Trauma-Informed Care in the Childcare and Family Placement Process: Miracle Foundation’s Approach Within Alternative Care in India
The intensity of trauma for children living without parents varies depending on the nature of the parent’s death. Even those who have parents and are considered ‘economic orphans’ have faced some kind of traumatizing experience that results in the child being enrolled into a childcare institution (CCI) (e.g., natural disaster, abandonment due to remarriage, lack of financial resources, education opportunity and abuse or neglect).
Miracle Foundation has therefore developed a robust mental health programme that commits to promoting the mental health and well-being of children by encouraging self-awareness, building life skills and developing coping strategies, thus preparing them to achieve their full potential. Miracle’s mental health team ensures that CCIs, children, families, communities and governments are aware of the importance of mental health and have access to appropriate resources, such as regular counselling and professional services.
Training and support take place with children, their families, CCI social workers, house-parents, government officials and other NGOs. By strengthening the capacity of these stakeholders in understanding and coping with trauma, we work towards breaking the stigma around mental health in India and the cycle of re-traumatisation in the childcare system for a systemic change. Engagement with the government through workshops and a ‘train-the-trainer model’ on Miracle’s methodology increases our impact for more trauma-informed and child-focused care, to reach thousands of families.
Evidence indicates that early separation from parents is a risk factor for developing a chronic response to traumatic stressors, meaning that an individual would be less able to positively cope with negative stressors that come up in their life (Udayan Care, 2014).
National and local governments around the world have started putting pressure on CCIs to rehabilitate children out of institutions. To avoid sacrificing quality for urgency and re-traumatizing children, Miracle ensures that the the appropriate time is taken to conduct child-focused decision-making to fully understand what placement option suits the best interest of the child. TIC works towards improving children’s cognitive, physical and emotional well-being by ensuring quality care while they are in an institution, and more successful placements (regardless of the type) when they leave. Miracle’s mental health programme and overall methodology continue to develop as we focus our efforts on placing children into more family-based care options.
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