CPD session: contact with birth families (alternative)
Notes for the session facilitator
This is one of a series of CPD sessions, helping you and your team to use Community Care Inform resources to keep your knowledge of a particular area up to date or improve practice.You can use these activities either as a small group or, with a larger team, dividing up to have discussions. This session uses video and audio clips from our June 2015 webinar on using a trauma model to assess contact with birth families.
The speaker is Norma Howes, a social worker, psychologist and psychotherapist who trains police, social workers, health and education staff on all aspects of childhood trauma and abuse. The chair is Camilla Pemberton, Community Care’s head of children’s social work content.
Click the button to the right of the HD symbol on each video clip to play them full screen. The clips from the webinar add up to around 20 minutes in total – depending on the number of people and if you want to share ideas from different groups, you could allow one to one and a half hours for the session.
Links to references and further reading, including guides Norma has written for Community Care Inform are provided at the end. You can use the email link to share this page with attendees.
We very much welcome feedback on these sessions and if there are future topics you would like to see, so do let us know.
If you want to view the whole webinar (one hour) you can play it back here. Click the green bar at the top to close this box.
This session explores ways that using an understanding of trauma and its impact on behaviour can inform how you manage contact between children and their birth parents and siblings.
In the first clip, Norma Howes explains the ‘trauma model’ concept:
Answering a question from the webinar audience, Norma gives more detail about what is meant by a ‘trauma bond’ (which she describes as a subcategory of disorganised attachment). Click below to play the audio clip.
2. Trauma and relationships
In this clip, Norma describes a tool that can be used in discussion with young people and also with carers and families:
Click the audio below to hear some questions that practitioners raised. Do you gather and assess this sort of information in relation to contact?
3. Tips for planning and monitoring contact
Watch the next segment which covers questions practitioners should be asking when planning contact:
One of the audience asked about ‘debriefing’ after contact. Click to play the audio clip below. Are there elements of practice you would approach differently after listening to Norma’s response?
Assessing and making decisions about sibling contact can be incredibly complex. Norma describes what some of the behaviour social workers see may be telling us:
After watching this, listen to the audio clip below where a practitioner asks a question about a sibling group where one child does not want to go to contact.
5. Social media and contact
“We need to expect that children are likely to contact birth families online and prepare their carers, their school and talk to the child themselves about the reasons for this and how they are dealing with it.”
Norma Howes has written a number of Community Care Inform Guides on using a trauma model:
- A trauma model for planning, assessing and reviewing contact for looked-after children
- Understanding a child’s neurobiology to assess the impact of contact with birth parents
- Using a trauma model to understand the impact of sexual exploitation on children
- Using the trauma model to understand the impact of domestic abuse: working with the perpetrator, victim and children