This week’s session focused on Attachment. With this, we discussed ways children may show attachment, and one of the trainers shared her experience with caring for children with attachment disorders. This session was packed full the entire session with lots of information and stories of experience. With that, we talked about reasons the children come into care and how that affects their attachments.
Reasons for Admission into Children’s Aid Society (CAS) Care
This is based only on the reason the child was first admitted into care. Other reasons for needing the care may come up at a later time that aren’t known at time of admission (example, only 7% come into care because of sexual abuse, but there is a higher percent of children who they realize experienced this once in care). It does not work out to 100% due to some children being admitted for multiple reasons.
- 65% Inadequate parenting skills
- 51% Mental health issues
- 43% Children’s behaviour
- 39% Drugs / Alcohol
- 29% Abandonment
- 27% Poverty
- 26% Domestic Violence
- 21% Lack of Supervision
- 13% Physical Abuse or Risk of Abuse
- 7% Sexual abuse
In our group activity this week we were divided into two groups. Our instructors then read out two scenarios. One group was Baby Jessie, the other was Baby Robin. They were born at the same hospital, the same hour. However, their parents were very different. They went through the first few years of the children’s lives and we talked about our feelings throughout and the attachment (or lack of) that came with how they were raised.
Baby Jessie was born to a young married couple who had tried for the baby and were eager to be parents. When Jessie cried, her mother picked her up, fed her and comforted her. She learned to build trust since when she cried her mother would meet her needs. It continued through development with her parents teaching her to crawl, play and were excited when she started talking. She formed attachments with her parents and caregivers and learned the world was a happy place.
Baby Robin was born to a young couple who eagerly waited for her arrival and prepared the best they could afford. When Robin cried, sometimes she was ignored. She would cry harder and eventually someone would feed her, but would seem distracted. Her parents drank heavily. As she got older and started to crawl her parents would keep her in a play pen in a separate room where they would sometimes come to check on her. She would cry but did not always receive care when she cried, so she cried more. Eventually, Robin was taken into care. Robin learned adults were unpredictable and could not be trusted.
Other Items Discussed
Positive Interaction Cycle – this is where positive adult interaction results in positive child behaviour, which then gets praise (positive adult interaction), creating a cycle.
Developmental Delays – We did not go into depth, but for homework there is reading in our binders about this. Children who come into care may be delayed due to neglect. It could be physical, emotional or intellectual.
Trauma Case Vignettes – There are three cases in our binders to review. They describe a child who is in care and you have to review what kind of challenges their new adoptive families may experience with behaviours. We did not go through this in class due to time running out.
Placement Disruption – This is another item we didn’t have time to fully review in class but is in our binders to review as part of our homework. This talks about impacts on children who have been in multiple places of care. One of my trainers had experience with a girl who had been in 4 or 5 different homes, including a home that had the intention on adopting her (and later changed their mind). An important note was that when she found something that worked with this child she made sure to note it and it was passed along with all of her notes to her next prospective adoptive family.
Stories of Experience
We had different trainers this week (every couple of weeks they switch) and they shared a lot of stories from their years of experience. It was great to hear about real scenarios and feelings that presenting themselves. Something I took away from the stories was the fact there will be days when we all feel we can’t do it; that we want to give up. We need to persevere. There was a story of a child who had been sexually abused at a very young age (under 2 years old) and would not go anywhere near her foster father. She would scream if he came into the room. It took one year… ONE YEAR, for her to warm up to him. One day she decided to sit on his lap and relax with him. He had not given up on her. He gave her space she needed and after a year he was rewarded with her trust.
At the end of class we watched a video – ReMoved, which I have previously posted (See my original post here). It is a great video and great resource tool that they use in training. I am hoping they show the second one in class as well. You can watch both below if you haven’t seen them yet (but I will warn you… you should grab some tissues! I balled like a baby watching these for the first time).
I encourage you to check out the website removedfilm.com as well!