1 May 2018
OzChild has been delivering the Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) program in Victoria for the past twelve months.
The organisation will also be delivering the evidenced-based program in the Toowoomba region of Queensland later this year.
As with any child in care, focusing on the positive changes in a child can make a world of difference. For TFCO, it is about focusing on the small wins, and using them to praise and prop up a child to take on the next challenge.
The TFCO team would like to share some of the positive changes our foster carers have seen.
Gregory is a 12-year-old child who has missed out on his earlier years of schooling, and can only read at a prep level. He knows he is far behind his peers in reading, and so he can tend to be non-compliant and act out when he’s expected to complete educational tasks. Each night the foster carer reads with her 7-year-old son before bed. Every night they invite Gregory to join them and read with them. For two months, Gregory refused to participate, but often walked past the room to see what they were doing. One night, Gregory joined them and sat on the bed with the carer and her son and they read together. Gregory may not want to read each night with his carer, one on one, but every now and then he will read with her. The time he has reading with the carer is helping Gregory feel a part of the family, and getting that individual attention he deserves.
Jane was a child who did not like to be told what to do. Even giving her direction to brush her teeth at night meant that foster carers were met with aggression, swearing and tantrums. Jane now takes initiative and brushes her teeth at times without being asked. She thrives on the praise she receives for ‘taking initiative’ and being ‘mature and responsible’.
Colin is 9-years-old and has been having issues socialising with other children at school. Colin has been known to hit other children, not knowing how to behave when someone else annoys him or beats him at a game. His foster carer enrolled him into basketball. A month into his placement, at one of their training sessions, the foster carer saw another child push in line beside Colin and it was visible the other child had pushed Colin in the process. Colin looked at the carer, and she called out “Don’t worry about it”. Colin did just this, and continued on with his training. This was the first time Colin was observed to not hit at another child.
TFCO focusses on the positives in a child’s day. Every day is a new day, and these little wins are just the first steps in helping children rebuild the steps they may have missed in their early years.
Read out more about the TFCO model here.
For those living in Melbourne and interested in finding out more, an information session is planned for Wednesday 13 June 2018, at OzChild’s Dandenong office.
If you live in the Toowoomba/Ipswich region in Queensland call 1800 870 070.
*all names have been changed.