OMC Funded Accessibility Projects – Mindful Foster Caring
In line with our charitable aims we support training, activities or initiatives which widen access to, and participation in, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and practices. Our Accessibility Fund grants are given on the expectation of clear impact, outcomes and/or key learnings. Applications to the Accessibility fund are reviewed by Oxford Mindfulness Foundation Board members, OMC staff and external advisers.
Here, we highlight a recent project supported by the accessibility fund.
MINDFUL FOSTER CARING DELIVERED BY THE MINDFUL PARENTING & COMMUNITY PROJECT
We aimed to investigate the accessibility, acceptability and impact of an 8-week programme for foster carers and supervising social workers, in an independent fostering service (IFP) providing foster placements to looked after children in public care.
By its very nature, foster care is complex; the emotional demands on carers are usually ongoing and there is a degree of unpredictability in that the child’s health and education needs, behaviour or contact with family can require attention and, often action, at any time.
Foster carers are themselves a vulnerable population; the children for whom they care are, in many cases, suffering from attachment related difficulties, have had traumatic experiences within their families and have often had multiple changes of carer. Those caring from them are known to experience high level of stress, secondary trauma and forms of ‘blocked care’. Foster carers often describe high expectations of themselves and attendant feelings of guilt in not being able to meet the all the needs of the children. They are also operating with a background of ‘normal’ stressors – health, other family members and finance.
There were two Taster Sessions and pre-course calls. The course curriculum followed the MBCT structure with added elements for mindful communication in Wk. 6, befriending and gratitude to support listening, open communication and ‘beginning again’ in care giving.