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The ATTACH team

Therapeutic work with adoptive, special guardianship and foster care families.

What the ATTACH Team is

Our therapeutic team is made up of clinical psychologists, senior practitioners in social work and an educational psychologist. We work with adoptive, special guardianship and foster care families in Oxfordshire.

Our work uses attachment theory to understand the needs of children who have been neglected or abused and who no longer live with their birth parents.

How to make a referral to the ATTACH Team

Referrals can be made to us by your social worker through our shared computer system. Adoptive parents and special guardians can refer themselves to us using the referral form (docx format, 91Kb). We do not accept referrals directly from schools.

How we decide what is right for your child and you

Before we meet with you we send you some questionnaires to complete to help us begin to understand your difficulties. When we first meet with you for an assessment this will take about an hour and a half.

We will talk to you about the difficulties you are experiencing, the nature of the attachment relationship between you and your child, the family history of both you and your child and what you would like to change.

To understand further your child’s view of themselves and their world we might meet with your child, either to talk with them or to use a play-based assessment.

We may talk in more detail about your early life experiences using questionnaires and structured interviews.

Once we have met with you and developed a joint understanding of the difficulties your family is experiencing we will discuss what we assess is the best way for us to work with you.

Services for professionals

We offer consultation and a wide range of training to colleagues within and outside of the department. 

Contact the team to discuss arranging:

  • consultation for professionals
  • training
  • supervision
  • service liaison
  • consultation on considering whether to place siblings together or
  • apart.

Services for professionals (pdf format, 235Kb)

Education and schools

The ATTACH Team can also provide advice and consultation to schools for children with whom we are involved.

Why do we need to see you as well as your child

We are often asked: Why don’t you just work with my child? There are situations where we may work with children and young people individually.

In our team, we think about your child’s difficulties both developing in the context of their early relationships and now continuing within their current relationships. We believe you need to work within key relationships to bring about the change you desire, helping your child build safe and trusting attachments that can nurture all aspects of their functioning.

Working within relationships helps a child build security while simultaneously processing past trauma.

Other services we work with

We work with the Children We Care For and Leaving Care social work teams, and the Phoenix Team. We also work closely with CAMHS, the Permanence Support Team, schools, the Virtual School, the SEN Team and the Educational Psychology Service. We may also liaise with other professionals involved, such as occupational therapists or speech and language therapists.

Seeing other services

Families working with us may also be open to CAMHS, the Permanence Support Team, Educational Psychology or integrated services such as Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy and the Communication and Interaction Team. It is helpful for us to know who else you are working with.

It is usually not helpful for your child to be engaging in psychological therapy with different professionals at the same time and we would discuss with you and other professionals how we can fit into the support you are receiving.

Sharing your information

We are part of Oxfordshire social services and store information and documents on our shared secure computer system.  We do not share information with outside agencies without your permission unless we are concerned about your safety or someone else’s safety.

How long it takes

Our waiting time for appointments is usually around three months from the referral being accepted. Referrals are discussed weekly so we can decide quickly if we are the right service for you and your child.

How long do we work with people?

The length of time varies from person to person depending on the agreed goals and type of work.  Work may vary in length from a single consultation to a series of therapeutic sessions over several months.  Some parents and carers attend our group programmes, which vary from 6 to 14 sessions.

Working with schools

If your child is experiencing difficulties in education as well as at home we can provide advice and consultation to schools as part of our work with you and your family. Our educational psychologist may also become involved, working closely with the clinician working with you and your child as well as with the school. We do not accept referrals when the concerns are only related to school. In that situation, the school should contact their educational psychologist.

Resources and downloads

Fostering, adoption and special guardians services

Useful information and advice

Resources during the pandemic

Information and resources to help you during the coronavirus pandemic

Books to share with children

  • Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae - on individuals all having strengths.
  • Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian - A story about a boy who thrives with a new carer after abuse and neglect.
  • The Invisible String by Patrice Karst - on separation and love.
  • Good Days Bad Days (Anholt Family Favourites) Laurence Anholt and Catherine Anholt - on the ups and downs of life.
  • Not Again, Little Owl by Vivien Norris - on moving placement.
  • Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival - on anxiety management.
  • The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself by Ali Redford, Plum Stickleberry, Kara Simpson (Illustrations) - a book about children who put barriers up in relationships.
  • How Hattie Hated Kindness: A Story for Children Locked in Rage of Hate by Margot Sunderland, Nicky Armstrong 
  • Owl Babies by Martin Waddell - on abandonment, secure attachment.
  • The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas - a book about feelings.
  • I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - a book of love and encouragement.
  • The Tracy Beaker Books by Jacqueline Wilson - a book about a girl’s experience of being in care (may be enjoyed by older children).

Books for parents, carers and professionals

  • Creating loving attachments: Parenting with PACE to nurture confidence and security in the troubled child. Kim Golding.
  • Principles of Attachment-Focused Parenting: Effective strategies to care for children. Dan Hughes.
  • Attachment, trauma and resilience: Therapeutic caring for children. Kate and Brian Cairns.
  • Parenting a child with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Dan Hughes.
  • Everyday parenting with security and love. Kim Golding
  • The Whole-Brain Child. Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.
  • New Families, Old Scripts - A Guide to the Language of Trauma and Attachment in Adoptive Families. Caroline Archer and Christine Gordon.
  • Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore.
  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
  • Using Stories to Build Bridges with Traumatized Children - Creative Ideas for Therapy, Life Story Work, Direct Work and Parenting. Kim S. Golding.
  • The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting: Strategies and Solutions. Sarah Naish.
  • Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Jeanette Winterson.
  • Helping Your Child with Fears and Worries; 2nd Edition: A self-help guide for parents. Cathy Creswell and Lucy Willetts.
  • When Adults Hurt Children: Helping Children Heal from Abuse. Marge Eaton Heegaard.
  • Healing Relational Trauma with Attachment-Focused Interventions: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy with Children and Families. Daniel A. Hughes, Kim S. Golding and Julie Hudson.
  • Dealing with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Mary Mather.
  • A Therapeutic Treasure Box for Working with Children and Adolescents with Developmental Trauma: Creative Techniques and Activities (Therapeutic Treasures Collection). Dr Karen Treisman.