Matthew Thomas is a psychologist with experience in out-of-home care (OOHC), Corrections, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Disability. He started with Marymead in 2017 as Clinical Leader with clinical oversight of a variety of programs but with a high initial focus on OOHC. Matt aims to bring evidence-based practices to the programs using novel approaches. The clinical team that he has developed for OOHC comes with parent mentor/coaches that work with families.
Coaching Innovation in real time in OOHC placements (Oral Paper Presentation)
Adults who have been in foster care as children report that the attributes of foster carers they consider to be the most important for a successful placement include: fun loving, honest and good listeners (1). Daniel Siegal’s Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) echoes these very same ideas in the PACE model: Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. Many carers want to display these characteristics but the tiring nature of foster caring, the training needed and completing all the legislated requirements of caring can make it very difficult for carers to be PACE.
Marymead’s approach to this problems has been to implement a program where Clinicians (social workers/psychologist) working with the Permanency Team provide a plan for Permanency Case Managers and train Permanency Support Workers (PSWs) to help carers/kin implement the plan. The in-home, real time, ongoing coaching and support allows carers to feel the success of using the plan as intended and provides external observation to monitor what skills can be enhanced. The trauma-informed plan’s key difference is that it uses PSWs to provide prescribed multiple coaching and modelling opportunities over different times of the day with children and young people displaying a range of behaviours. The program was run over 2018 and so far the trend suggests increased placement stability and more importantly, increased positive relationships between carers and children.
1) Randle. M. Through the Eyes of Ex-Foster Children: Placement Success and the Characteristics of Good Foster Carers. Children and Youth Services Review
28, 12, 2006, Pages 1497-1511