Our Therapeutic Services
Our Child Trauma Services provide specialist counselling and support services for children and young people affected by abuse and violence. We aim to help them heal from the harmful effects of these traumatic experiences.
We apply therapeutic techniques based on our scientific understanding of interpersonal neurobiology, child development and attachment.
We use evidence-based strategies to stabilise children’s stress-response systems, reconfigure their baseline arousal levels, integrate memory functioning – and connect them with a network of important adults.
We assign tailored care teams to build a framework of responses to children across a range of settings (such as school, extended family and sporting groups).
Working directly with children
Since 1991, ACF has been providing therapeutic services to children who have experienced sexual assault, physical abuse or family violence. Some of the therapeutic strategies and programs we use include:
For more than ten years, ACF has partnered with non-government agencies to provide therapeutic foster and residential care for children and young people removed from their home due to abuse or neglect.
We provide carers with intensive training programs about the neurobiology of trauma and attachment.
Examples of our collaboration and partnership projects
ACF and Monty Roberts “Join Up”® organisation have formed an international partnership to develop a program using horses to support the recovery of children and young people from the trauma of abuse and neglect.
Our Connect Up for Carers Program is based in the neuroscience of trauma recovery and the wisdom of Monty Roberts and Join Up. It is the first of its kind worldwide.
By participating, carers and therapeutic care staff gain an experience that allows them to develop a greater awareness of their own internal responses and build skills in regulating the arousal levels in children while maintaining a connection. Using non-verbal communication, this program gives a unique insight into the neurological impacts of trauma and how to better understand the ‘flight’ response utilising horses and their innate behaviour. It specifically shows that relationships can be affected dramatically by non-verbal and non-contact communication.
The Treatment and Care for Kids (TrACK) program is local and evidence-based therapeutic home-based care program providing intensive intervention for children and young people with complex needs. TrACK has been implemented as a partnership between the Australian Childhood Foundation and Anglicare Victoria and funded by the Eastern Division of the Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria.
The program has been evaluated twice; most recently by Southern Cross University in a report published this year. You can read more about the program on our blog here.
Partners: DHS Victoria and Anglicare Victoria.
Developed by Dr Stephen Porges, the SSP is a five-day auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. Based on Dr Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, by calming the physiological and emotional state, the door is opened for improved communication and more successful therapy.
In partnership with the University of North Carolina, ACF is currently conducting research to evaluate the effectiveness of the Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) in children with a trauma history.
We work with a variety of other partners in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, the ACT and the Northern Territory to deliver therapeutic residential care programs. Each program is uniquely catered to its own context, providing specialist support to services and staff working with children and young people in out of home care.
Partners: Wimmera Uniting Care (VIC), Uniting Care (VIC), Salvation Army Eastcare (VIC), Brophy Youth Services (VIC), NT Government, Anglicare (NT) and Premier Youth Works (ACT and NSW).