University Lecturer highlights impact of childhood trauma at House of Lords panel discussion

Date: Monday 18th September, 2023

The importance of building trust and developing supportive relationships among children who have been exposed to adversity and trauma was highlighted at a panel event, held at the House of Lords. 

Dr Vivienne Dacre, Programme Leader of the FdA in Therapeutic Childcare, at Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University, was invited to take part in the panel discussion to explore how the Therapeutic Childcare standards impact the lives of those who have experienced trauma.  

She was invited to attend by the Institute of Recovery from Childhood Trauma (IRCT) as Wrexham University is one of only three providers of the Therapeutic Childcare course in the UK.  

The discussion which focussed on what skills are needed to deliver Therapeutic Childcare, as well as highlight the development and review of childcare standards, will subsequently form the basis of developing a set of policies and further standards relating to the care of children, who have experienced trauma.  

Dr Dacre said the panel event provided “crucial opportunity” to refocus and further enhance the services that support the most vulnerable children in society, including those who are in the looked-after care system and care leavers.  

She said: “It was a privilege to be invited along to take part in this important discussion relating to children, who have encountered trauma and separation loss.

“In the field, there is widespread agreement about the developmental impact of childhood exposure to adversity and trauma. During the discussion, we on the panel, highlighted the importance of building trust and developing safe and supportive relationships.  

“We also used the opportunity to shine a light on the vital role that foster carers and residential carers play in terms of building those relationships and advocating for those children in the looked-after system.

“The session emphasised an aspiration to see those working in Therapeutic Childcare getting the recognition they deserve, and offered a great deal of exploration of what training for the childcare workforce should look like.” 

Dr Caroline Hughes, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Social and Life Sciences at Wrexham University, added: “Congratulations to Dr Vivienne Dacre for representing the institution at this important panel event, held at the House of Lords. 

“As one of only three providers of the Therapeutic Childcare course in the UK, we are proud to be a prominent voice for this highly specialist area of childcare, which works with the most vulnerable children in our society who are dealing with the impact of trauma.

“This particular discussion links in with our work as an institution, in partnership with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Hub Wales, to become the first trauma informed university in the UK. 

“Once again, a huge well done to Viv for her involvement in this discussion, which recognises her expertise and important contribution to knowledge in the field.”