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Making magical moments for foster families

Making magical moments for foster families

Cecilia Corbetta headshot

Cecilia Corbetta

Head of Parenting – Cecilia is a BACP accredited counsellor, clinical supervisor and parenting coach with over 20 years of experience delivering counselling, therapeutic services and supervision within schools and private practice. She joined Place2Be in 2003 and is incredibly passionate about supporting parents and carers to achieve the best possible outcomes for children.

This Foster Care Fortnight is about celebrating those moments that define fostering journeys for children and their carers. At Place2Be, we've been reflecting on our own journey to support foster carers in Scotland through the delivery of our online Parenting Smart course. The course is designed to give parents and carers extra tools to strengthen their relationship with their children and create more of those special moments.

Place2Be has always worked closely with parents and carers as part of our whole-school approach to mental health. We know that positive parenting can majorly impact children's outcomes. With that in mind, we developed our Parenting Smart online course in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The programme draws on decades of work with children and their families. It's based on tried-and-tested techniques to deal with parenting challenges and build strong connections with children. 

Parenting Smart for foster carers in Scotland

In Scotland, the promise made by decision-makers to improve the lives of care-experienced people (The Promise) called for better support for foster carers. With that in mind, we collaborated with The Fostering Network, the UK's leading fostering charity, to adapt the Parenting Smart programme for foster carers. The programme is delivered with the support of the STV Children's Appeal.

We've been delighted by the response from the foster carers who've taken part so far. Not only has engagement with the course been high, but so has completion. 97% said they'd recommend it to a friend. 

Its strength lies in giving carers practical tools to respond to challenging behaviour. One participant told us:

I have learned so much about how to connect with my child, and the selective ignoring was really good. I'm using a lot of what I've learned every day.

This was borne out by our evaluation, with the number of respondents saying, 'When I give my child instruction, they will usually do as I ask.' increasing from just 42% before the course to 70% after.  

Our trial of Parenting Smart for foster carers has proved it makes a positive difference. But what's next? Firstly, we want to reach more of Scotland's 3,200 foster care households with the programme. We know that the number of foster families is going down. Giving them the best support to build their confidence, resilience, and wellbeing is more important than ever. This support is crucial to enabling more children to be cared for. 

Secondly, we're looking to extend the programme to kinship carers - relatives or close family friends who look after children. Kinship carers often receive less support or training opportunities.  

Parenting children is never without its challenges. But if we can make it easier for parents or carers, their children can experience magical moments that will shape their lives for the better.  

Learn more about our online Parenting Smart Course

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