Why Attachment Matters when Accommodated Away from Home or Away from your Family - Joe Nee


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Joe Nee, Independent Consultant Psychologist.
Joe has worked with children for 40 years in a variety of roles. He worked with Strathclyde from its beginning to its end, since 1997 he has offered a service as a consultant and trainer to local authorities, voluntary organisations, courts, the private sector and the police in Britain and Ireland. The majority of Joe's work is with young people who are accommodated in residential or foster care. A growing part of Joe's work is court-related centring around family contact and custody needs.
Why Attachment Matters, SIRCC seminar, Friday 11th September 2009, Glasgow Marriott Hotel.

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Why Attachment Matters when Accommodated Away from Home or Away from your Family - Joe Nee

  1. 1. <ul><li> SIRCC </li></ul><ul><li>WHY ATTACHMENT MATTERS </li></ul><ul><li>When Accommodated, away from </li></ul><ul><li>home or away from family </li></ul><ul><li>The Glasgow Marriot Hotel </li></ul><ul><li>Friday 11 th September 2009 </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  2. 2. Attachment Matters <ul><li>TO EVERY HUMAN BEING </li></ul><ul><li>WHEN: </li></ul><ul><li>AWAY FROM HOME </li></ul><ul><li>AT HOME </li></ul><ul><li>WITH FAMILY </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>AWAY FROM FAMILY </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  3. 3. Square 1- To Survive/Thrive We Know <ul><li>Families need support </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes children need removed </li></ul><ul><li>Traditionally alternatives were ; residential, fostering, adoption </li></ul><ul><li>Carers need – understanding, skills, training and SUPPORT </li></ul><ul><li>The 4 R’s are vital </li></ul>
  4. 4. Looked after children in Scotland <ul><li>13,000 children young looked after </li></ul><ul><li>1% of children in Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>55% boys </li></ul><ul><li>13% residential care settings </li></ul><ul><li>Estimates - between 20% and 50% young homeless have been in care </li></ul><ul><li>75% leave school with no qualifications </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  5. 5. Needs <ul><li>Many children and young people who enter care “ will display various behavioural and emotional problems as a consequence of previous traumatic experiences that may include sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect and family breakdown (Macmillan and Munn 2001) </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  6. 6. ATTACHMENT <ul><li>Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Attunement </li></ul><ul><li>Anxiety-Proximity-Security </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Physical availability </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological availability </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  7. 7. Key Concepts-Purchasers and Providers and their Supports <ul><li>Professional Development </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding attachment/trauma issues for children and young people </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding the stress/coping strategies of the above children </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the stress and coping strategies of all carers </li></ul><ul><li>Help children and young people to learn to adapt to new situations through stress reduction </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  8. 8. KEY CONCEPTS (continued) <ul><li>Provision for the particular care needs of children and young people with attachment/trauma issues </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment of these care needs </li></ul><ul><li>Planning realistic provision </li></ul><ul><li>Providing appropriate options </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  9. 9. Historically The Residential Setting: <ul><li>Is a group living experience </li></ul><ul><li>Is complex </li></ul><ul><li>Is socially demanding </li></ul><ul><li>Is stressful </li></ul><ul><li>Is under resourced </li></ul><ul><li>Is not designed to cater for emotional toddlers </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  10. 10. Attachment Informed Provision <ul><li>Attachment offers a framework which can help young people make sense of their negative experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Schofield argues that there is a “conceptual overlap” between resilience and attachment theory, thus building for the future (Howe, 1995;Schofield, 2001) </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  11. 11. The Good Bits <ul><li>For many young people the care experience has helped them to compensate for their early experiences </li></ul><ul><li>For them there was a degree of stability and security in the care experience </li></ul><ul><li>By chance, some attachment to one or more of their carers may have occurred </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  12. 12. Good Bits (continued) <ul><li>They were removed from a damaging family situation </li></ul><ul><li>They were provided with relationships, opportunities, options, education, transitions. </li></ul><ul><li>They were provided with the opportunity to accumulate resilience promoting factors( Numan and Blackburn, 2002) </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  13. 13. Not so good bits <ul><li>“However, for too many young people, their experience of care, far from helping them overcome the damaging emotional legacy of family problems, had rendered them unable to form the very relationships they needed so much (Stein and Carey, 1986; Downes 1992)” in Stein, 2005. </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  14. 14. Changing Lives (2006) <ul><li>Asked for a positive, research informed approach </li></ul><ul><li>Recognised the need for a therapeutic approach </li></ul><ul><li>Asked for Quality Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Recognised that everyone is different </li></ul><ul><li>Recognised that most carers do their best but need training, supervision, help and support </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  16. 16. The Care Experience QUESTIONS <ul><li>Do the children or young people that you look after and have attachment issues and experience life in an environment that; </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  17. 17. The care experience (continued) <ul><li>Considers negative behaviour to be the outcome of unmet needs </li></ul><ul><li>Considers that the solutions lie in developing relationships with significant others </li></ul><ul><li>Helps them in the process of resolving their fear of making and breaking contact, loving and being loved </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  18. 18. The care experience (continued) <ul><li>Has attachment, relationships and resilience at it’s core </li></ul><ul><li>Considers each child to be unique (genetics, parenting and early care experience) </li></ul><ul><li>Strives to be an emotionally regulated, stable and secure environment </li></ul><ul><li>Has emotionally regulated staff </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  19. 19. Staff Aims <ul><li>Constant proximity </li></ul><ul><li>Fully accept child regardless of behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Understand that challenging behaviour is underpinned by distress </li></ul><ul><li>Be available, emotionally, psychologically and physically </li></ul><ul><li>Be nurturing and playful </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  20. 20. Staff Aims (continued) <ul><li>Be empathetic and curious about a child’s understanding of their world </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with the present </li></ul><ul><li>Not seek to fix or rescue </li></ul><ul><li>Share joy and pride in child’s successes </li></ul><ul><li>Work at a relational depth which can be emotionally and physically challenging </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  21. 21. The four step plan - Kate Cairns <ul><li>Commitment-”level three learning” (Gregory Bateson 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Personal support through developing close, confiding intimate relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Professional supervision </li></ul><ul><li>Work together on all levels (2002) </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  22. 22. THE SCOTTISH SCENE <ul><li>Alan Sinclair-The work Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Harry Burns-Chief Medical Officer </li></ul><ul><li>John Carnochan- Violence Reduction </li></ul><ul><li>Bill Marshall- Offending/Prisons </li></ul><ul><li>SIRCC-Accommodated Young People </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Attachment in Action </li></ul>
  23. 23. Working together <ul><li>Providers, Purchasers, Carers, Families, Managers, Planners </li></ul><ul><li>Social Workers, Teachers, Doctors, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Therapists in all forms </li></ul><ul><li>National Government </li></ul><ul><li>Local Government </li></ul>Joe Nee September 2009
  24. 24. Square 1- ConsiderEffectiveCare POSITIVE FUTURES <ul><li>Understand the link between relationships, attachment, trauma and resilience </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect-Rethink-Repair-Reinforce </li></ul><ul><li>The younger the child the better </li></ul><ul><li>SUPPORT carers more effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviour is communication </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging behaviour is stress related </li></ul><ul><li>4 R’s – Remember Relationships Rule </li></ul>