FACTS - Therapeutic support for adoptive families

FACTS - Therapeutic support for adoptive families

We appreciate that many of the challenges encountered by our families stem from their children’s early life experiences.  The children often have difficulties in trusting adults and forming healthy relationships within their new families. 

The FACTS therapeutic model is based on theory, research and practice models within the complex trauma/attachment perspective.  We integrate particular models within the complex trauma/attachment perspective particularly Theraplay® and Dan Hughes’ Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). 

We take a holistic approach and work with parents, children and families individually and together, as well as providing specific training programmes for adoptive parents and potential adoptive parents.

Our Family and Children Therapeutic Support (FACTS) service  was voted the “Voluntary Adoption Service of the Year” in the BAAF National Adoption Week Awards 2013.

FACTS provides therapeutic assessment and support services tailored to meet the needs of individual children and young adults traumatised prior to adoption and fostering placements.

The range of therapy services includes counselling, Theraplay®, clinical psychology, life story work, creative play therapy, homeopathy and filial therapy. These services significantly increase the likelihood of placements having long term success.

All of the counsellors and therapists have worked extensively with looked-after and adopted children and their families. They are trained in identifying and supporting families with attachment issues and many are also trained in Theraplay® and therapeutic parenting to reduce the impact of attachment difficulties.

All FACTS therapists are registered with their own professional body and have had the required range of checks completed in order to comply with the requirements of providing services under the Adoption Support Service Regulations 2005.

How does FACTS work?

We normally work directly with parents and children together, although there may be individual sessions in particular circumstances – working with the child or young person, or with parents. We also offer consultations to professionals.

Who can benefit from FACTS?

The FACTS service is available to PACT families who have adopted a child through PACT who is under the age of 18. The service is also available to families who attend PACT’s community projects.

In 2015-16 the FACTS service supported more than 130 families by providing targeted therapeutic support, resulting in more families staying together and increasing the longer term positive outcomes for these children and their families.

The FACTS service is PACT’s commitment to provide the support that our amazing adopters and their children need to stay together and thrive.

Types of therapy include:

  • Child and adolescent clinical psychologists specialising in looked after, fostered and adopted children
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) trained and certified therapists
  • Theraplay® trained and accredited therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Sensory integration therapists
  • Play therapists (directive)
  • Systemic and family psychotherapists
  • Psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapists
  • Art psychotherapists
  • Drama therapists
  • Yoga therapists

The services we offer:

The length of time for therapy will differ according to the child’s needs but generally there are four main types of work which we undertake:

1. Clinical Psychologist Assessment

This is usually carried out over 3 – 4 meetings with one of our clinical psychologists who specialises in working with looked after children and adoptive/fostering families. The assessment consists of a range of standardised tests and is usually for children and families with complex needs. A detailed assessment report will be provided setting out the results of the assessment with any recommendations for future therapeutic work to be undertaken.

2. Occupational Therapy Assessment

The assessment consists of a range of standardised tests to identify the child’s area of difficulties, which are affecting both academic performance and their home life. An Occupational Therapy Assessment may be required when there is a disruption in function in one or more of the following the areas: Gross Motor Skills, Fine Motor Skills, Cognitive Perceptual Skills, Sensory Integration, Visual Motor Skills, Motor Planning Skills, Oral Motor Skills, Play skills, Socio-emotional skills, and Activities of daily living.

An Occupational Therapist will aim to enable the child to be as physically, psychologically and socially independent as possible. Occupational Therapists work in close partnership with the child and their family, schools and other healthcare professionals

3. Therapeutic Assessment of Needs

This is carried out by one of our experienced therapists and would include identification of any issues relating to trauma, loss, and attachment for the child/ren and/or parent/carer and explore existing positive and/or negative family therapy models/frameworks (when present) including wider family systems.  This is a family centred assessment and the assessor would consider and include the child/carers individual views and perceptions of their circumstances coupled with an account of their own specific concerns. The needs and wishes of the family alongside the assessment findings would be used to produce a report detailing therapeutic recommendations and work plan.  

Therapeutic Support Packages:

  • Settling in - these are around 6 - 12 sessions in length and are used to assist a family in helping to settle their child in their new placement.  While these do not include in depth life story work, they follow the general format outlined above. 
  • Short term or time limited contracts - in many cases these are likely to be for a period of about 3 – 6 months of weekly therapeutic sessions with the parents and children and about half as many with the parents alone so that they are equipped to support the children through the therapeutic process.  Sometimes, a further contract may be undertaken at the end of the first period if there are outstanding difficulties which remain to be resolved.

4. Longer term support

Usually lasting at least 6 months and sometimes up to 2 years.  These are usually situations where children have suffered severe childhood trauma and need ongoing long term support to help them to overcome their early life experiences.  Parents are also supported to manage their children’s behaviour, day to day care and encouraged to make time for themselves,  promoting self-care and wellbeing. 

Regular reports, reviews and attendance at Looked After Children reviews can be provided and the costs of these are included in your quote.

Where does the therapeutic support take place?

The therapy may take place in the family home, at the PACT therapy room in Reading or at the therapist’s own therapy room.

1. We help parents to come to an understanding and appreciation of their children’s life history and their survival strategies that influence their behaviour.

2. We offer parents information, training and advice on how to manage their children’s behaviour.

3. We facilitate the attachment relationship with direct work between the parents and the child.

4. We help the child to come to an understanding and acceptance of their life story.

Download a FACTS leaflet

Adopter webinars

Sign up today for 'Sharing your child's life story with them' webinar on 5 February