The secure base model cover

The secure base model


All children need to feel secure in their relationships with the adults who look after them. Where children have not experienced the kind of sensitive parenting that promotes security and resilience, they will find it difficult to trust and will struggle with managing their feelings and behaviour.

The Secure Base model is a popular, widely-used model of caregiving in fostering and adoption that is based on theories of attachment and resilience while also drawing on child placement research. It provides a valuable framework and strengths-based approach for making sense of fostered and adopted children’s needs and behaviours and sets out the dimensions of caregiving that can support children to thrive and to fulfil their potential.

This practical guide to the Secure Base model is designed to support social workers and other professionals involved in all aspects of fostering and adoption practice, from recruitment, assessment and preparation to matching and long-term support for placements through to adulthood.

Listen to our latest author interview

Ellen Broomé welcomed Gillian Schofield and Mary Beek to talk about the new edition of their bestselling publications, The Secure Base Model and Promoting Attachment and Resilience.

Who is this book for?

Social workers and child care professionals wanting to effectively promote attachment and resilience in foster care and adoption.

What you will find in this book

The book addresses a range of key questions, including:

  • What strategies can be used to provide sensitive caregiving that develops secure close relationships?
  • How can children be helped to recover from earlier harmful experiences and feel competent to face future challenges successfully and fulfil their ambitions and potential?
  • What can help children develop resilience, self-esteem and the capacity to reflect on their feelings?

The guide is accompanied by online video clips that explain the five dimensions of the Secure Base model in practice through the voices and experiences of adopters, foster carers and young people.

Read the contents page and introduction


Gillian Schofield and Mary Beek developed the Secure Base model.

Gillian Schofield is Emeritus Professor of Child and Family Social Work and former Head of the School of Social Work at the University of East Anglia (UEA). An experienced social worker and academic, she has a special interest in attachment theory, child development and child placement, especially long-term foster care. She has taught, researched and published widely in this field.

Dr Mary Beek is Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Social Work at UEA. She has had a long and varied career in fostering and adoption practice and also in related research and publication.

Gillian Schofield and Mary Beek worked together from 1997–2020 on a series of research and practice development projects at the Centre for Research on Children and Families at UEA. A key focus for their work has been the development and dissemination of the Secure Base model of therapeutic caregiving.

A 10% bulk order discount will be applied at the checkout for orders of 10 copies or more on this title.


This title is now available in digital-only format for immediate access. Purchases are held in your own personalised online library and accessed via your browser or through the app on your phone or tablet.

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Although rooted in established theory, these are primarily workbooks rather than textbooks, with clear layouts and written in easily accessible language. The Secure Base Model’s place in the toolkit of the fostering social worker is already secured. However, anyone involved in children’s social work will find this a useful reference and tool.

Helen Munro, independent social worker, Professional Social Work