home care system for children and young people in New South Wales
Agenda for Change: Ensuring a safe and supportive out-of-home care system for children and young people in New South Wales
A system in crisis: A call for transformation The out-of-home care system in New South Wales (NSW) should be a safe haven for children, young people and families. It is...
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Trauma-informed care connects to children’s needs; trauma-informed carer training should connect to carers’ needs
Trauma-informed care connects to children’s needs; trauma-informed carer training should connect to carers’ needs
The CETC is thrilled to announce our new online course “Caring for Children and Young People with Trauma” is now live and free for all South Australian kinship and foster...
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Connecting to culture is a journey, not a box to tick
Connecting to culture is a journey, not a box to tick
Last week, we were privileged to have Dr Jacynta Krakouer lead a training session on building cultural connections for First Nations children and young people in out-of-home care to a...
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Let’s Talk About the Summer Holiday – a poem about detention
Let’s Talk About the Summer Holiday – a poem about detention
"Let’s talk about the summer holiday, even though I’m in detention in was still fun aye. Because it was so hot, there was no time to use the indoor gym...
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Can we provide trauma-informed care for children without changing our beliefs about their behaviour?
Can we provide trauma-informed care for children without changing our beliefs about their behaviour?
This blog article was written by Noel Macnamara, Executive Manager - Research and Policy and Deputy Director, Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care, CETC. There is a growing tendency to...
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Pride month: Challenges for LGBTQI+ children and young people in care
Pride month: Challenges for LGBTQI+ children and young people in care
This blog article was written by Tayla Howard (she/her), Team Leader of Therapeutic Services and OurSPACE NSW at Australian Childhood Foundation. June is recognised as Pride Month, a time of...
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Book Review: The Brightness of Stars, Stories from Care Experienced Adults to Inspire Change
Book Review: The Brightness of Stars, Stories from Care Experienced Adults to Inspire Change
Care Home Flickering’s                                                                                                                                                      SearchingFor unconditional love,Away from horrorsOf night time wanderings;Boys and girls lookingfor comfort inall the wrong places.Pushing,Fighting a slow death,One mosaic piece at aTime, wide eyed wonderingIf someone would...
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How are restrictive practices interpreted in therapeutic residential care?
How are restrictive practices interpreted in therapeutic residential care?
This blog article was written by Glenys Bristow,  Senior Specialist, Therapeutic Residential Care, CETC. Restrictive practice in therapeutic care The Royal Commision into Violence, Abuse and Exploitation of People with...
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What do foster carers tell us about their support needs? - Research brief
What do foster carers tell us about their support needs? - Research brief
Foster carers are a crucial human resource in responding to children and young people who have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma. The design and implementation of foster care programs varies...
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Thirteen coping strategies that caregivers can use to support young people through their grief process
Thirteen coping strategies that caregivers can use to support young people through their grief process
Being in out-of-home care (OOHC) often means loss: loss of parents, siblings, extended family, pets, home, school, and friends. Grief is a normal and healthy response to loss. Children can...
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The role fear plays in the lives of children and young people in out-of-home care
The role fear plays in the lives of children and young people in out-of-home care
Fear is a fundamental human emotion triggered by a perceived threat. It serves as a basic survival mechanism that signals our bodies to respond to danger with a fight, flight,...
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Hard vs soft skills: which are more important in residential care work?
Hard vs soft skills: which are more important in residential care work?
Not everyone is suited to being a therapeutic residential worker. Working in therapeutic care requires special skills and qualities, some that can be taught or mentored, and others that are...
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Untangling the challenges of FASD and trauma
Untangling the challenges of FASD and trauma
In honour of FASD Awareness Month this September, the CETC brought together esteemed thought leaders Dr Julia Shekleton, Prue Walker, and Noel Macnamara to delve into the complex intersection between...
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The most difficult thing about residential care work
The most difficult thing about residential care work
The most difficult aspect of working in residential care is not managing the behavioural challenges of the children and young people, the demanding shifts, or the lack of resources. Rather,...
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Hearts of Gold: Reflecting on Foster Care Week 2023
Hearts of Gold: Reflecting on Foster Care Week 2023
Foster Care Week, observed from September 10-16, is an annual celebration acknowledging the incredible contribution our volunteer foster carers make to the lives of children in out-of-home care. The theme...
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Spotlight on a therapeutic specialist in out-of-home care - Jess Wright
Spotlight on a therapeutic specialist in out-of-home care - Jess Wright
Foster Care Week 2023, celebrated from September 10-16, is an annual celebration of foster carers and their supporters for the contributions they make to the lives of children, young people,...
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Research Update: Understanding Relationships in Therapeutic Residential Care
Research Update: Understanding Relationships in Therapeutic Residential Care
The Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care (CETC) is engaged in ongoing research to understand how positive, trusting relationships and social connections can be fostered for young people in Therapeutic...
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