The Stepping Stone program.

Although we do accept ‘direct’ fostering referrals, our unique and innovative ‘stepping stone’ placements have become our speciality placements for Local Authorities and for placing Social Workers. These placements are shorter term, outcome focused pieces of work within our group living residential homes. They then move through to a foster placement with one of our therapeutic foster carers. We create a secure base for the child within the group living homes through the development of meaningful relationships and whilst stabilising their behaviour. We then begin the planning for a therapeutic foster placement whilst the child keeps the continuity of their school, their therapist and keyworkers which is completed very carefully. Links to our most recent Ofsted report and Statement of Purpose can be found at the bottom of this page.

Consistency and planning for success

Our unique therapeutic residential to therapeutic fostering ‘stepping stone’ program allows us to help a child who previously would have spent an indefinite amount of time within children’s residential services. They move to a family environment as one of our therapeutic foster placements. Some of these children were not expected to be able to function outside of a residential children’s home for the remainder of their childhood when they were placed with us. It is also particularly effective for those children who continuously break foster placements down, further compounding their issues. We are able to do this through very careful planning around the transition for the child. Many of whom will keep their same school placement, therapist, and key staff involvement throughout the process.

Therapeutic foster placements

We offer cost-effective specialist therapeutic foster placements to local authorities, which can be supported by our in-house residential, education and therapy teams. Some of the benefits for local authorities include:

  • We break cycles and improve outcomes for young people. Our outcomes are measurable for emotional and cognitive development, behaviour, and education. We specialise in stabilising young people who display complex and challenging behaviour, and have a history of placement breakdown.
  • Our therapeutic fostering team consists of well qualified and highly experienced Social Workers.
  • We have highly trained foster carers. Please read our training and support pages.
  • Access to our therapeutic community resources which includes our DfE registered school and our therapy team. This minimises any delay on the child receiving the services that they may require such as a school placement or specialist assessment.
  • Our unique and innovative Channels & Choices ‘Stepping Stone’ placements (therapeutic residential to therapeutic fostering placement).

Understanding behaviour through reflective practice

Children arrive at Channels & Choices from environments which have broken down, many of which have done so due to the child communicating the trauma of their early life experiences through their behaviour. We know that for people who are trying to understand this behaviour it is vital that we are able to share and reflect on our experiences so that we can develop the most effective response, and in turn meet the needs of each child. Our therapy team works collaboratively throughout all parts of our community. They provide a high level of support to the carers and fostering staff team through group and individual sessions, training and structured therapeutic thinking times.

Our assessment process

At the start of every child’s placement with us we complete a robust 12 week assessment process, which includes developing ongoing knowledge and understanding of the child as well as an attachment-based assessment (incorporating social integration) and Psychological and Psychiatric assessment as required. This assessment process will conclude in developing the child’s treatment plan which is devised by the fostering, school and therapy team. The Therapy Coordinator will also allocate a member of their team to the child. Please see our therapy section for more details.

What placements do we offer?

Channels and Choices Therapeutic Fostering in Kent provides a wide range of placements for children and young people of all ages and needs, these include:

  • Long term placements
  • Short term placements
  • Sibling groups
  • Respite placements
  • Assessment placements
  • Bridging placements
  • Solo placements
  • Unique Channels & Choices ‘Stepping Stone’ Placements (therapeutic residential to therapeutic Foster placements)

About Channels & Choices

Channels & Choices was founded by a group of social workers in 2005. Our therapeutic fostering service was an evolutionary development for Channels & Choices. We had built our reputation as a centre of excellence for therapeutic residential services over many years and recognised that many of the children in our care had made enough progress for them to move towards a foster family placement. We were also very aware that transitions have been extremely difficult for the children previously.

Read more about Channels & Choices’ journey so far.

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