Children in state care are among the most vulnerable in our society and in societies around the world. Previous experiences of physical and psychological trauma, loss and separation mean that children require therapeutic care if they are to recover from developmental harm, achieve happy, stable adult lives and fulfil their potential.

To guide and support caregivers and professionals in meeting these children’s needs the free to access Secure Base model of therapeutic caregiving was developed by Professor Gillian Schofield and Dr Mary Beek in the School of Social Work at UEA from their fostering research. The Secure Base model has been widely implemented not only across the UK but also internationally, where since 2014 it has played an important role in the development of foster care as an alternative to institutional care in projects in Thailand, China and Ukraine.  It has been instrumental in transforming children’s life chances in very diverse cultures and contexts.

Gillian Schofield, Mary Beek and Julie Young were finalists for a UEA award for Outstanding Innovation and Impact (2020) for their work with the Secure Base model.

An important new development this year has been the completion of the Providing a Secure Base in Schools project (2018-20), funded by the Alex Timpson Trust as part of a national initiative to promote attachment awareness in schools. Although a key aim of the national project has been to improve support in school for looked after and adopted children, there are benefits for all children. Mary Beek and Gillian Schofield developed, piloted and made available on our website . Secure Base training materials for staff in primary and high schools, as well as special schools. The aim of these materials has been to enable staff to use the Secure Base model to create school environments which support children’s learning and personal development, through increasing staff awareness of the emotional needs of children and of the importance of available relationships that reduce anxiety and provide children with a secure base.