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This clinician-friendly guide presents a model for engaging the most challenging children and families who are served by the child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, and special educations systems. These children are among the most troubled clients that treatment providers will ever encounter. They have been failed by every adult, every treatment modality, and every system of care that they have encountered. Unconditional Care, a breakthrough guide from the founder and clinical director of California's Seneca Center for Children and Families, offers both a theoretical model and practical guidelines for working with this most difficult group of children. The approach weaves together attachment theory and learning theory into a coherent relationship-based intervention strategy built around a no-fail policy: a child can never be discharged from a program for exhibiting the behaviors that resulted in the placement.
Professionals working with these families instead focus on re-building relationships that teach children to secure safe and supportive relationships with caregivers using new behaviors and skills to replace the destructive ones that have, until now, organized their worldview. The concept of unconditional care allows, for the first time, a safe space for youth to reconstruct their perceptions of themselves and those who care for them. Rich case examples, quick-reference bullets and boxes, and sample assessment and planning worksheets make this a handy clinical reference and training tool for mental health and child welfare professionals.
John S. Sprinson, PhD, is Clinical Director of Seneca Center for Children.
Ken Berrick is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Seneca Center for Children.