The Lioncare Group can be commissioned by Local Authorities and Fostering Agencies to offer Consultancy to Foster Carers with the aim of supporting them in their professional roles as carers to Looked After Children. Consultancy to Foster Carers is especially effective where the carers are relatively new to fostering, where there are concerns as to the sustainability of the placement, where the carers are experiencing difficulty coping with the day-to-day demands of the role, and where the child displays complex and challenging needs.
Experience and Qualifications:
The Consultant, Matt Vince, has over 24 years of direct experience working in Residential Group Homes for children and adults, and Therapeutic Communities for children, variously taking up the role of Care Worker (adolescents), Bank Relief Worker (Learning Disabilities), Residential Social Worker, Therapeutic Carer, Senior Therapeutic Carer, Deputy Manager, Registered Manager, Operations Manager and currently Exectuive Director of The Lioncare Group.
Matt has over 20 years experience providing formal supervision to colleagues at all levels and posts, 19 years experience working with and running SEBD education and a Therapeutic School, 15 years experience creating, developing and facilitating monthly work-based Group Process Meetings, and experience as a Small-Group Facilitator at group-relations conferences run by The Centre for Emotional Development in addition to being a participating member of Group Relations Conferences and Group Analytic Residential Workshops.
Matt is currently the Chair of the Community of Community (Royal College of Psychiatrists) Children & Young People Therapeutic Communities Network, a Committee Member of the ICHA, and Course Organiser for the CACHE accredited Level 3 Diploma in Therapeutic Child Care and Education, and an Independent External Consultant to Foster Carers.
Matt holds the B.Sc. [hons] in Experimental Psychology (University of Sussex), a Certificate in Introduction to Group Analysis (Institute of Group Analysis), a Post Graduate Diploma in Therapeutic Child Care (University of Reading), and an M.A. in Consultation & the Organisation (University of East London/Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust).
The Tavistock Approach to Consultancy:
The Tavistock Approach to Consultancy recognises that sometimes an ‘external mind’ is required to help others explore issues, look at what is happening ‘beneath the surface’, and support the level of thinking needed for change to be effective and sustainable.
This form of consultancy has been developed at The Tavistock Clinic, The Tavistock Institute, and The Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust over many decades. It differs from other forms by combining psychoanalytic theory, group psychodynamics, and systems thinking to create a framework for working with the conscious and unconscious processes in individuals and groups and networks. It helps us to explore how these are connected to and become manifest in the various structures and functions existing in our work. Much emphasis is placed on the importance of personal experience in affecting effective change, and the impact of interpersonal and intergroup relationships on the work-task.
Task of the Consultancy:
The relative success of any consultancy begins with establishing clear agreement by all parties on the specific task of the consultancy, and remaining ‘On-Task’ throughout the consultancy process. The primary task of is often stated as being to support the continuation and success of the foster placement.
The specific outcomes of the consutlancy are agreed at the commissioning stage, and may include one or more of the following:
- Provide the Foster Carers regular (i.e. weekly or fortnightly) process consultation sessions each lasting 60 minutes for the purpose of supporting them in thinking about and reflecting on what is happening whilst it is happening in relation to their role as foster carers to the child.
- Where practical and feasible, offer guidance and advice in the form of role consultation on interventions and strategies the Foster Carers might employ in their professional carer role with the child.
- Assist the Foster Carers in thinking about managing the child’s behaviour.
- Help the Foster Carers make sense of the impact of the child’s needs and behaviours on them, and offer the carers strategies for knowing how to cope with what the child presents.
- Help others to better understand the child.
- Maintain a summary note of each session and provide the commissioning authority with progress reports.
 Huffington et al (2004): Working below the Surface. H. Karnac (Books) Ltd. London
 Obholzer, A. and Roberts, V.Z. (1994): The Unconscious at Work – individual and organisational stress in the human services. Routledge. London
For further information or an informal chat, contact Matt
T: 01273 720424
Testimonial from Former Client
To Whom it may concern:
Matt has supported us since September 2011, initially weekly and more recently fortnightly with our work as foster carers with our foster child who has been in placement with us since July 2011.
I think it would be true to say that Matt has seen our ‘highs and lows’ during this time. He has been extremely helpful in a variety of ways; ‘normalising’ for us our foster child’s behaviours and sometimes our responses, taking us through the stages of the child’s development and linking to theory, encouraging us to remember the progress he has made when we are experiencing yet another setback, and more importantly believing and trusting us.
Matt has always been professional with a very down to earth, realistic approach. This has been particularly useful to us. We have felt that we could call him between sessions if we were really struggling or we needed clarity.
He always responded and reassured us. I have really loved and valued the therapeutic approach.
Foster Carers (names removed for safegaurding reasons)