Foster Carer Wellbeing

Caring for children who are recovering from abuse and neglect is often a difficult and thankless vocation.

Children are inconsistently appreciative of your efforts on their behalf; if at all.

The professionals whose task it is to support you do not live in your house, in your shoes, and do not always seem to understand the challenges you face.

Just as the role of foster parent can be rewarding and fulfilling in those times and in those moments when the child in your care shows glimpses of joy in living and relating to others, the role of foster parent is also:

  • Exhausting
  • Overwhelming
  • Frustrating
  • Anxiety evoking.

The diagram below illustrates why this is a problem.

arousal and wellbeing

Arousal refers to the level of activation of our nervous system.

For later reference, it refers to how fast our internal ‘motor’ is running.

Arousal reflects our physical, emotional and psychological (mind) state.

arousal and wellbeing expanded

Arousal is like the temperature of your body. Too high or too low, there is a problem.

You cannot perform at your best as a carer  when you are feeling:

  • Exhausted;
  • Overwhelmed;
  • Frustrated; or
  • Anxiety.

As far as possible, you need to maintain a consistent state of wellbeing to perform at your best, just as you take active steps to stave off fever or hyperthermia. It is that important!

Over the four-week implementation programme for the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care, we recommend one evidence-based wellbeing task per week that is just for you and your own wellbeing. The tasks incorporate the promotion of realistic and helpful ideas about the contribution you are making to the recovery of a child who has experienced abuse and neglect. They also incorporate the promotion of behaviours association with wellbeing; just as Triple-A incorporates a mindset and behaviours for the promotion of recovery from abuse and neglect for the child in your care.

The Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care is currently being implemented with TUSLA foster carers in Donegal, Ireland. For more information about Triple-A email me at

About colbypearce

I am a practising Clinical Psychologist with twenty-seven years’ experience working with children and young people recovering from abuse and neglect. I am also an author and educator in trauma-informed, therapeutic caregiving. My programs are implemented in Australia and Ireland, and I am well-known for my practical and accessible guidance for caregivers and professionals alike.
This entry was posted in AAA Caregiving, Adoption, Attachment, Fostering, Trauma, Wellbeing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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