Addressing the whole child with TBRI®
By Andria Fontenot
Our family has fostered for over four years and we have welcomed children into our home ages 8 months all the way to 21 years of age. Getting to love these children, and their families, has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. Each child comes into care with unique experiences surrounding their circumstances. Because of their histories, children from hard places have changes in their bodies, brains, behaviors, and belief systems.
While a variety of parenting strategies may be successful in typical circumstances, children from hard places need caregiving that meets their unique needs and addresses the whole child. This is where Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) comes into practice. TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children.
This year, I had the opportunity to become certified as a TBRI Practitioner via Zoom. (I am thankful for technology during a pandemic!) TBRI practitioners train caregivers to see the “whole child” in their care and help that child reach his highest potential. As a foster momma, it’s been a vital part of our foster care journey.
As a director of a foster care nonprofit, TBRI has played a crucial role in helping me support foster parents across our community. I help caregivers see behaviors through the “trauma lens” which allows them to understand the “why” behind these behaviors and helps them on their journey to healing. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent, supporting the foster care community, or TBRI®, please connect with us at fosteringcommunity.org.
Andria Fontenot is Co-Founder & Exec. Director of Fostering Community. She and her husband of 14 years, Matthew, have two beautiful daughters. They became a foster family 4 years ago with the desire to see families through the restoration and healing process.