The Department for Child Protection (DCP) has engaged the Australian Childhood Foundation to deliver an online training program, Caring for Children and Young People with Trauma, which will be available to the state’s kinship and foster carers in the coming months.

The course will help carers develop a better understanding of neurobiology and child development, and the impact trauma has on child development. The program will support them to provide trauma-responsive care, which assists with children and young people’s recovery and healing.

There will be three packages of the trauma training made available to respond to the unique variations in family-based carers’ roles. This will include content specifically for foster carers, kinship carers and carers of Aboriginal children and young people.

Held online, the new course features a ‘virtual classroom’ giving carers an opportunity to reflect on the content, ask questions and embed the learning within their caring roles.

Up to 500 carers will also have the opportunity to use the training as a foundation for completing additional study, providing carers with a unit of competency towards a Certificate IV in Child Youth and Family Intervention.

Minister for Child Protection Katrine Hildyard said  "through opening their homes, hearts and lives to some of our most vulnerable children and young people, foster and kinship carers make an invaluable contribution and help transform young people’s lives".

"The course provides vital support for carers through strengthening their understanding of trauma-informed behaviours and responses," Minister Hildyard said.

"Carers are a critical part of the child protection system and I am deeply committed to ensuring carers are well-supported in their vital role. This course is designed to provide access for these carers to learning that gives them confidence and support.

"We also hope the course encourages other community members to consider taking on what will be one of the most challenging and rewarding roles of their lifetime – looking after a child who needs a safe place to call home."

Australian Childhood Foundation Centre for Excellence Therapeutic Care Director Janise Mitchell said "when carers are given the opportunity to understand how the trauma caused by abuse and violence can disrupt children’s development, they come to know that it is in the attuned, everyday interactions between carers and children that they can make a big difference in their lives".
"Living with and caring for a child with trauma can be confusing and overwhelming at times. Carers often tell me how helpful it is to have an understanding of trauma," Ms Mitchell said.

"The needs and behaviours of children make more sense and they feel more empowered to know how best to care for them."