Building better bonds 1
Supporting secure attachments in adoption, foster care and special guardianships
A national therapeutic service offering specialist support to foster and kinship carers, adoptive parents and special guardians and their children between 0-6 years.
Early attachment relationships have a powerful impact on children’s development and disruptions in care, such as a change in caregivers, can be challenging for children. Research shows that early intervention can support both children and parents and carers and support children’s later development and wellbeing.
We are delivering a therapeutic service based at the Anna Freud Centre, supporting parents, carers and special guardians using an intervention with a strong evidence-base: the Video-feedback Intervention to promote Positive Parenting and Sensitive Discipline (VIPP-SD). The VIPP-SD programme supports relationships between parents and carers and their children, helping the development of secure attachments by increasing parents’ and carers' sensitive responding and improving the parent’s or carers' attunement to the child. For these reasons, parents and carers who are caring for children who have had a difficult start in life can particularly benefit from this intervention.
Who we help
Our Building Better Bonds service is particularly suitable for young children who have had a difficult start in life, to prevent the emergence of more serious difficulties.
We support foster and kinship carers, adoptive parents and special guardians where:
The child is aged between 0-6 years
The parent or carer and child live anywhere in the UK
The child is living with the parent or carer
The child has been living with them parent or carer for any amount of time
The person(s) with parental responsibility is aware of and agrees to the referral
How we help
Building Better Bonds aims to support relationships between parents and carers and their children, and help parents and carers to reflect on and develop their understanding of their child’s needs.
We offer an evidence-based therapeutic programme based on attachment theory, delivered over the course of 12 weeks. Using video-feedback, this aims to promote healthy attachments between children and their carers and sensitive ways of managing challenging behaviour. From the perspective of parents or carers, this programme can equip them with skills to recognise their child’s attachment needs, deal with difficult behaviour, feel closer to their child and increase their confidence in caring for their child.
This programme will be delivered by trained VIPP therapists on a weekly basis, typically online. We can be flexible in scheduling our sessions to accommodate the family’s availability.
Feedback from parents and carers
What have previous parents that we have worked with say?
‘It was good to know…that the things I’m doing are correct, it’s nice to be reassured that you’re doing the right things’
‘I watched myself do that and I said….‘wow, I didn’t know I could do that!’
‘There were things that were pointed out to me that I would never, ever have noticed’.
‘It is quite interesting when you watch back, what you can see that you ordinarily wouldn’t . . . things that you wouldn’t normally see on a day-to-day basis…you don’t see the expression on his face, you don’t see the little touches that he does or, you know, the extended arm because he wants to have a cuddle, you don’t see that ordinarily. Sometimes you could miss those things’.
‘I didn’t realise I had that effect on her really. It was really lovely to see that she’s made good secure attachment’.
‘It’s definitely helped me to look at how I manage [my child], and how we’ve grown to love each other and have a really good connection, and, as I said, I didn’t see that…until I saw the videos, so it was worth it for that’
‘You know when you sit and see her playing with me, it’s almost like I’m her mum and that she has built such a good relationship and you sort of kind of know it but you don’t really, until you see it . . . but looking back on the videos, every time I thought ‘oh god, she really does like love me’ and I can see that and she loves everything that I do with her …she loves me interacting with her and I didn’t realise how much until [I] saw the videos’.
‘When you come down to watching these videos back…it all clicks into place…you are physically there and you can see it’s relevant to you, it’s you and your child working together with somebody from the outside and they can pick things up where you can’t.’
‘It was really interesting…I could relate it to children I had in the past and then I can use everything I’ve learnt for any potential children I get in the future . . . . I can use everything I have learnt for any future placements that we do have difficulties with’
How much does it cost?
Adoptive parents and special guardians are eligible to access the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) to cover the costs of this intervention. Once a referral is accepted, a costing will be provided to enable the child’s Local Authority Social Worker to apply for ASF funding. Sessions begin once funding has been agreed. We can support parents and professionals with this process. If you would like to find out more about the ASF, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/adoption-support-fund-asf
If you are a foster carer and would like us to discuss funding options with your social worker or agency, please contact us.
If you are a professional working with families and would like to discuss funding options, please contact us.
Meet the team
Our team specialises in delivering video-feedback interventions with children aged six and under, and their families. Our therapists have substantial experience working with adopted and looked after children and children with attachment difficulties.
The following team members work as part of the service:
Paula Oliveira – Senior Research Fellow Eloise Stevens – VIPP Therapist and Trainer Lydia Barge – VIPP Therapist and Evaluation Officer
To make a referral please click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries. (Read the Build better bonds privacy notice).