What is Nexus 360 and the ethos behind it?
Nexus 360 is a specialist service to meet the needs of children deemed ‘hard to place’ who might otherwise be in a residential unit, and is sometimes described as a ‘wrap-around’ service.
It is overseen by a qualified psychologist. It offers an intensive support package to foster carers. It includes support work, education liaison, enhanced social work input and therapeutic care planning and assessment, enhanced respite, and an enhanced foster carer fee.
In respect of the ethos, we believe all young people deserve the opportunity to experience a family setting, to feel safe and happy and have aims and hopes for the future.
We support foster carers offer a stable placement for a child that might have moved many times. The Nexus 360 integrated therapeutic model is practical and research based, focusing on young people who have lived complex lives, experienced trauma and damaged attachments, and who have complex psychological health needs.
What does Nexus 360 offer children and young people that other services don’t?
Direct 1-1 work. The young person has an allocated support worker who visits weekly, supporting the young person to pursue talents and hobbies, providing a separate space to talk about their experience in care and more. It depends on the needs profile of the young person and what works best for the young person and the foster carer.
We have also arranged things like tutoring for young people out of education in order to provide structure and support their confidence in accessing education again.
The objective is to offer a level of support to the foster carers to help them provide a family environment for the young person.
We have the capacity, by working with Studio III, to provide therapy for the young person where necessary. The model of therapeutic intervention is assessed on individual basis.
Is there any extra support for foster carers?
It brings together multiple elements with the aim of supporting foster carers to meet the needs of the young people in placement. This includes:
- Daily contact with foster carers
- Fortnightly direct clinical support with a qualified therapist, supported by a dedicated psychology team
- A detailed psychological assessment of needs is produced and clinical notes from therapy input are produced as standard and shared with the carer.
- Team around the child meetings at 6-week intervals to bring together the professionals including the foster carer
- Weekly social work support and formal supervision fortnightly as a minimum
- A support worker who visits the young person weekly
- Education liaison officer to help prepare foster carers for meeting and help them understand education processes, advocating and liaising on their behalf where necessary.
There is also enhanced respite and a much-enhanced foster carer fee as standard.
Are we working with any specialist services to offer 360?
Yes, we are working with Studio III who provide therapeutic advice and input.
We have an assigned therapist for each area and they have an assistant. Overseeing the service is a Psychotherapist and Counsellor specializing in behavioral support with an M.Sc. in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Post Graduate Diploma in Integrated Counselling, Diploma in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Diploma in Community and Youth Work, B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology.
He has over 25 years of experience working with children and adults with complex and challenging behaviors and the families and the people who care for them.
Working with our Harrow team we have a consultant Clinical psychologist, with over 20 years of practitioner experience. He has practical experience of a variety of populations including, children with emotional and behavioral disorder.
We have also commissioned Studio III to provide 3-day training courses for our teams of foster carers on de-escalation following a ‘low arousal’ approach to integrate with our understanding of attachment, building resilience and understanding the impact of trauma.
The training is designed to provide the skills to defuse challenging situations with the aim of negating the need for physical intervention.
Do 360 carers need to have any sort of experience of special background?
We recognise that experience takes different forms and we find in the assessment and matching of carers that it’s important to focus on key traits and potential.
For instance, emotional resilience and a consistent, predictable approach in relation to keeping the young person safe is important.
Although admittedly subjective, a sense of humour can be useful. The ability to look beyond presenting behaviour is important.
Also, the ability to consistently engage with the training and the therapeutic clinics on offer, recognising where traditional parenting approaches need be tweaked to meet the needs of the child.
The matching process is always a combination of the above elements coupled with employment and or personal experience of varying care roles are required.
Are there any success stories so far the programme?
We have been able to support a young person whose previous placement abruptly came to an end resulting in him being placed in emergency respite placement.
He is in the ‘significant risk’ group due to his background and care history, and to date we have been able to stabilise the placement move cycle for him, provide an excellent support worker match and place him with carers whom he feels able to relate to and begin to trust.
In our collective view he is showing signs of forming an attachment and progressing emotionally. The carer is accessing regular therapeutic advice and support and enjoying it.
In another example we provided a solo 360 placement for a young person who struggled in a larger household with other young people. The carer is single and is benefiting from the ability to leave formal employment to concentrate on fostering with the enhanced fee enabling her to do this.
The support work for the young person has a twin role of strengthening the foster carer support network and enabling emotional space for the young person outside of the placement each week. We recognise the importance of carer / young person trust building and attachment and also the importance of supporting the carers resilience.
Nexus 360 foster carers are helping young people to live in a stable family home. If you would like to learn more, or have thought about becoming a foster carer, call our team today for a no obligation conversation to find out if it is for you on 0800 389 0143