Staff training must improve to help traumatised children

  • Date

    Mon 17 Apr 23

Dr Chris Nicholson

A “woeful lack of effective training” for professionals working in social care services has led to poorer outcomes for traumatised children, says Dr Chris Nicholson from the University of Essex.

Dr Nicholson will present his response to the Government’s proposed strategy for Children’s Social Care Services at an event at the House of Lords on Friday 21 April organised by the Institute of Recovery from Childhood Trauma.

He will set out the difficulties faced by children and workers in children’s homes and describe the components of an ecological, therapeutic model designed to accommodate the traumatic experiences which children bring with them into care.

He will also look at how to recruit and retain people who can do this difficult task and establish a self-regulating approach to service standards and enhancement.

His presentation: ‘Rupture, Repetition & Repair: Reimagining Residential Children’s Services’ will focus on the need for the Government’s recent Social Care Reform Strategy 2023: 'Stable Safe Homes Built on Love' to address the trauma experienced by looked-after children.

Dr Nicholson, from the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, said: “Much of my work, teaching at Essex, consultation to children’s services, and in my voluntary role as Chair of the Consortium of Therapeutic Communities, has been about improving the standard and quality of services offered to children who live in care as a result of adversity and abuse.

“This problem centres on a poor understanding of what constitutes an effective therapeutic model in the sector, and the woeful lack of effective training for the staff undertaking this immensely challenging work, an issue that our degree courses at Essex work hard to address.”

A spokesperson from the Institute for Recovery from Childhood Trauma, said: "We believe that the proper recognition of the role of trauma in the lives of children in care is essential to provide better outcomes for them.

“Children and young people can recover from trauma through relationships with trusted adults who are trained, supported and willing and able to hold the child in mind. All services should be “trauma informed”.”

For more information on the event and the IRCT follow this link.