In the project “Safe Places, Thriving Children”, SOS Children’s Villages collaborated with partners to develop and deliver training for care professionals, support alternative care organisations to embed trauma-informed practices into their daily work, and elaborate policy recommendations to help ensure that child protection systems support children and young people who have been affected by trauma.
“Safe Places, Thriving Children – Embedding Trauma-Informed Practices into Alternative Care Settings” was a two-year project (2020-2022) co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union. Through the project, we sought to provide children and young people growing up in alternative care with the appropriate support in order for them to thrive and develop to their full potential.
The project was run in cooperation with SOS Children’s Villages’ member associations from Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary and Serbia, as well as experts from the Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection (CELCIS) of the University of Strathclyde.
Children and young people in alternative care are highly vulnerable to adverse childhood experiences: Research shows that 75% of children in alternative care have experienced trauma prior to their alternative care placement.
Unfortunately, despite these common experiences, many care professionals are unequipped or not adequately trained in how to care for children and young people who have experienced trauma.
These children need care professionals with the skills, knowledge and experience regarding their psychosocial and mental health, in order to build trust and strong caring relationships, and to help them overcome these adverse experiences.
We aim to give care professionals the tools and knowledge required to understand trauma and address the needs of children and young people affected by it. We do this by using trauma-informed care practices.
The main characteristics of trauma-informed care are:
Awareness - Everybody who provides alternative care is aware of the processes that affect children and young people who have experienced trauma.
Structural change - The organisational structure and care framework in place involves understanding, recognising, and responding to the effects of trauma.
Safety - Physical, psychological and emotional safety for both children and caregivers is ensured.
Empowerment - The care is set up in a way that helps children rebuild a sense of control and empowers them to be active in their recovery process.