Foster parents can apply for free trauma therapy training sessions to help children in their care adjust to their new lives.

The training will be made available to anyone who may come into contact with a child in care – giving them a ‘trauma lens’ to better understand their experiences and how to support them.

The programme has been developed due to the overwhelming evidence that the outcomes for children who have suffered trauma are much better if they live with families and are parented in a trauma informed way.

Poppy, from Harlow in Essex, who has been fostering for the last four years, describes it as ‘bringing back the laughter into her house and giving her so much joy’.

“After my husband died nearly seven years ago, naturally, I was all over the place emotionally.

"When a childhood friend, who was already a foster carer, suggested that fostering might be a good option for me, I took a long time to consider it.

"I just wasn’t sure if I could handle getting close to someone and then watching them leave. But I knew that I had so much more love to give.”

Poppy started off by looking after young people who needed respite or emergency care over the holidays. Since she started fostering full time 18 months ago, Poppy has had a 14-year-old boy in her home.

Since receiving trauma informed therapeutic support Poppy says that although his behaviour can sometimes still be a challenge, she now better understands his reactions and feels able to respond more effectively.

“The biggest change was giving him a routine and setting boundaries which is something that he has not had before. By explaining why something is wrong, as opposed to just telling him he shouldn’t be doing it, is laying the foundations for a confident young man, ready to face the world at 18”.

Essex County Council’s consultant clinical psychologist Barbara Canepa said: “Moving forward, our aim is to recruit people who want to work therapeutically with children. Our goal is to help give children in care the best possible environment in which to feel safe and secure, and to go on to thrive.

We see foster carers as the agents of that change, and our role is to give them the knowledge, support and tools with which to heal the trauma and transform the lives of the children and young people they care for”.