AC Education course of the month

Friday 03 March 2017

Each month we will be highlighting one of the online courses from our portfolio to enhance your knowledge and support you in your work with children. This month we will be looking at Children, Young People and Mental Health. Over 60% of children in care have a diagnosable mental health condition and so it is vital that everyone who works with foster children has an understanding of mental health.

Wellbeing and good mental health should be enjoyed by every child and young person, giving them confidence in themselves and their abilities. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, particularly for a child or young person who has been removed from their birth parents and possibly experienced multiple placements in their young lives. Adolescence can be a difficult time for mental health as young people deal with hormonal changes in additional to challenges such as exams.

Raising awareness and understanding of this difficult and often taboo subject will give the foster carer the confidence to be able to approach the child in their care about mental health. With the right support from all those working round the child or young person, it is possible to not only prevent the symptoms developing into a more complex disorder but may give the child or young person the tools to enable them to work through their symptoms, bringing them back to a place of equilibrium.

Andrea has recently completed the course. She lives with her two teenage children and has a placement who is 10 years old. This is what she told us:

Why did you choose to do this course with AC Education?

I have completed a number of AC Education courses but I was really keen to do this course to support my whole family and not just the young lad I look after. I worry about all of them, it so difficult growing up as a young person these days and I wanted to understand if their behaviour is a sign of something more concerning.

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What do you like most about the course?

I really liked the layout of the course and that it was split into 3 sections as it gave me natural breaks in my study. I like to learn at my own pace and all the AC courses let me do this. The section on how to have conversations about mental health was helpful and taught me so much.

What do you think about the quality of the material?

The courses seem to get better and better. The courses cover the subject in-depth and the new layout makes the courses easy to follow and interesting that it doesn’t even feel like you are studying.

How do you think this course will help you in the future?

I have already changed the way that I start conversations with the children as I am now aware of what a difference it can make to how they respond to me. I know it will improve my relationship with the children and encourage them to be more open with me with any worries they may have. I am also aware of the signs to look out for in case they are struggling emotionally or with their friends.

The course is compliant with Foster care training support and development standards and is recommended for all foster carers. Please email: [email protected] to book onto this course.