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Therapeutic Fostering

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In this blog, we explore one avenue of care in a bit more detail – therapeutic fostering. We answer all your questions, including:


  • What’s the difference between foster care and therapeutic foster care?

  • What are the needs of children in therapeutic foster care?

  • How do you become a therapeutic foster carer?

  • What support you receive when you foster a child with therapeutic needs?


As you read, keep in mind that caring for the most vulnerable children is a truly life-changing and rewarding path to take. Of course, like other types of fostering, there are challenges. However, the benefits you experience from changing a young person’s life for the better make it worthwhile.


What’s the difference between foster care and therapeutic foster care?

There’s an ever-growing demand for foster carers in the UK, with around 82,000 children in foster care (as of summer 2023).

Many children in foster care have different needs that they need support with, whether physical or emotional. Children in therapeutic care often arrive from the most extreme environments. Sadly, many have suffered severe abuse and/or neglect, leading to developmental delays and long-term trauma.

Alongside a team of professionals, therapeutic foster carers have to provide extra support to keep these children safe. So, being available at all times for the foster child is essential.

Besides needs and level of support, another critical difference lies in training. Therapeutic carers are responsible for implementing therapeutic approaches within the home and working with specialists to help children manage their emotions and feel safe. Consequently, foster carers must thoroughly understand complex social, emotional, and physical needs. Nexus Fostering offers a high level of training to support you with this.


What are the needs of children in therapeutic foster care?

Understanding the needs of children in foster care will prepare you and your family for the journey ahead. Alongside kindness, patience and transparency, there are a few unique considerations to keep in mind when it comes to therapeutic fostering.

- Not to be judgemental, as you may not know the full circumstances

- Give the child time to open up as they may be worried or scared

- The child might disclose some information to you during their stay

- A child’s behaviour might reflect past trauma they have experienced


Structured environment

All children need structure because it creates a sense of normality and safety. It’s especially crucial for children in therapeutic care who’ve come from chaotic, dangerous, and ever-changing backgrounds.

Structure means children know what to expect – life is stable with predictable activities, people, and behaviours. You can avoid surprises and triggers that may cause your foster child distress by keeping a routine.

What’s more, children gain freedom within a structured environment. When they’re not worried or frightened about what comes next, they have more headspace to play, create and communicate.


24/7 around-the-clock care

As mentioned previously, therapeutic fostering involves a higher level of attention and care. You must be available 24/7 to intervene in emergencies and provide therapeutic inventions (more on these next).

Before making an application, evaluate your time to give a child. Someone always has to be physically and emotionally present for the foster child. If you have children of your own, think about whether it’s possible to split your time accordingly.


Therapeutic interventions

Abuse and neglect can have a long-lasting impact on the health and well-being of young people. It can also lead to mental health illnesses like depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

Therapeutic interventions are specific methods of response designed to heal trauma. While they don’t “fix” problems, they are an essential part of recovery alongside more comprehensive emotional support.

Let’s say a child is in the middle of an angry outburst, therapeutic interventions may distract them from the source of their anger towards a more calming activity. It may include drawing a picture to explain how they feel, taking ten deep breaths or scheduling an emergency counselling appointment.

Every intervention is different, and professionals will assess your foster child to establish what’s best for them. They will always be on hand to help you provide expert and tailored support in the home environment.


How do you become a therapeutic foster carer?

Therapeutic carers play a double role in providing a loving family home where a child can be and a therapeutic environment to assist with their road to recovery. Therefore, once you are in your fostering assessment, it will be explored whether therapeutic fostering is right for you at this time. If it isn’t, that’s not to say it can’t be re-explored again once you feel more confident in being a foster carer.  You are provided with more in-depth training on therapeutic approaches, and we have a Clinician in each office who supports you every step of the way.


What support do you receive?

  • 21-day respite for carers

  • Increased allowance

  • Daily contact from Nexus Fostering

  • Full training 24/7 support

  • Therapeutic support from a qualified clinician

  • Therapeutic care plan

  • Weekly visit from the support worker

  • Access to Education Liaison Officer.


Become a therapeutic foster carer with Nexus Fostering.

If you’re patient, dedicated and kind beyond measure, you have what it takes to become a therapeutic foster carer.

We’ll assist you with the right training and courses, so you don’t have to have any qualifications before making an application. Plus, you’re never alone. We offer a team of support workers, Supervising Social Workers, local support groups with other foster carers, and a Clinician to help.

To begin your fostering journey, call us on 0800 389 0143. We’re always happy to talk through your queries and provide more information. Or arrange a call back at a time that suits you - Contact Us | Nexus Fostering


For more information on therapeutic fostering, head to the next page - 

Therapeutic Fostering | Nexus Fostering


Fostering insights


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  • Foster Carer
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  • Therapeutic
  • Social Worker
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Date published

29 September 2023

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