Assessing the capacities of caregivers
The Secure Base Model may be used alongside standard assessment procedures to assess the capacities of caregivers to provide a secure base in a wide range of circumstances . The Secure Base Interview is a key resource to help with this.
The interview can be used with the full range of caregivers, including birth parents, ‘connected people' carers, foster carers, adopters and residential workers. The interview is relevant for the care of children and young people of all ages.
The Secure Base Interview provides a means of exploring, with the current caregiver(s), their approaches to the child's needs within the five dimensions of caregiving. This approach places relationship between the child and the caregiver at the centre of the discussion.
Within each dimension, the caregiver is asked for a specific example of an incident which illustrates the child's needs and capacities . Then the caregiver is asked to think about why the behaviour might have occurred, what they did about it and how they felt about it.
An outline ‘script' for the interview is provided, but this should be adjusted to use language that is clear and understandable to the caregiver.
The interview can be used in a range of contexts and serve a variety of purposes . For example:
- When children and young people are thought to be in need or at risk. The interview can highlight the needs and strengths of the child or young person and the capacities of the caregivers. It can identify areas for further development and support.
- At the beginning of a fostering or adoption placement. The interview can be used to help foster carers and adopters to tune in to the child's needs. It can identify areas for further development and support.
- As part of the routine supervision of foster carers. The interview can help to set and monitor goals for the child's development and to develop the caregivers' capacities.
- As part of the foster carer(s)' annual review. The interview can highlight caregiving capacities and identify areas for further development and support.
- When fostering or adoptive placements are in difficulties. The interview can highlight the needs and strengths of the child or young person and the capacities of the caregivers. It can identify areas for further development and support.
- In residential settings. The interview can help to set and monitor goals for the child or young person's development and to develop the keyworker/staff group's caregiving capacities.
It can be helpful to show a diagram of The Secure Base model to the caregiver as a guide to what will be discussed in the session. The Secure Base Model.
The Secure Base Developmental Checklist provides detailed questions to support the assessment of children's security at different emotional and chronological ages.