The CARE Curriculum

The CARE Model (Pearce, 2016) offers an evidence-informed conceptual framework for supporting individual and organisational focus on key aspects of caregiving and relating that influence outcomes developmental outcomes and recovery from adversity. CARE stands for:

  • Consistency
  • Accessibility
  • Responsiveness
  • Emotional Connectedness

The CARE Curriculum offers a comprehensive approach to the delivery of culturally-sensitive, trauma-informed and -responsive services to individuals recovering from adverse life and family circumstances, via the delivery of enriched CARE.

Developmental growth is a central feature of the CARE Curriculum. Key outcomes include:

  • Growing a consistent, strengths-based and relationship-focused approach to individual and organisational service delivery;
  • Growing confident and knowledgeable professionals who exhibit key competencies in their practice that support growth in their clients; and
  • Growth in capacity to provide consistent, enriched, and reparative care to children and young people.

Personal growth is mediated by individual factors that influence approach to life, relationships, and roles. Key individual factors include:

  • The beliefs one holds about ourselves, others, and the world (also known as Attachment Representations, Internal Working Models, and Schema);
  • Central Nervous System activation (also known as Arousal, and implicated in emotional functioning, performance, and wellbeing); and
  • Life learning, especially about access to needs provision.

This is the Triple-A Model (Pearce, 2016; 2011, 2010), and represents a  framework for understanding how CARE influences individual outcomes. An optimal approach to life, relationships and roles is enhanced through strengthening the influence of:

  • Secure Attachment Representations;
  • Optimal Arousal for performance and wellbeing; and
  • Trust in Accessibility to needs provision.

CARE directly influences Attachment, Arousal, and Accessibility (Pearce, 2016). CARE develops people, thereby addressing the factors that underly common manifestations of psychological impairment, including substance abuse issues, mental health issues, and maladaptive relationships. The CARE curriculum offers an approach to developing optimal functioning and growth via a comprehensive approach to service delivery.

The CARE Curriculum recognises that not all circumstances are the same. As such, there is a particular focus on reflective capacity and practice. Participant organisations, practitioners and parents/caregivers are supported to develop their knowledge and understanding of the importance of CARE, but they are also supported to reflect on how they can offer enriched care in their work and roles.

A common statement in feedback from practitioners about the CARE Curriculum is that it not only helped them to be better at their work roles, it helped them to be better in their personal roles and relationships. The CARE Curriculum offers the opportunity for people to be the best version of themselves.

Recent and ongoing projects utilising the CARE Curriculum include:

  • The implementation of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care (a programme of the CARE Curriculum) in the TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) Fostering service in Donegal, Ireland – ongoing since 2016. (Nb. Ongoing implementation maintained by twelve trained local trainers in Ireland).
  • Martinthi – Aboriginal Kinship CARE Program (A collaboration of InComPro, Bookyana, UCWB, and Secure Start®) – ongoing
  • Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy – A Programme delivered to Connecting Families with grant support from the DHS Trauma Responsiveness Grant, 2020
  • The Kinship CARE Project (A Collaboration of The Department for Child Protection and Secure Start®, 2018-2020)
  • Connected Classrooms – Programme delivered by Colby Pearce in DECD regional school, and by local trainers from TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) in schools in Donegal, Ireland.

The CARE Model, as described in A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder  – Second Edition (Pearce, 2016) remains recommended reading for all prospective psychology registrants in Australia who must sit the National Psychology Examination. The Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care (a programme of the CARE Curriculum) has been favourably referenced in Inspection reports of the TUSLA Fostering Service in Donegal, Ireland, in 2016 and 2018 by the independent inspection authority for health and social care services in Ireland (HIQA).

Resources

The CARE Curriculum includes a range of resources, from structured reflections to comprehensive handbooks. CARE Cards are a useful addition to the CARE Curriculum, and provide a quick reference guide to the importance of CARE and how to enrich CARE in your home, school, or work setting. This video shows the CARE cards drawn from the Connected Classrooms training programme:

Some Stats:

A two-year joint-initiative of Secure Start® and the Department for Child Protection (DCP) in South Australia, the CARE Curriculum was delivered to 250 kinship carers across 7 regional and 17 metropolitan locations. Twelve percent (12%) of participants identified as being of Australian Aboriginal descent. Eighty-four percent (84%) of participant kinship carers who completed the training and a three-month follow up survey reported that they were experiencing improved relationships with the children in their care, eighty-nine percent (89%) reported that they felt more confident in the role, ninety-eight percent (98%) reported that they had learnt strategies that had helped them in the kinship role, and one-hundred percent (100%) reported that they had received helpful information. Session by session evaluations showed that more than 98% of participant kinship carers indicated that the training was informative, practical and useful, that they were satisfied with the training, and that they would recommend it to other kinship carers. Analysis of pre-post questionnaires for the first twelve implementation groups identified that kinship carers were more than twice as likely to refer to behaviour being an expression of needs, as opposed to naughtiness, after four training sessions.

References:

Pearce, C.M. (2016) A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder (Second Edition).London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Pearce, C & Gibson, J (2016), A Preliminary Evaluation of the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, Foster, 2, 95-104

Pearce, C.M. (2011). A Short Introduction to Promoting Resilience in Children. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Pearce, C.M. (2010). An Integration of Theory, Science and Reflective Clinical Practice in the Care and Management of Attachment-Disordered Children – A Triple A Approach. Educational   and Child Psychology (Special Issue on Attachment), 27 (3): 73-86