The family care -safe basis for the child's development

Three years ago representatives of Latvian Foster Family Association went to Bergen (Norway), to become familiar with Linnea Kompetansesenter professional activity. Our initial information was short and succinct - it is a private organization that provides support to foster families with problematic children.

Since methods used for everyday work with foster families are limited, the opportunity to become acquainted with Norwegian colleagues' experience was certainly seen as binding and valuable.

Three years have passed and we are pleased that we can now jointly carry out the project "The family care - secure basis for child's development", which is financially supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Latvian Foster Family Association together with Linnea Kompetansesenter experts training 10 mentors from various Latvian regions. Passing a training course they will be competent supporters for guardians and foster families.

Why we are interested to introduce in Latvia approach of secure basic and “star model” what are using Norwegian colleagues at their daily work? Too often there are cases where a whole team of professionals’ efforts are unsuccessful and child's situation is becoming increasingly problematic. Approach of secure basic explains why professional efforts affect or adjust the child's behavior does not have any result. Due to lack of even one person in the world to whom a child can safely be trusted.

In fact, the safe basis for exploration of the world is needed throughout all life - it concerns children, young people, adults, parents, and also to the social workers. The dominant type of attachment is formed in the first years of life. That is why infant insertion at institutional care or orphanages is a serious threat to the future development of harmonious personality.

Styles of attachment: 1. Secure attachment; 2. Insecure / avoidant attachment; 3. Insecure / resistant attachment 4. Insecure / disorganized attachment. In case of secure attachment person feels valuable, good, loved, people around are helpful and reliable, world - safe and predictable. If the attachment is insecure, then person feels worthless, evil, bad, others are manipulative, they cannot be trusted, world in general is a dangerous and chaotic. So also professionals willing to help a child is dangerous and cannot believe to them.

Extra-familial care for existing children have practically experienced abuse, neglect, rejection, divorce, loss, fear, and other series of negations. After such an experience is a very high probability that the child has already been formed between insecure attachment pattern. Yes, the feelings may be poor, but it is only what the child knows, so it will use all possible means to call his previous care experience in a new foster family. In such cases neither the agreement, nor penalties, nor rewards are not effective. Primary it is import to promote security and attachment formation.

Linnea Kompetansesenter experts are using "star model" of secure attachment, which contains five key dimensions that contribute to the strengthening child:

1. Availability (promote trust and safety)

2. Responsiveness and sensitization (which help the child learn to regulate and manage both feelings and behavior)

3. The child's acceptance (which help the child to get a positive feeling)

4. The collaborative care (which help the child feel competent)

5. Inclusion in the family (helps to feel belonging to the family).

Foster families and guardians should regularly assess whether the relationships to the adopted child are strengthened by these 5 dimensions. Only when will be satisfied each dimension of child-specific needs and he will be felt secure, you can look forward to significant improvements in problematic behavior.

The training was started in November 2014. Currently, both theoretical training process and support groups are organized to practically apply the acquired techniques. Project and the "star model" the introduction will continue until April 2016. Additional information: 

— January 16, 2015