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Carers and children
by Julie Stirpe

What is the value of the TIER System for supporting looked after children in residential care?: An introduction

In this article, we will be discussing the TIER system, a new framework that provides a bespoke working model for the care and management of residential provisions for looked after children. It’s designed to be much more effective at meeting their intended outcomes of growth, recovery from complex trauma, and preparation for independent living. 

TIER stands for Trauma-Informed Emotional Regulation, which is the most basic cornerstone of what we aim to achieve for ourselves and subsequently impart to the children in our care. The TIER system was devised by our Director of Practice Innovation Julie Stirpe, in tandem with expert colleagues working in the industry, as well as our sister company Life Change Care, who have been putting it into active practice for the last few years.  

Tier System

Image of Tier System



The reasoning behind this project was motivated by the belief that the provision of social care for looked after children in the UK is significantly outdated in its approach to supporting the young people that are dependent upon it, as compared to other parts of the world. This is the case because there is no widespread initiative to accommodate contemporary research into neurobiology as the root of the behavioural & social challenges which affect them. 

We wanted to pioneer better care for children in the care system using contemporary knowledge of neuroscience. I was compelled to address a clear extant need, which I identified over my career of 30+ years as a psychotherapist and expert witness to the family justice system. Through Life Change Care, we have been able to combine our outside psychotherapeutic expertise and apply neurosequential assessment skills to advance how residential childcare is conducted. 

As such, we have spent the last few years developing it, putting it into practice, and refining each iteration of the model. At this stage, we are confident in sharing our positive results, in the hopes that it will catch on and drastically improve the lives and prospects of children, young people and families currently involved in social care across the country. 

It’s already helped us achieve great strides in many of the outcomes that we have identified for the children within our own care, and is enabling us to provide a much greater quality of care by working smarter, not harder. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to release a series of brief articles which will each focus on a different foundational aspect of the TIER system, how it works, and why it stands to be quite so impactful. 

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