Looked after children

How we can help

Conatus specialises in providing dedicated clinical psychology services to children who have experienced early adversities including removal from their birth family, abuse and neglect.

We are commissioned by local authorities to undertake this work.  We work with children in residential or foster care placements, those in kinship placements and those who are struggling to manage emotionally and/or behaviourally in their adoptive family. 

Developmentally traumatised children and young people often present with complex and confusing emotional and behavioural difficulties that require in-depth assessment and intervention.

Our psychologists are experienced in conducting specialist assessments, seeking information from across agencies and from multiple sources.  We use structured psychological measures in the areas of emotional, cognitive and behavioural functioning.  This information is interpreted in the context of research into developmentally traumatised children, allowing us to draw up a multi-faceted understanding of each child.

Following the assessment phase, individualised intervention programs are designed for each child and their support network.  We have therapists trained in a range of therapeutic models that focus primarily on the resolution of trauma and attachment difficulties, including therapeutic parenting support, Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy.

We know that for looked after children the experience of therapy can be very challenging.  As such, we prioritise the therapeutic relationship and work closely with families and caregivers, recognising their crucial therapeutic role in the lives of the young people they care for. 

High quality psychological assessment and intervention with these complex problems maximises the possibility of a child recovering from their losses and trauma, thus re-establishing a healthy and positive developmental trajectory. Our support underpins placement stability and promotes positive outcomes.



Support for residential care homes

Most children with a history of developmental trauma are subsequently looked after in foster families or adoptive families until adulthood. However, for a proportion of these children, their needs are such that they are unable to manage the demands of a family living environment and a group living residential children's home is considered.

Placement commissioners are becoming increasingly interested in the capacity of specialist independent residential placements to provide "wraparound" care packages, to incorporate residential, education & therapeutic components. This is particularly so for children & young people presenting with more complex difficulties and where the value of psychological support to care & education staff is crucial in maintaining a quality care experience for the young people in placement.

Conatus has been working on a contract basis with several care providers, for many years, offering a combination of specialist clinical child psychology services including psychological assessment, consultation, training to care staff and direct therapeutic work with young people in placement.  Our clients include both larger organisations with a significant presence in independent residential care provision and smaller providers with one or two therapeutic homes.

The benefits for stakeholders are manifold:
  • Evidence-based interventions
  • Opportunities to evaluate input and placement outcomes
  • Significant added value to the placement package
  • Attractive support package when bidding for placements
  • Fewer placement breakdowns; longer placement length
  • Reduced staff turnover, increased staff morale & satisfaction
  • Access to on-site training
Should you require this bespoke service please call our Admin Team on 01926 678085.

Psychological support to foster placements

There is an increasing need for foster placements to offer a home to children and young people who present with challenging behaviour, difficulties in managing parent-child relationships and who struggle in their day-to-day functioning.

Traumatised children place a unique demand on foster carers in terms of their "relationship illness" and it is well established that foster carers as well as their children benefit greatly from psychological support and interventions.

Conatus provides a range of therapeutic interventions to foster carers.  These are provided via fostering agencies, where we are commissioned to provide training to groups of foster carers (e.g. the well-regarded Foundations for Attachment course) and support/consultancy sessions for carers.  We also provide assessment and therapeutic interventions to foster placements, commissioned on a case-by-case basis.
Our clinical psychologists are trained and experienced in working with developmentally traumatised children.  We carry out complex assessments and undertake individually tailored therapeutic interventions to meet the needs of children and their carers’.
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