Attachment for foster care and adoption training programme cover

Attachment for foster care and adoption


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Attachment is at the heart of family life and at the heart of foster care and adoption. Attachment theory and research provide a vital developmental framework for making sense of the behaviour and relationship strengths and difficulties that children bring from their complex backgrounds. It also offers a most valuable resource for understanding the kind of caregiving in foster care and adoptive families that can enable children to feel more trusting, confident, competent and secure.

This training programme will provide workers and carers with a framework both for understanding the thinking and behaviour of the children in their care and for helping children to settle and flourish in their family placements. It accompanies the handbook and DVD of the same name. 

The emphasis throughout is on the positive impact that foster and adoptive parenting can have on even the most troubled children, and on the moment-by-moment interactions of daily family life as a vehicle through which children can be moved towards security.

Who is this training programme for?

This programme is intended for use with foster carers and adopters, and for professionals working alongside them. It will help caregivers to understand attachment and apply this to understanding children’s behaviours and their own parenting styles, as well as to think about ways of further developing their skills and capacities.

What you will find in this training programme

The manual begins with a module explaining core attachment concepts and then provides five further modules, each focusing on different dimensions of parenting and their developmental benefits for children:

  • Being available: helping children to trust
  • Responding sensitively: helping children to manage feelings and behaviour
  • Accepting the child: building self-esteem
  • Co-operative caregiving: helping children to feel effective
  • Promoting family membership: helping children to belong

Modules within the training programme can also be used separately and flexibly, for discussion with support groups of adoptive parents and foster carers, or to support teaching on child development for qualifying and post-qualifying social workers.

The accompanying CD-ROM contains handouts and background information which may be presented as a PowerPoint presentation or through overhead projection slides.


Mary Beek has had a long and varied career in fostering and adoption practice for Norfolk County Council, and research and publication in the Centre for Research on Children and Families.

Gillian Schofield is Head of the School of Social Work and Professor of Child and Family Social Work at the University of East Anglia (UEA). An experienced social worker, she has a special interest in attachment theory and child placement and has researched and published widely in this field.