Pioneering video to promote positive parenting

Author: TACT

We are delighted that together with The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, we have been successful in submitting a bid to the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) in order to work together to increase adopters for harder to place children and develop an evidence-based post-adoption support intervention.

This exciting project will introduce an evidence-based intervention developed by Leiden University in the Netherlands, into the UK. Video-feedback Intervention to Promote Positive Parenting and Sensitive Discipline (VIPP–SD) is based on attachment theory and research, and has been developed as an intervention model with video feedback following rigorous testing in various populations of parents and children at risk. VIPP-SD is currently available on a national scale to all adopters in the Netherlands and has a firm evidence base, demonstrating positive outcomes for adoptive families.

It is a preventive intervention aimed at increasing sensitivity and improving discipline strategies of caregivers in order to encourage positive interaction between caregiver and child, and to prevent or reduce behavioural problems in children ages 0-6 years.

This project is truly innovative and evidence-based. The VIPP intervention is a supporting and empowering method of building resilience into adoptive placements. Interveners speak of this being one of the most powerful therapeutic tools they have ever delivered. The intervention is offered in the family’s home and is based upon the importance of the intervener establishing a collaborative, non-judgemental relationship with the primary carer.

By using video technology to record visits and caregiver/child interaction, the intervener can spend time studying reactions and pick up on signals and behaviours that could otherwise be missed in real time. The intervener is trained to identify these often tiny clues and work with families to find effective solutions to any challenging behaviour or attachment issues, sharing the footage to illustrate specific points.

Dr Rachel James, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Paul Dugmore, Senior Social Worker said:

“We’re delighted that we have been successful in this bid. The provision of this intervention will
develop adoptive parents’ capacity to sustain the placements of children in their care. We are hoping to show that through the increased confidence and parenting skills that the VIPP programme will engender, we can support a reduction in the number of placement breakdowns, and enable increased numbers of high-quality adopters to consider harder placing children.”

Andy Elvin CEO of TACT said:

“TACT is delighted to be working with the Tavistock Clinic to bring this evidence based service to the UK’s adoptive families. TACT is committed to high quality post-adoption support.”

Research shows that there are two aspects of parenting that play an important role in the development and continuation of behavioural problems in children: sensitivity and discipline. Sensitivity in parenting means noticing the child’s signals, interpreting these signals correctly and responding to them promptly and appropriately.

Discipline means setting boundaries and regulating unruly or disobedient behaviour. The combination of these two aspects is the basis of VIPP-SD, in which sensitivity, as well as sensitive discipline, are central themes.
Basic assumptions are creating a positive atmosphere, recognising the caregiver as the expert on the child, and emphasising and reinforcing positive interactions between caregiver and child.

The intervener works on the following areas to reach these goals:

  • increasing the observational skills of caregivers
  • increasing caregiver’s knowledge about the upbringing and development of children
  • increasing capacity of caregivers to empathise with their children
  • making parenting behaviour more effective by using sensitive responsiveness and sensitive discipline

A longer term goal of this project is to involve adopters in training to deliver the programme in recognition of the value of co-production and integrating a peer-support approach to post-adoption support.

For more information please contact: Matt Cooper, Press and Communications Officer on 020 8938 2571 or Andy Elvin, CEO of TACT on 0208 695 8142

Notes to Editors

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is a high performing mental health trust, which specialises in clinical and training services. The Trust services are focused on psychological, social and developmental approaches to understanding and treating emotional ill health and to promoting mental wellbeing. It has a national and international reputation based on excellence in service delivery and clinical innovation, and high quality clinical training and workforce development

TACT is dedicated to providing effective fostering and adoption services for children and young people in care. As a children’s charity, TACT also seeks to influence opinion and raise awareness of issues affecting children in care. TACT finds foster and adoptive families for some of the most vulnerable children and young people across the UK. Everything we do is for the benefit of children in care and on the fringes of care. Operating profits are invested back into service provision to ensure our carers and the children in our care receive the best support we can provide.