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Fostering conference raises awareness of therapeutic approaches for children from traumatic backgrounds


Fostering conference raises awareness of therapeutic approaches for children from traumatic backgrounds

  • Over 70 local people attend therapeutic fostering conference in Snodland, Kent

With foster family applications at their lowest level in four years, a Kent-based therapeutic fostering service has been buoyed by the response to its recent conference ahead of Foster Care Fortnight (13th-26th May).

Last year, the county was one of many to participate in the nationwide emergency call-out for foster carers as foster family recruitment and retention numbers fell drastically.

According to government statistics, the number of foster parent applications in England in 2022-23 was the lowest in several years and 18% lower than the previous few years.

In four out of five of those years, there has been a year-on-year decrease in the number of applications as well as deregistrations. In 2023, the number of leavers exceeded the number of joiners.

Amongst this backdrop, Snodland-based fostering service, Flourish Fostering held a free conference to raise awareness about the benefits of therapeutic fostering for children and young people from difficult backgrounds, which was attended by around 70 people from the local and surrounding areas. 

Mica Douglas, clinical director at Flourish Fostering, who also spoke at the conference, said: “We are all too aware of the current landscape within fostering and the need for more foster parents so it was incredible to see so many people show up and be interested in our approach to therapeutic foster care.

“Therapeutic fostering helps build a relationship between foster parents and children based on understanding and trust.

“We really hope that everyone who attended our event has benefited from it in some way and we hope more people in our community will come forward to give vulnerable children and young people a safe and happy home.”

The event, which took place on Friday, 19th April, focused on Flourish’s ‘therapeutic model of fostering’ and attendees benefitted from talks by leading industry experts covering topics such as the power of self-awareness, how to be a therapeutic foster parent and how the use of virtual reality (VR) technology is being used to increase empathy and raise awareness of a young person’s adverse childhood experiences. 

Therapeutic fostering offers a stable environment for a child or young person who has undergone significant neglect or trauma.

Foster parent Emily has been with Flourish for five years and currently fosters two children. Thanks to therapeutic fostering, Emily and her partner understand that children who have been through difficult experiences might act differently - it’s just the way they’re trying to cope with their thoughts and feelings.

She said: “Behaviour is often just communication and therapeutic fostering is understanding that and accepting a child for who they are.”

A therapeutic approach to fostering also helped foster parent Nicola realise that a child’s behaviour “is a symptom, not a cause’.’ 

She said: “You have to be a good listener, that's for sure. You don’t have to know how to help, but you need to be able to listen. Then you can work out what support they need.”

Flourish Fostering is dedicated to providing safe, nurturing homes and therapeutic support for children who need it and is encouraging people in South East England to consider a career in foster care.

Foster Care Fortnight is The Fostering Network's annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and show how foster care transforms lives.

For more information on fostering, or if you feel you could provide a loving home for a child or young person, please visit Flourish Fostering's website at https://flourishfostering.co.uk/contact/.  


Notes to editor

For more information about this press release, please contact Lizzie Grover-Hinds at Conteur via lizzie@conteur.co.uk

Flourish Fostering | https://flourishfostering.co.uk/

Flourish Fostering is a leading independent foster care organisation dedicated to providing safe, nurturing homes and therapeutic support for children who cannot live with their birth families. They specialise in caring for children who have experienced trauma or complex challenges, providing a unique and supportive environment that helps them heal and thrive.


Lizzie Grover-Hinds


Phone: 01905 670881