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Archive: Blog

An inside look at The Neurobiology of Attachment-Focused Therapy

Family Futures’ registered manager Alan Burnell offers a taster of Dr Jonathan Baylin and Dr Dan Hughes’ new collaboration – The Neurobiology of Attachment-Focused Therapy

This a seminal piece of writing. Jonathan and Dan do what others haven’t done previously, they focus on the developmental needs of children, and highlight therapeutic approaches that are appropriate to those needs.  Their theoretical framework is based on research in the field of Neuro-biology.

Jonathan and Dan map out the developmental trajectory of traumatised children and how the brain works, and provide evidence of what works to treat mental health issues in children. When Family Futures was first set up, we wanted to develop a needs led approach, using therapeutic interventions to treat stress and trauma. But there was no real evidence out there to support our thinking. Dan and Jonathan help to provide just that with their new book.

I thoroughly recommend that all professionals working with children read this book. This can be used in nurseries and schools and help to influence wider child policy. It really is a psychological phenomena in child development.

Jonathan and Dan will be speaking about the content of their new book at the Family Futures Annual Conference on 17 and 18 October in London. As part of ticket sales, we are working with W.W. Norton and Company Ltd to offer a discount on copies of The Neurobiology of Attachment-Focused Therapy, for professionals working with children.

Simple therapeutic techniques

Strapped for time, space and equipment? Dee Bamford, Senior Practitioner and Integrative Arts Psychotherapist at Family Futures, says there are a range of simple techniques that professionals can use to help unlock a child’s inner world.

Professionals working with adopted or fostered children often feel they don’t have the space, time or equipment to carry out the work that would give them a full understanding of a child’s range of experiences, hopes and dreams.

We know talking to a child may not give the whole picture of what is really going on in their minds, and that much of their experience may be locked in their bodies or extremely hard for them to articulate.

We want to help them manage these feelings and behaviour, to think about and make meaning of their experiences. But when words are not enough, what do we do?

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Managing change – transitioning into school holidays

With school holidays just about to begin, we’ve consulted with our Education Specialist Katrin Harrow to provide you with some useful tips on how to cope with and manage some of the changes your child might be facing right now. We’ll also provide you with some inspiration for fun activities to do together.

Whether it’s dealing with the transition from school to summer holidays, starting school for the first time in September or moving from primary to secondary school, we’ve got some helpful advice and workable solutions for you.

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A Round Up of 2015

As we now enter a new year, it’s always nice to look back and reflect on our achievements and I’m pleased to say that 2015 really has been an eventful year for us at Family Futures.

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De-mystifying the adoption process – stage 1 & 2

First of all, we’d like to congratulate First4Adoption for doing such a wonderful job of raising awareness of the needs of harder to place children during National Adoption Week.

We continue to see a lot of news reports around adoption and TV dramas featuring adoption stories; as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, no matter who you speak to, there always seems to be someone, somewhere who has a story to share on a friend who has adopted or is going through the adoption process, in many cases they cite the process as being stressful, laborious, intrusive and so on. I am sure there are many cases where the experience isn’t as good as it could be, but given the hard work so many of us in the adoption sector put into making it a supportive and empathetic process, I sometimes wonder if some of the negativity you hear is down to the fact that as a nation, we tend to share bad news & experiences more than the good news?!

Either way, we are keen to continue to promote the positive experiences of our adopters and shed some light into why we do certain things as part of the adoption process and why they should be seen as a positive rather than a negative, so in this blog we are going to tackle stage one and two of the adoption process.

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Re-establishing the balance to keep Children’s best interests at the centre of decision-making

There has been a lot of coverage in the media in recent months surrounding Adoption. The Government drive to promote Adoption has been widely publicised, from the provision of funds for the Adoption Support Fund (ASF); the recognition of the need to speed up assessment and matching; to the move to hold local authorities more accountable to improve efficiency and effectiveness. We have welcomed most of these changes and are pleased to see Adoption so high up on the political agenda.

But, at the same time as Adoption professionals, we feel frustrated that there is an obvious mismatch between the Governments’ drive to promote adoption and the judiciary’s stance in appearing to consider adoption as the last option, following the Re B-S case in 2013. In many cases, this viewpoint of the judiciary militates against what is in the child’s best interests – which is fundamentally what we are all trying to protect.

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Making a Difference

At Family Futures we don’t like to rest on our laurels; in fact I think it’s fair to say we just can’t sit still!   We’re always looking to see what we can improve on, in our endeavours to fulfil our promise of genuinely making a difference to the families we come into contact with.

That’s why I am proud to share two very exciting updates this month, the first relates to a research project we’ve commissioned which validates the effectiveness of our multi-disciplinary approach to therapeutic support; the second is that we’ve been awarded a Children in Need grant, to allow us to launch a scheme designed to help adopted or fostered young people aged 16 to 18 years old, to make a successful transition to adulthood.

So, let me tell you more….

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Dispelling Myths around “Harder to Place” Children

Family Futures’ registered manager, Alan Burnell, dispels some of the myths around “harder to place” children

There’s been a lot in the press over the past week due to the governments pledge to invest £30m to speed up finding adoptive parents for children in care in England. The money will be provided to local authorities to cover costs they incur finding families beyond their geographical borders.

Of course we welcome this injection of money and are pleased to see that adoption is receiving public attention that helps break down some of the stigmas surrounding it.   But at the same time, we believe it is important to dispel some of the myths around the topic of adopting older children, who sadly by definition are referred to as “harder to place” and are the unfortunate ones who are likely to wait in care for longer.

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Creating a level playing field for LGBT parents

We recently re-launched our website, with the aim of making it easier for our visitors to find the information they’re looking for and to get a real sense of what Family Futures has to offer. I am also keen to make sure we are providing our insights and thoughts with regard to topical discussions around adoption, so each month I will be posting a blog and give my thoughts on adoption related subjects that are being discussed in social media.

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