Finally, I get asked by the caregivers what they should do to respond to the child or young person’s distress associated with contact with birth parents. I would have them remember that the children and young people can be distressed by reminders of the circumstances that existed in their home prior to their placement in out-of-home care. These reminders include their experience of the emotions and behaviours of their parents, and their parent’s responsiveness to their dependency needs. In consideration of this, the children need reassurance that they are no longer in that place, that their caregivers are attuned to their emotions and will help them back to wellbeing, that their caregivers are present for them, and that their caregivers understand them in your words and caregiving actions. These actions are summarised by me in the acronym CARE (Consistency, Accessibility, Responsiveness, Emotional Connectedness), about which I have written a lot, including in other self-paced learning modules and A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder (Second Edition). I recommend this content to you and thank you for your endeavours for and on behalf of the child or young person who is recovering from a tough start to life.
So, the final piece of advice is, when arrangements are made about contact between children and young people and their birth parents, ensure that those arrangements allow for their contemporary carers to be accessible, responsive, and attuned to the child before and after contact occurs.
What is your first step to support a child or young person you work with or care for having the best possible connection with their birth parents?
Thank you for taking the time to engage with this module. I hope you took some things of use from it and I wish you well in your endeavours for and on behalf of children and young people who are recovering from a tough start to life.
Click here to purchase the PDF Handbook for this self-paced learning module.