The Reflective Fostering Programme (RFP)

  • Summary

    The Reflective Fostering Programme (RFP) is a new group-based programme aiming to support foster carers. The RFP will be offered to foster carers of children aged 4-11 and has been designed to support carers who are experiencing some difficulties or challenges. The programme will consist of ten sessions of three hours’ duration each over a period of 4-6 months, delivered by two facilitators to a group of 8-10 foster carers simultaneously. Throughout the programme, psycho-educational discussions, games, exercises and work sheets are used to support and enhance RF of foster carers, in order to help them build more supportive relationships with the children in their care.

    This innovative development follows calls by NICE and other organisations to help improve outcomes for children in care, many of whom have experienced early maltreatment and trauma, by providing better support to their carers. RFP is based on evidence from the field of attachment, which indicates that children who have a parent high in reflective functioning (RF), i.e. with the ability to reflect and be curious about their own minds and those of the children in their care, have more favourable outcomes in terms of emotional well-being.

    The RFP has been developed between the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) and the NSPCC. The pilot study will take place in partnership with NSPCC services in Gillingham and Sheffield. The Local Authorities attached to each site will make referrals to the programme. The proposal is for there to be two RFP groups per site, with each group led by two NSPCC staff trained as facilitators.

  • Project team



    Principal Investigators:

    Sheila Redfern (clinical), Sally Wood (clinical), Nick Midgley (research)

    Research project team: 

    Antonella Cirasola

    Chloe Austerberry