The KEEP curriculum focuses on supporting carers and helping them to develop new ways of addressing the challenging behaviour of young people aged between five and 12.
The technique, developed in the United States and accredited by the Department for Education in the UK , has shown that foster parents feel more supported and disruption levels in the home are greatly reduced.
“It’s about helping foster carers to relate better to their cared-for child, so they can help improve the child’s pro-social behaviours,” said Becky Pearson.
CFC is the first independent agency in the UK to take up KEEP (Keeping Foster and Kinship Parents Supported and Trained).
Ten members of staff in Gloucestershire and Lancashire are taking part in a 16-week training programme, beginning this month (September 2013). They will then train the agency’s registered foster carers and offer training to other organisations, including local authorities.
“All the evidence shows that when foster carers are on the KEEP course, disruption rates decrease so the home is much more stable,” said Becky.
“KEEP is very supportive of the staff and carers. There is no negativity. Solutions are offered to daily problems and there are very good outcomes for children.
“The training is not a lot of theory, but a lot of rehearsing so that when they go home, carers have the confidence to use their new techniques.
“It reinforces everything we have always done at Community Foster Care to promote positive parenting. It never focuses on the negative. It’s about looking for improvements and it definitely works. The research outcomes are very good.”
KEEP was devised in the USA in 2008 and was introduced to the UK via the Dept for Education which funded the first training for local authorities.
Its founder, Dr Patricia Chamberlain at the Oregon Social Learning Centre, was aware that the demand for foster carers far outstripped supply and that, whilst the number of cared-for children kept rising, the number of carers was sliding. The result was increased disruption, poor outcomes for young people, and a rising drop-out rate by foster families.