AN EVIDENCE-BASED PROGRAM MODEL FOR FACILITATING THERAPEUTIC RESPONSES TO PAIN-BASED BEHAVIOR IN RESIDENTIAL CARE

  • Martha J. Holden Cornell University
  • Deborah Sellers Cornell University
Keywords: residential child care, therapeutic residential care, trauma-informed care, evidence based programs, group care

Abstract

Children and young people in residential care have often lived lives saturated with loss, neglect, rejection, and traumatic experiences. Children express the pain of trauma in various ways, namely pain-based behaviors manifesting in ways that often leave their care givers confused, frustrated, frightened, angry or exhausted. For residential caregivers to respond to children and young people in a consistent and therapeutic manner, residential environments must provide an ethos of respect, caring, and trust, creating a safe place for children and staff to live and learn together. This paper describes the Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) model, its implementation, and evidence for its effectiveness. CARE is a trauma-informed, principle-based, multi-component program designed to enhance the social dynamics in group care settings and help agencies create a living environment that provides developmentally enriching experiences for children in their care. By incorporating the CARE principles throughout all levels of the organization and into daily practice, the CARE program model has been shown to improve the capacity of staff to establish positive developmental relationships with the children in their care, offer developmentally enriching experiences and a “sense of normality”, and create cohesion and congruence throughout the organization. Through consistent and predictable compassionate and responsive interactions with adults, as well as opportunities to overcome challenges and to experience successful learning opportunities, children can grow, develop and thrive.

Author Biographies

Martha J. Holden, Cornell University
Project Director of the Residential Child Care Project at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research at the College of Human Ecology
Deborah Sellers, Cornell University
Director of Research of the Residential Child Care Project at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research at the College of Human Ecology
Published
2019-04-08