Looked After and Adopted Children Clinic


Specialist services for Looked After and Adopted Children; Special Guardians and children on the edge of care

Beacon House is able to offer a range of bespoke and specialist services for carers and children who are in foster care; and for adopted children and their families. We are also able to provide evidence-based interventions for children who are on the edge of being taken into care because of concerns that they are not safe at home.

One of the unique aspects of Beacon House is that we are able to assess and address the child’s individual needs; the adult’s individual needs and also the attachment relationships within the family. Beacon House is a multi-disciplinary team which includes child and adult psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry, meaning that we can provide a comprehensive and joined up package of assessment and intervention for families. For information about how we work with Developmental Trauma please click here.

Adoption Support Fund

Beacon House provides a comprehensive adoption and special guardianship mental health service, funded on an individual basis by the Adoption Support Fund (ASF). We are currently working with over 200 adoptive and SGO families and we receive referrals from Local Authorities nationally. We accept referrals from any Local Authority if the child is living within Sussex.

Our service is based on a neuro-sequential model of therapy. This model states that work with children whose development has been compromised through traumatic experiences, attachment disruptions and other complex factors needs to start by intervening at the level of the ‘primitive brain’ and supporting stabilisation and sensory regulation. We might do this through Occupational Therapy or therapy which focusses on the body and sensory regulation.

The next phase, once children (and parents) are stable and more able to regulate, is work connected to ‘limbic brain functions’ – attachment, mentalization and emotional regulation. We might draw on DDP, Theraplay, EMDR or creative arts to achieve this milestone.

The third and final phase would be interventions working with the ‘cortical brain’ which aim to promote sense making, identify formation and cognitive processing of emotional information. Therapies here may include Family Therapy, Narrative Therapy or EMDR.

We begin every piece of intervention with a therapeutic needs assessment so that we can understand which level the child is operating at, and make a careful plan for a well-paced and well-targeted intervention. Our ASF interventions tend to be long term, and are usually based on a three-year treatment plan.

To hear what adopters, SGO carers and children have said about our service, please take a look at our testimonials page.

Adopters are very welcome to get in touch with us directly to make an informal enquiry about the services we offer. To make a referral for ASF funded work, the parents are asked to contact their adoption/SGO team who can refer directly into us.

Informal Family Care

Beacon House are privileged to be working closely with the WSCC Children’s Service Informal Family Care team, offering a specialist assessment and treatment service for children who are cared for by family members. This commissioned pilot project allows us to work closely with families and social workers to offer a trauma and attachment informed intervention service for families.


Promoting Positive Outcomes for Looked After and Adopted Children


We are dedicated to improving the life chances and outcomes for babies, children and young people in care, adopted or on the edge of care.

For children who are at risk of going in to care we work to promote:

  • The attachment relationship between the parent and the child
  • Positive mental health in the child
  • Positive mental health in the parent
  • The resolution of trauma in the parent
  • Resilience in the parent and the child
  • Safer parenting
  • The development of emotional regulation skills in the child and the parent
  • Positive relationships between the child and peers; school; and the extended social network.
  • The developmental needs of the child being understood and met

For children who are in care or adopted, we work to promote:

  • Stability within placements
  • The attachment relationship between the carers and child
  • Positive relationships with biological families, peers and the community
  • Positive mental health in both the child and carers
  • Emotional regulation in both the child and carers
  • Successful negotiation of transition to adult life
  • Minimising the potential for mental health difficulties in later life

Who do we work with?

Foster carers Adoptive parents Biological families Family carers Social workers Family Support Workers Fostering support workers Educational staff Residential care workers Health care professionals

When can we be most helpful?

If at any point within the process of transition through the care system professionals are concerned about the mental health or emotional well-being of a child or young person, we are happy to offer an assessment and support. There are, however, particular points in the pathway when Local Authorities or parents/carers may consider our involvement:

  • When children are at risk of being placed in Local Authority Care
  • When foster or adoptive families are at risk of breakdown
  • When matching the needs of children with carers
  • When young people are experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties whilst within their adoptive or care placement
  • When considering rehabilitation of children to the care of their biological family

What do we offer?

Specialist assessments

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Within Beacon House we have psychotherapists and psychologists who are specialists in attachment, developmental trauma, fostering and adoption and adults with complex trauma. We are able to offer assessments in a range of areas relevant to children who are or have been under Local Authority care. These include:

  • Mental health in the child or the adult
  • Internal world assessment of the child
  • Assessment of the attachment relationship
  • Family functioning
  • Parenting capacity and capacity to change
  • Assessment of risk of harm in parents
  • Cognitive functioning in children and adults
  • Therapeutic and/or placement needs assessments
  • Educational psychology assessment
  • Psychiatric assessment

We offer a range of expert witness services to the Family Courts in addition to the assessments described above, see here for more information.

All assessments include a pre-assessment consultation with the key adults; a series of appointments for the assessment phase which is likely to include interviews, observations and psychological testing; and a feedback session with the key adults where recommendations can be explored.

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Specialist interventions directly with the family

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We offer a range of interventions which specifically promote the attachment relationship between the parent/carer and the child. Our therapists draw on the following ways of working:

  • Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)
  • Theraplay
  • Systemic family psychotherapy

We also offer a number of therapies which directly address the child or the adult’s mental health needs; unresolved trauma; emotional and behavioural difficulties and emotional dysregulation, including:

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Psychological treatment for parents in the child protection system

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At Beacon House we recognise that parents of children under Children’s Social Care often need individual psychological support in their own right. We are able to work in partnership with Local Authorities to provide mental health assessment and intervention for parents where care proceedings have been issued; or where children have been removed permanently from their care. In our experience, we find that without the parent’s unmet needs being addressed, the family often do not have the best chance possible to remain together, remain safe and meet their unique potential. We draw on a range of evidence based treatments to work with parents and we feed into ongoing child protection procedures.

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Consultations to professionals

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Sometimes the most helpful intervention is for the professionals around the family to have the opportunity to broaden their thinking and reflect on the work they are doing. Questions that professionals often bring to consultations include:

  • Why is this family remaining so stuck despite multiple interventions?
  • What is underlying this child’s disruptive behaviour within this family and how can we support him?
  • What needs to happen for this family to prevent a placement breakdown?
  • What has not been tried with this family that could be tried?
  • How can we promote the emotional wellbeing of this child?
  • What are the needs of this child and how can they be met?
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We are able to offer training to professionals, foster carers and adoptive parents on a number of different topics.

These include:

  • Attachment
  • Developmental trauma
  • Parent-infant mental health
  • Therapeutic parenting
  • Parental mental health
  • Building resilience
  • Looking after the self
  • Transition and loss

For more information about training please get in touch.

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Beacon House Psychological Services Ltd
Registered No: 09205920
Registered at: Cardiff (England & Wales)
Registered office address: Office AD5, Littlehampton Marina, Ferry Road, Littlehampton BN17 5DS

Copyright © Shoshanah Lyons 2015. All rights reserved.

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