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Safe Places, Thriving Children Embedding Trauma-Informed Practices into Alternative Care Settings
The purpose of this practice guidance is to improve understanding and practice in relation to working with trauma experienced by children who live in alternative care settings. It primarily focuses on those who care for or work with children directly, but it also speaks to the wider range of professionals e.g. managers, budget holders, policymakers etc., whose roles shape and govern how children experience care in their daily lives.
A previous EU co-financed project led by SOS Children’s Villages International indicated that trauma and the psychosocial and mental health needs of children are not well understood and that there is a need to raise the understanding of trauma for those who work with or care for children in alternative care settings. Experience also indicates that too often good practice only happens because of committed individuals. System change at organizational level, prompted by legislation and guidance from municipal and national authorities, is the best way to ensure that a trauma focus becomes consistently embedded in practice.
The practice guidance has been designed to meet two clear functions: 1. To act as a continuing support and reference document to assist those who care for and work with children who live in alternative care and who have been affected by trauma to recognize and understand trauma and to begin to address its consequences. 2. To form part of a wider learning and change project that aims to prompt change in practice, policy and legislation. As such, it has been designed to be applicable and adaptable to participating countries and to sit alongside the other components of the Safe Places, Thriving Children project.