Case Study

Connect B4 Correct supports children and young people who have been impacted by adverse childhood experiences and provide services for professional teams working with children, young people and families. As our client, you will benefit from our specialist experience in assessment and therapy, or from our consultation and training services.

Case Study: CM

CM is a black Afro Caribbean female who was born into a home where there was a history of domestic violence. Her first two years of life were marked with ongoing chaos and domestic violence resulting in CM’s father leaving. Mother then entered another relationship and became pregnant giving birth to another girl. The new partner targeted CM and was abusive to the mother, often involving the police.

When CM was 4 years old, she was removed by the local authority because of a black eye and concerns regarding the domestic violence between mother and her partner. CM’s sister joined her in local authority. Neither her mother nor mother’s new partner could provide an explanation for her black eye.

CM and her sister were placed together but after a while the local authority decided to return CM’s sister to the mother as her partner had left. CM really struggled with this decision, and she was very distressed that she had been left in foster care and blamed herself as not being good enough. CM’s behaviour was very challenging, and she was aggressive at home and in school where she was unkind to her peers, with whom she struggled socially. CM also was very angry at her mother’s partner as she blamed her for hurting her and her mother. She also was distressed that her father had disappeared out of her life.

CM had then gone through various breakdowns in foster homes and school.

CM then moved into her current foster home when she was six-year-old. CM’s behaviour continued to be challenging with her physically assaulting the foster parent, particularly targeting the foster mother. There continued to be difficulties at school, which often resulted in CM being sent home or being placed in isolation. CM developed a view that schools were not able to keep her safe and that there was something wrong with her. CM would take out her distress using violence, often physically attacking staff and her peers, running out of school, or simply refusing to enter the school.

CM would often refuse to go to school, physically attack the foster parents in the morning and after school, and she was refusing to go to sleep. CM was increasingly struggling on school mornings to the point she at times was defecating in the bath, destroying property such as pulling radiators off the wall and physically assaulting the foster parent in the car on the way to school making it unsafe to drive. There was a breakdown in communication between the school and the foster parents, where the school did not connect CM’s distress to the school and was locating it with the foster parents’ interactions.

The contact with her birth family was very distressing, her mother attended contact with her younger sister and even though she wanted to see her mother and sister she struggled with the feelings that were triggered.

The foster parents had moved between foster agencies trying to get the right support for her. At the time CM was no longer attending school due to her high levels of distress and the local authority were trying to find an appropriate school. The foster parents were exhausted and were asking for extra support to give them a break. CM had also been referred to the local child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) where she was provided with a small dose of anti-anxiety medication and an attempt was made to engage CM in therapy. CM had initially engaged but then refused to attend the CAMHS building claiming it did feel comfortable. CAMHS were unable to provide therapy in the home.

“evolve are a “whole team”. They do what they say they will do”

The foster parents joined the evolve foster agencies in February 2022, who then commissioned Connect B4 Correct to work with CM and the foster parents. Connect B4 Correct provided:
  • Life story work to help CM to connect with her cultural identity and make sense of the decisions that had been made around her history and to answer several questions she had been asking.
  • The foster parents attended a 14-week therapeutic parenting programme based on brain-based parenting and the P.A.C.E. model.
  • The foster parents ongoingly attend a group Reflective Therapeutic Foster parent fortnightly session.
  • CM attends weekly Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) in the home.
  • The mother foster parent was provided with EMDR to support her in processing traumatic experiences she had previously encountered whilst working as a foster parent, which has helped her respond in a regulated way, when CM becomes distressed.
  • Work with the birth mother to improve the contact.
  • Ongoing Network meetings.

CM has engaged in both the Life Story work and the EMDR and has begun to recognise and talk about her emotional states – this is in the context of in the first session offering to pay the therapist to leave.

CM’s physically aggressive behaviour, although still present, has started to reduce. She is engaging in an out of school programme and is enjoying all the activities. She has recently completed a two-hour assessment and she received an award for being the best reader.

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