The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning

Book Review: The Secure Base Model

Bringing together currently available material and resources, since the development of the Model by the authors in 2000, “The Secure Base Model” begins with an introduction to the underpinning theoretical concepts of attachment and resilience. The five dimensions of the model itself: availability, sensitivity, acceptance, co-operation and family membership, are each explored from the perspective of the needs of the child and the approach of the carer, as a ‘positive framework for therapeutic caregiving’.

The authors go on to show how the model can be used in working with applicant foster carers and adopters, assessing the capacity of existing carers, including an interview format for use with carers to assess their capacity to provide a secure base for a child in their care, and more general guidelines on using the secure base model in guiding and supporting carers. A final chapter on assessing and reviewing the progress of children in placement includes a valuable, well laid out, checklist of how a secure base looks throughout childhood, from birth to 18.

The accompanying guide for foster carers and adopters (Promoting Attachment and Resilience) comprises the three introductory chapters on the background to the model and the chapter on assessing and reviewing the development of the children in placement, together with a format for a suggested progress record carers can use for children in placement.

Both books come with a DVD that illustrates the different aspects of the model through interviews with carers about issues they faced and how these were dealt with.

Although rooted in established theory these are primarily workbooks rather than textbooks, as suggested by their A4 format, with clear layouts and written in easily accessible language. Published by BAAF and central to the new BAAF Form F, 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. Fostering and adoption departments/agencies may well want to have copies available of the shorter version intended for foster carers.

The Secure Base Model: Promoting attachment and resilience in foster care and adoption, Gillian Schofield & Mary Beek, BAAF Adoption & Fostering, A4 size Paperback £16.95, ISBN 9 781907 585838

Promoting Attachment and Resilience: a guide for foster carers and adopters on using the Secure Base Model, Gillian Schofield & Mary Beek, BAAF Adoption & Fostering, A4 size Paperback £12.95, ISBN 9 781910 039021

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