In Action Cycle 2, our teams have selected to trial the following practices.
Sydney & Maitland teams
Aim: To support parents and carers to understand and respond to children’s behaviour
Assist birth relatives and carers to reflect on and understand their own emotions so they can respond sensitively to children’s reactions and manage behaviour that arises before/after visits.
Carers talk to child before/after visit about how they are feeling to help them find verbal expression for emotions and learn how feelings are expressed in actions. Introduce children and carers to use of coloured ‘zones of regulation’ to help children communicate emotional states.
Parents [and relatives] do a brief relaxation or mindfulness activity before the visit [e.g. visualisation, body scan] to connect to own emotional state and assist them to co-regulate child’s behaviour.
Carers/parents introduce a ‘goodbye ritual’ at the end of visits so children and relatives can adjust to separation [e.g. sing favourite songs, look at photos taken at visit, exchange transitional object].
Aim: To promote carer skills and communication with birth relatives
Guide carers to actively support visits by offering parents [and relatives] constructive feedback during and after visits and reinforcing positive interactions with their children.
Initiate conversation with carers about their expectations around contact and their role in supporting it.
Maintain regular contact with carers before/after visits to offer feedback on their efforts and encourage reflection to improve future interactions with parents[relatives].
Help carers to prepare some casual ‘scripts’ for framing feedback as a suggestion not a demand
Help carers find specific examples of positive interactions and share how they benefitted child
Promoting Cultural Mentoring
Aim: to promote and develop cultural identity of Aboriginal children in care
Identify a cultural mentor within a child’s network who can support their relationships and cultural identity during visits. Mentor encourages parents/extended family to use visits to teach children songs, language and stories to share knowledge of family history, cultural values, customs and traditions.
Identify at least one cultural feature that is a strength to build on for the child and include an activity related to this in visits.
Dubbo team may incorporate the Wiradjuri activities developed for the project by Lynette Riley