Relational Learning Framework for caregivers
The Relational Learning Framework (RLF) is a way of helping foster parents or caregivers understand the child in their care. The aim is to understand what children who have experienced abuse and neglect learn from these experiences about relationships and bring forward to the next caregiving relationship. Trained facilitators help foster parents or caregivers think about what the child has been through and what their symptoms or problems tell us about what they have learned from these difficult experiences. The method helps us to think about how these experiences affect the child’s view of themselves and the world. For example, a child who has been beaten up by his parent and has aggressive behaviour may believe relationships are about fighting and hurting people. A child with the same experience who is frightened may believe the world is a dangerous place. Understanding these connections can help us make sense of the child’s behaviour and come up with a plan for gently changing the ideas the child has about relationships e.g. they don’t last, people hurt you. Practical things to do and say are crafted into a care or treatment plan by the end of the framework, which takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. The RLF is being used in several Child, Youth and Family residences and supervised group homes. It is also being used by two NGOs and may be more widely available to foster parents and social workers in the future.