What is Theraplay® and how does it help children with attachment difficulties to connect with their parents and carers?

TheraplayVivien Norris and Helen Rodwell discuss what Theraplay is, how it works and why it is such an easy yet powerful tool for helping children with attachment difficulties to emotionally connect with their parents and carers. This extract is taken from their new book, Parenting with Theraplay®, and is preceded by a foreword from Dafna Lender, Programme Director of The Theraplay® Institute. Their book is a simple guide for parents which explains everything you need to know about Theraplay, with practical tips to apply it to everyday family life.

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Help children to understand the diversity of different families with this delightful rhyming story

diversityHelp children to understand  the diversity of different families with this illustrated rhyming story by Shanni Collins.  The rhyme is taken from her new book, All You Need is Love, which celebrates families of all shapes and sizes and encourages inclusion and acceptance in a child’s relationships. Each page is dedicated to a different family, with stories exploring sexuality, adoption, fostering, disability, race, gender diversity and illness.

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Recommended reading for new and prospective foster carers

recommended reading foster carersAn extract from Welcome to Fostering, for foster agencies considering books for their recommended reading lists for new and prospective foster carers.

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If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, or have recently become one, this book is the one companion you’ll need to understand the experience of fostering. Edited by Andy Elvin, CEO of the UK’s largest adoption and fostering charity TACT, and Martin Barrow, former news editor at The Times and a veteran foster carer himself, the book demystifies the process of fostering by combining invaluable advice from long-term foster carers, the expertise of the professionals who support them, and priceless experiences of foster children themselves; it answers all the questions you’ve had about how to become a foster carer, what the challenges and highlights are, and what it takes to thrive as one.
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The demand for new foster carers has never been greater

Foster carers

Andy Elvin, CEO of the UK’s largest adoption and fostering charity TACT, describes the immense contribution that foster carers make on a daily basis to the lives of vulnerable children, but explains how the demand for new foster carers has never been greater.

Monday 8th May saw the launch of Welcome to Fostering, a new JKP book co-edited by myself Andy Elvin, CEO of the UK’s largest Adoption and Fostering charity TACT, and Martin Barrow, former news editor at The Times and a veteran foster carer.  The purpose of the book is to explain how to become a foster carer, and what the experience of fostering is actually like, in the hope that more people take up the mantle. It is packed with case studies from actual foster carers detailing their experiences: their first placements, the challenges they have faced along the way and what it is has meant to them to be making a difference, day in day out, to the lives of these children who depend on them. It also includes case studies and quotes from children in foster care themselves. Continue reading

Read the poem about a foster family that won the National Poetry Slam

Unorthodox Beginnings is an uplifting poem by rapper-poet Solomon OB about his foster family. In 2016, his performance of the poem at the Royal Albert Hall won him the title of National Poetry Slam Champion.  The poem also features in Welcome to Fostering: A Guide to Becoming and Being a Foster Carer.

She graces stages

West End bound, best friend found in a sibling who

chauffeured her halfway to crazy when we were younger

My sister

 

She called me baby

As soon as I arrived through those airport doors, she

came charging, screaming, she hugged me with a force

you would expect from a lady who had not seen me

since 10 years before

My mother Continue reading

What is it like from a birth parent’s perspective to have your children living in foster care?

Foster care birth parentsIn this extract from Welcome to Fostering, Annie describes what it is like from a birth parent’s perspective to have your children living with foster carers, and provides some useful advice for foster carers on how to manage a good relationship with birth parents. She is the writer of her own blog, Surviving Safeguarding, which tells the story of her ongoing journey to win her children back into her custody. She believes that ‘Fostering is truly a wonderful thing’.

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When did it all go wrong between social work and the media?

To mark JKP’s 30th anniversary year, Martin Barrow discusses the relationship between social work and the media, and the negative impact it has on society’s views of social workers. Martin (@martinbarrow) is a foster carer and writer for The Huffington Post having previously worked as editor for The Times back in 2008. He writes about social work, mental health and child welfare. He is also an editor of the upcoming title Welcome to Fostering, publishing in May. 

When did it all go wrong between social workers and the media? You can do worse than to look back to 1987, exactly 30 years ago, to the Cleveland child abuse scandal. This was a profoundly disturbing case in which dozens of children were removed from their families on the basis of diagnoses given by two paediatricians. In the face of a public outcry the doctors were challenged and, eventually, many of the children were allowed to return home. By then, an entire community was traumatised and social workers, as well as paediatricians, had become demonised.

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How to compile a life story book for an adopted or fostered child

life story booksJoy Rees, author of Life Story Books for Adopted and Fostered Children, gives her advice on how best to compile a life story book for an adopted or fostered child.  Working chronologically backwards rather than forwards, she explains how such a format reinforces the child’s sense of security and promotes attachment.

A Life Story Book tells the story of the child’s life and is often described as an ‘essential tool’ to help the child gain a sense of identity and an understanding of his or her history. This was the emphasis when I wrote the first edition of this book, Life Story Books for Adopted Children, – A Family Friendly Approach, some 10 years ago.

This approach evolved from my work with adoptive families, and from a growing awareness that most of the books I read at that time were simply not ‘fit for purpose’. The language used and the details given about the birth parents’ history was generally not appropriate or helpful. The books were just not child friendly. At best many of them were complex and confusing and it was difficult to follow the child’s story in them. At worse, some books inadvertently fed into the child’s sense of self-blame and shame about their early experiences. Others risked adversely affecting placement stability by impeding the vital claiming and belonging stages of the attachment process. Continue reading

How Star Wars can help you talk to your child about adoption

Read an exclusive extract from Adoption at the Movies

In his new book Adoption at the Movies, based on the popular blog by the same name, Addison Cooper reveals how movies your kids love, like Star Wars, can get the whole family talking about adoption in a fun and safe way.

With a film for each week of the year, Addison Cooper has compiled the best movies, new and old, for family-friendly viewing. Among those featured are Finding Dory, Frozen, Paddington, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kung Fu Panda, Divergent, The Blind Side and I am Sam. Carefully selected, the movies included will help families to comfortably talk about important adoption-related topics. Films are sorted by age range and topic, so it’s easy to find the perfect movie for your family. Cooper summarizes the plot, the adoption connection, difficult or scary scenes, and provides discussion questions for each movie. Helping all members of the family to explore both the pain and joy of adoption, the book covers a range of issues which can arise, such as culture, identity, control, and reunification. With something for everyone—from kids, to teens, to grown-ups—this is a must-have for all adoptive families.

Chapter 7: Thirteen Movies to Watch with Your Teens

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The Phantom Menace introduces Anakin Skywalker as a nine-year-old boy who leaves a difficult life for the potential of a better life far from where he was born. The Star Wars series follows Anakin’s story and the stories of his children. On its own, this movie is a story about Anakin leaving one family and acclimating to another sort of family, but it is best viewed as the first of six movies that together tell a story of loss, identity formation, and multiple instances of family reunification. There are many adoption themes throughout the series to explore with your kids. This film, and most of the series in general, seems best suited to kids of ages 10 and up and their parents.”

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What is attachment and attachment disorder?

Attachment disorderClinical psychologist Colby Pearce provides a concise and easy to understand introduction to what ‘attachment’ means, how to recognise attachment disorders and how to help children who have an attachment disorder. This extract is taken from his new book A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder, Second Edition which offers a comprehensive set of tried-and-tested practical strategies that can be used in the home, school and consulting room with children affected by an attachment disorder. Colby is also the author of A Short Introduction to Promoting Resilience in Children.

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