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Meet Tara, our newest Forum member

Meet Tara, our newest Forum member

Posted by: lirvine | 01 March 2019| Categories: Team News

“As a clinical psychologist specialising in child and adolescent mental health, I have worked in many different services, including outpatient mental health teams, psychiatric inpatient units, a specialist NHS trauma service, and local authority child protection and adoption services.

Over my career, I have developed a special interest in trauma and neglect and how the impact of these kinds of early adversities can affect a child in far-reaching ways. Seeing how these difficulties often continue to impact that person throughout their life, I became driven to understand how people working in this field can help – at every stage of that person’s life. I am passionate about improving the care experience and journey for children in care.

My own journey has included working directly with children who are looked after, foster carers and prospective adoptive parents, as well as working more indirectly with the professional teams around children (e.g. providing consultation to teams involved in the permanence process to reduce delays in children finding the right, stable, long-term care placement for them).

As well as this kind of therapeutic work, I have lectured other professionals and university students on topics including child protection, developmental trauma, and neglect. I have designed and supervised research examining psychosis, anxiety, and depression in adolescents and young adults, exploring the reasons for delays and the experiences of social workers in the permanence process.

I am currently involved in research examining parents’ experiences of hearing their child make a disclosure of abuse by someone else. Working in a specialist trauma service, the biggest part of my job was hearing people tell their stories of abusive and neglectful experiences and helping them to process what had happened and recover from them.

I saw how powerful it was for people not just to be heard, but really listened to, believed, and respected.

Sadly, my experience has also taught me that, all too often, people have tried to tell their stories of being in care and have either not been believed or have had their experiences dismissed, minimised, or covered up by people and organisations. For lots of very understandable reasons, others have kept their experiences to themselves, often for many years.

Hearing about the work of the National Confidential Forum therefore felt like a lightbulb moment for me. As a Forum member, my role is to listen to your testimony and support you in a warm, genuine, and respectful way as you tell me your story of being in care.

To be involved in a process where our only agenda is to really listen to and acknowledge a person’s experiences of being in care – and knowing that the testimonies we hear will make a real difference to the future experiences of children – is an absolute privilege.”

If you would like to learn more about the Forum, please get in touch.

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