3 days (2+1 day)

About this course

We have developed a new approach to working with children and young people in foster care (called MBT-Fostering), to try and support their emotional wellbeing more effectively. MBT-Fostering aims to promote the quality of relationships, support effective and sensitive foster care, and help carers to help the child in their care understand and manage emotions better. The focus is on improving the core components of secure attachment, including collaboration, and parental (or carer) reflective capacity. The MBT-Fostering approach pays particular attention to developing reflective practice for all professionals working with LAC.

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This course is designed specifically for fostering social workers working in Local Authority services for looked after children and social workers in fostering agencies. The course introduces social workers to a model for working with foster parents using mentalization. The emphasis is on helping social workers support foster carers to mentalize the children they are caring for. 

There will be a theoretical and research background to the issues facing children in care who have experienced trauma and neglect followed by a focus on how the principles of mentalization can be applied, and adapted to this group of children with particular difficulties in emotion regulation and perspective-taking. Strategies will be practiced, which can help unstick conversations with foster carers and help them become more mentalized. 

The course introducing specific parenting techniques associated with a mentalizing stance, to enhance foster parents’ confidence as well as to bring a reduction in difficult and aggressive behaviours. Fostering social workers will be asked to practise techniques in small groups. 

The third day of training in May will focus on a discussion of reflective practise and how social workers have applied the principles taught in the course to their practise with parents, children and young people. The discussion will focus on finding out what were the more helpful elements of MBT. 

 Who is this course suitable for? 

The course is suitable for fostering social workers in Local Authorities or Fostering Agencies. It would work particularly well where managers want to train up a whole team in a mentalizing approach. Local Authority Looked After Children Services may wish to initiate participation in the training for groups of foster parents following care proceedings.

 Aims of the course?  

  • To introduce a mentalizing stance to fostering social workers and those working with LAC in order to help stabilize placements and help manage the emotional and behavioural difficulties of children in care.
  • To help fostering social workers in their observations of the parent-child/young person relationship and to identify where there is a break down in mentalizing and how this impacts on the emotional well being and behavior of the young person.
  • To allow teams to bring clinical case material after they have applied the principles of MBT and discuss how the model was helpful.


For further information about this training in Cork and in order to book please contact Nicola O'Sullivan,

Training fee: 850 euro or 750 euro if booked by 30th June.