November 30, 2023

Providing a Secure Base – giving foster parents skills for successful care

349 foster parents and carers completed our Providing a Secure Base training course in 2023. Besides learning the essentials of therapeutic care, carers had the opportunity to discuss problems and solve them together, applying what they were learning to their practical experience. The 18 courses, which took place over 2 days in person or 3 days online, reached carers in 10 Regions of Ukraine. 6 of the courses were supported by the Ukraine Education Platform with funds from UNICEF.

What is “Providing a Secure Base”? It is a model of care developed at the University of East Anglia which is used to train foster parents in countries such as Norway and the UK; it was introduced in Ukraine by Care in Action. Since 2019, our training has taken place in 19 regions of Ukraine for 1,309 caregivers, social workers and children’s rights specialists.

"I have already applied some of your practical advice from the training in our family. The programme itself is easy to understand and deep in content. It tells us that it is important for a child to feel safe, trusted and accepted, so that he or she can quickly adapt, develop and have a desire to learn something new." Tetiana, mother of a Family-Style Orphanage

At the heart of the Providing a Secure Base model is helping children to form secure close relationships, which helps them to feel competent to face future challenges successfully and meet their potential. It is based on Attachment Theory and principles of therapeutic care for children affected by abuse, separation, or loss. The goals of the training are:

  • To increase capabilities to care for a child and understand their needs
  • To provide parents with methods to help a child feel a sense of security, self-esteem, self-efficacy, ability to reflect on feelings, and hope for the future
  • To help foster parents successfully manage problematic situations


The Providing a Secure Base model is based on extensive research and authored by Dr Gillian Schofield and Dr Mary Beek. In 2017 Dr Beek visited Ukraine to give training with Care in Action.

The Providing a Secure Base framework includes five interacting components of care, which enable foster parents to effectively care for children who have been exposed to abuse. The methods provided help adults to understand their own emotions and manage their behaviour. Methods are given to help children to feel safe and learn to trust adults and manage their emotions. It can build a child’s self-esteem, positive communication, and can help children to understand that they can have two families (biological and foster). This model makes it possible for children to feel that they are capable, valued, accepted and confident family members.

"From the "Secure Base" training I realized how important it is to have a support network and an awareness of my own thoughts and emotions in order to better understand the children in my care. For children, we should be a container that accepts their emotions. We are responsible not only for our children, but also for our own physical and emotional health, which we must look after and be attentive to." - Svitlana, mother of a Family-Style Orphanage


When parents use effective parenting methods and see positive changes in their child's behavior and development, they feel a deep sense of satisfaction and pride in their parenthood. A good example is the Viktor foster family, seen here with Care in Action Program Manager Iryna Schemechko and Logistics Officer Vitalii Venger)


In 2023 the trainers who led the courses in Ukraine are Iryna Shemechko (from Care in Action), Oksana Kusiak, Maksym Nudha and Halyna Paniotko. These were held either online or in person in the Regions of Ivano-Frankivsk, Mykolaiv, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi, Rivne, Cherkasy, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv.

We would like to thank every one who donates to Care in Action, and the Ukrainian Educational Platform for funding 6 courses with support from UNICEF's Spilno project, for the opportunity to provide children with a secure foundation for growth.


Sponsor a child

You can sponsor a child in Ukraine or Malawi and change their life for the better with a monthly donation of €30. In this time of crisis more children need the security of regular sponsorship to support their education and meet their basic needs.