Children's Social Care

Nurturing the most vulnerable

KCA works with a range of services within children’s social care (universal and early help), including social work, fostering and adoption, and family support. We aim to support practice by contributing to the development of trauma informed services that support the resilience of both the workforce and the families with whom they work.

'Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.'

Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

The need

We are becoming more and more aware of the many families facing social and economic challenges, with trauma lying at the heart of this for many. Adversity faces many of our children and families increasing their vulnerability. Vulnerable families live day by day with toxic levels of stress; such stress affects how they can think, feel and behave. For a child, separation from their family is a trauma; this is true even when the family has been the source of trauma for the child. So all children in care have experienced trauma, and many have experienced complex trauma that can affect every aspect of their development.

Those who work with vulnerable families live day by day with the impact of toxic stress on these families and are at risk, themselves, of toxic stress and secondary trauma which, in turn, will also impact on the way they think, feel and behave.

Research and theory cannot change the challenging circumstances, but a sound understanding of neuroscience and its implications can provide a secure base for practice.

Children's Social 1

'I found the tutor really engaging and easy to listen to. I really enjoyed this training and will definitely be using what I have learned in my work as a children's social worker.'

Juliet Thomas, Hertfordshire – attended KCA training in November 2020

Our support

When the workforce understands the impact of toxic stress (trauma), they can work reflectively to promote positive dynamics within families, and positive engagement with support being offered. Trauma-informed services model supportive relational approaches throughout the system, and it is these relational approaches, and the science underpinning these, that KCA can support. For foster and adoptive parents, and those who provide residential child care, it is vital to understand the needs of children who have survived such experiences, as well as being able to offer the loving care and attention that all children need to thrive.

KCA works with practitioners to enhance or consolidate their knowledge and confidence of attachment-aware and trauma-informed practice, and facilitates reflective practice. Understanding the neuroscience of human development, and specifically trauma and recovery, can transform practice; understanding the impact of toxic stress on children and families, and the impact of toxic stress and secondary trauma on the workforce is critical for practitioners within the children’s social care sector. KCA works with services to develop a deeper understanding of the protective and compensatory experiences that can buffer toxic stress and promote recovery from trauma, thus building individual and community resilience.

Children's Social 2

'It was great training - really useful and refreshing to have training which we can apply directly to practice rather than just delivering knowledge. Thank you so much Kate!'

Katie Mills, Social Worker, Northumberland County Council – attended KCA training in February 2019

Our training and consultancy, delivered as bespoke co-created learning journeys, offers key knowledge to support practice in the children’s social care, including:

  • Attachment and brain development
  • Mending Hurts; the trauma recovery model
  • Community resilience and connected relationships
  • Creating connections; action plans for supporting vulnerable children
  • Promoting adaptive behaviour; managing transitions
  • The prevention and management of secondary trauma within the workforce

Example Learning Journeys

Once we have a clear understanding of the training needs and the target audience, we will develop a learning journey that offers the best fit in terms of cost, target audience and practice development.