With over 500 children under the age of 11 experiencing five or more placements in Scotland, a new comprehensive foster care service has provided a stable home for five young people who have previously struggled with placement breakdowns.

Kibble’s Shared Living Foster Care aims to reduce the number of traumatised children living in residential care in Scotland who have experienced multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as sexual, emotional and physical abuse and exposure to drug use.

The results were shared at a dissemination event for a research partnership between Kibble and the University of Strathclyde (UoS), which suggested a need for services in the ‘space’ between foster care and residential care, with the number of ACEs, dysregulated behaviour and the presence of sexual and physical abuse all to be considered in depth by local authorities when reviewing placement options for young people.

Attendees at the event, chaired by Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland, were given a glimpse into life in a Shared Living placement while hearing more about trauma informed care with speakers from Kibble, The Fostering Network, Quarriers, Stand up for Siblings and UoS.

The partnership between Kibble and UoS received £150k worth of funding from the Scottish Government’s Social Innovation Fund last year, to develop an easy to use toolkit which allows children’s panels to review a young person’s experiences of trauma and match their needs with a service.

In most cases a child will be cared for in either foster or residential care, however for those who have experienced severe trauma from early years the shift patterns of staff and the mix of other children in residential will not be the best suit for the child, while dysregulated behaviour will mean they cannot maintain a foster placement.

Shared Living has been developed as a direct response to this, creating a hybrid between residential and foster care to provide an extra layer of support for a foster family. External staff will come into the home at a certain time that is difficult for that child, for example getting ready for school, having a bath or getting ready for bed, while the initiative also aims to keep siblings that have experienced trauma within the one home.

Current Shared Living placements have been supported in a trauma informed way, with all staff and foster carers receiving training and individual therapeutic support.

Neil McMillan at Kibble, said: “Multiple placement breakdowns add further trauma to a young person’s life, while they can also often have detrimental effects on foster carers deciding they are not suited to the job at a time when there is a UK-wide call for hundreds more foster care families.

“We’re thrilled that five of our young people have found stability in a safe and appropriate home as we work towards preventing placement breakdowns while addressing past trauma.
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Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner, said: “All children have the right to grow up in a family environment of happiness, love and understanding but when that is not possible, the Government has a duty to provide children with special protection and assistance.

“Alternative care for children must be human rights based and this conference is a key way in which practitioners and children with care experience can work together to consider developments and practice.”

Children’s charity Kibble is calling for people across East Renfrewshire to consider a rewarding role as a foster carer.