Relational Learning Framework 2017-03-28T08:55:51+00:00

Relational Learning Framework

It can be very difficult for foster parents to manage their foster child’s behaviour as this behaviour may be influenced by abuse and neglect which happened long before the child was placed with the foster carers. Many factors may influence the child’s behaviour – temperament, living in poverty, past abuse and neglect, birth parent mental illness and substance abuse, current problems with friends, family, school work etc. The foster parent often tries to make sense of this complex information in order to help the child. Recent studies suggest that parent’s ability to understand the child’s psychological and emotional state is related to the child’s wellbeing.

Wendy Kelly has developed a method to help foster carers and social workers do just that. The method enhances understanding of the child’s psychological perspective. Foster carers and professionals involved with the child consider how the foster child’s past experiences of maltreating and impermanent relationships may influence the child’s ideas, expectations and behaviours in relationships. The framework is derived from attachment theory, and is compatible with the concept of core beliefs in Aaron Beck’s cognitive theory. The primary question is how have adverse experiences affect children’s views of themselves, others and the world? The aim is to remove barriers parents may have to understanding and empathising with their foster child. From this we develop a plan about what the child needs to learn in their current relationship with their foster carers.

The relational learning framework can be used as a case consultation tool, as part of clinical supervision, in multi-disciplinary team meetings and for intake purposes. It takes one to two hours to complete and can then be reviewed at intervals to update the treatment plan and manage crises.

Contact Wendy to discuss this programme