Solihull Approach Training

Date: 19th March 2017Author: Categories: Events, Services

The Solihull Approach course is delivered three times a year by social worker Sarah Passmore and social worker Mel McGrath. It is for foster carers to help understand their child’s behaviour and to support and strengthen their relationship with one another.

Please Contact your Supervising Social Worker or Sarah Passmore at FPS for more information or to put your name down on the waiting list for the next available space.

The course runs for two and a half hours per week over twelve weeks and is at present only accessible to mainstream carers. There is a weekly ‘home activity’ to do, which is for your own personal use, it’s not seen by anyone but we do hope you will share your experiences. It will help you get as much out of the course as possible. Each session looks at different topics –

  • brain development in babies, children and teenagers and how the impact of early years can influence emotional and social development.
  • How foster carers can better understand foster children’s feelings and behaviours to improve their relationships thus giving placement stability.
  • How we communicate with one another and its effect upon our relationships and responses.
  • Attachment and how important it is.
  • Behaviour and understanding the reasons behind them.
  • Parenting styles
  • The importance of spending time together.
  • The importance of sleep
  • Regulating emotions.
  • Why relationships break down and how to repair them

Previous attendees have made these comments –

 ‘My children are unique and the course should continue’

‘I really enjoyed this 12-week course. Every one has been really nice and explained everything very clearly. Thank you for doing this Solihull Approach – I would do it again and again.’

‘You never stop learning. No one is perfect and do not feel guilty if we get it wrong.’

‘We have learnt a lot attending this course and it has been a pleasure to have been taught such useful information. We believe that even though we have not had to implement some of the topics spoken, we believe listening to others experience has set us up ready for things that may happen in the future. We believe that all we have learnt will help us bring up out foster children to the best of our abilities — happy, safe and loved.’


‘Understanding your foster child’s behaviour’

12-week course for foster carers

Aims of the course

The foster carers’ course aims to:

  • develop foster carers’ understanding of children in care, their behaviour, their experiences and

developmental issues

  • increase the carer’s confidence in observing and understanding their foster child’s communication,

relationships and behaviour  promote reflective, sensitive and effective foster caring  promote the foster carer’s awareness of the importance of reciprocity in relationships

  • help carers understand the importance of rupture and repair to enhance the foster carer’s skills and

promote the resilience of foster children  promote understanding of the impact of early experience on how the foster child relates  develop a framework of thinking to enable problem solving   promote the development of reciprocity within the fostering relationship  promote effective use of behaviour management


Session 1 – Introduction to the Solihull Approach

To set the scene for the course by giving everyone a chance to get to know each other, to gain a sense of the experience of being a foster carer, to set the tone for future sessions and to begin to experience the safety of a ‘contained’ group.


Session 2 – Brain development

To introduce participants to issues about brain development in babies, children and teenagers. To introduce them to the impact of trauma on brain development, to the impact of brain development on foster children’s behaviour, and how it can influence development and self-regulation.

Session 3 – Containment

To introduce the concept of containment and how foster carers can better understand foster children’s feelings and behaviour. To understand how an emotionally containing relationship promotes resilience and is a

necessary part of good mental health.


Session 4 – Reciprocity

To introduce the concept of reciprocity in relation to the Solihull Approach model and how reciprocity is a basic building block of the quality of attachment. To explore the Dance of Reciprocity as the basis for healthy relationships and to understand the importance of rupture and repair. To introduce the idea that foster children may have experienced more rupture than repair and the implications of this.


Session 5 – Attachment

To introduce the concept of attachment within foster caring and why this is important as to how the foster child relates to others.


Session 6 – Understanding your child’s behaviour

To help foster carers apply their understanding of containment, reciprocity, and attachment to their foster child’s emotional development and behaviour.


Session 7 – Different styles of parenting

To explore the different ways that people have experienced being parented and how this has affected their own behaviour as foster carers. This session is underpinned by containment, reciprocity and behaviour management as it looks at the many different ways foster carers bring up their foster children. This session often provokes strong emotional content so facilitators need to be aware of this and promote good time keeping as one way of helping everyone remain comfortable.


Session 8 – Spending time together

To focus on the need for foster carers and foster children of all ages to have fun together and to be aware of how this feels, for both carer and child. Play is a complicated issue because it provides so many different functions in a child’s life. As well as the stimulation of physical and cognitive development, play helps foster children learn about relationships. How a carer and child play together is crucial to the child’s developing

Please Contact your Supervising Social Worker or Sarah Passmore at FPS for more information or to put your name down on the waiting list for the next available space.

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Walsall Foster Carers Association committee are now working from home but we are taking calls on our 24 hours phone line. 01922 698127 or email Keep safe, Walsall Foster Carers Committee