Victoria’s story

Posted July 29, 2020
Victoria’s story

Victoria*, an 11-year-old Cambodian girl, was referred to Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) to support her to return to family.

Prior to entering out-of-home care, Victoria was cared for by her father Chris* and maternal grandmother, as her mother Lana* had moved away from the family home more than a year earlier. Victoria had been physically punished by her eldest brother, who had a role in parenting her and her other two brothers, one of whom has additional needs.

Victoria was removed from her Dad’s care in November 2018 and placed with a kinship carer. This placement lasted one month and ended after Victoria threatened one of the carer’s younger children. She was moved to residential care as there were no home-based care placements available at the time.

When the TFCO Program Supervisor, Robyn, met Victoria and explained the program to her for the first time, Victoria recognised that it would be beneficial for her to move out of residential care. A TFCO placement would allow her to do things that she couldn’t do in residential care, as well as helping her to return to her family.

Victoria appeared to settle into the TFCO placement for the first few days, however as the placement continued, Victoria began refusing to shower as she had to share a bathroom with the carer. This behaviour appeared to be related to the fact that the carer was transgender. Victoria would stay in her room for long periods, ignore the carer, and tease the cat. She told her TFCO Individual Therapist and Skills Coach that she was unhappy in the placement and wanted to go home or back to residential care. Her behaviour escalated to kicking holes in the wall, writing derogatory messages on the wall, and urinating on the floor.

It became clear that Victoria was not going to settle into her first placement, and so plans were made to move her when a new TFCO placement became available. Victoria occasionally presented in a low mood after the move, however appeared to adjust to the new environment well With the encouragement of the carer and Individual Therapist, she began engaging more with the routine chart and reward system by completing the tasks and identifying items she was motivated to work towards obtaining.

Throughout the first weeks of placement, Victoria had been having weekend contact with her dad and her siblings. In April, Victoria’s mum Lana returned to the family and indicated that she wanted to see Victoria.

Victoria seemed to go through quite a transformation while in TFCO and responded particularly well to the relational elements of the program such as modelling of positive behaviour and the use of differential reinforcement to highlight positive behaviour, characteristics, and strengths.

Victoria demonstrated a good level of acceptance of authority with regards to the role stratification/ authoritative positioning of the TFCO Program Supervisor. This appeared to be a result of consistent messaging, and fair and reasonable expectations.

Within the structured and nurturing environment of the TFCO placement, Victoria was able to develop a positive and meaningful relationship with her carer and establish a strong therapeutic alliance with her individual therapist. Victoria developed a good level of insight and a great ability to reflect on her life experiences and past behaviours. Often, she was able to articulate her thoughts and reflections in a manner that might be considered more mature than her age.

Lana provided feedback to TFCO Family Therapist Jacqui that Victoria has settled into family life well and now talks with a sense of hope and optimism about her future including her desire to travel and live overseas.

*Names changed to protect identities

Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO)

Treatment Foster Care Oregon is a specialised foster care program that supports children and young people with complex behaviours.

Find out more

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