Hello. I’m Louise Flowers-Coburn and i am currently working for Northamptonshire County Council as a Learning & Development Advisor. I was a team leader at Thornby Hall and was employed from 1999-2006. My current role involves co-ordinating the Social Work graduation programme for frontline practitioners and managers. I would be interested in liaising with any other professionals who are involved with development of social care staff in LA’s and keen to share ideas on how to implement therapeutic processes and training into this area of work.


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  1. Dear Louise,

    Please forgive me for not responding sooner to your post. I would be very interested to discuss this area of work further with you.

    Over the years, there has been a group of us – child psychotherapists – who have regularly provided consultation around looked after children to LA social workers. Sometimes this has taken the form of ongoing fortnightly or once-monthly work discussion meetings, with fieldwork or fostering and adoption teams, and also with residential staff in children’s homes – and I know that this has been very much appreciated by the teams involved. It has also served the purpose of helping team members to work more cohesively together. I’m sure that you’ll recognise something of this model from our work at Thornby Hall!

    More recently, because of cuts in funding, I find that external consultancy tends to be used to help out around particular cases that are causing huge dissension in the professional network: I have been involved with several such cases. I tend to think that it would cost less to have regular consultancy, because, by the time such consultancy is bought in, the difficulties have greatly exacerbated: children have lost their placements or been put at grave risk, adults have polarised, and this has sometimes led to expensive and stressful legal disputes that could have been avoided by careful thinking at an earlier stage.

    Regular consultancy is not usually regarded as training. But part of my hope for APPCIOS is that it can be seen as a component leading to a counselling qualification. The training that we have set up at Greater London Fostering has been built on the basis of regular consultancy input of the kind I’ve described.

    It would be good to hear about the input you have been providing to the managers and practitioners you are training.

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