Social context

NB Names altered for anonymity

Looked after children come from a range of different backgrounds and have varied experiences of care. Each child has their own different and specific sets of needs. Their experiences before and during care makes them a particularly vulnerable group of young people. Children may enter care for all sorts of reasons, but many enter because they have been abused or neglected. These experiences can leave children with complex emotional and mental health needs, which can increase their vulnerability to abuse.


From the positive interaction she gained from working with the horses Josie has developed an awareness of how the horse communicates through behaviour and body language and recognised how others can show feelings and emotions through similar ways, enabling her to share thoughts and feeling in a constructive manner.
Josie continues to develop the ability to self-regulate her emotions by communicating her thoughts and feelings to others and recognising how channelling them into a positive allows minimal negative impact on her own behaviour and choices.
Josie has developed positive relationships between her peers both in centre and at school and able to maintain these away from the centre. Especially with her relationship with her mother and siblings
Josie engages in all elements of the session and made positive progress towards her achieving a Certificate in Employability Skills Level 1

Background to case

Josie is a Looked after Child who has minimal contact with her mother which often does not go well. She suffers from Epilepsy, having seizures that can be brought on by stress and takes medication for this. She struggles to build and maintain healthy relationships with her peers and prefers to attach herself to adults. She has also been known to abscond from her care home.

Process at The Seeds of Change

At the start, Josie struggled to self-motivate and engage in the sessions. She showed a lack of ability to share thoughts and feelings and a lack of awareness of how her behaviour can impact her choices.
To begin with, Josie regulated her emotions by removing herself from the group and struggled to share her feelings with others, which resulted in her becoming withdrawn or verbally aggressive.

As the group continued to work closely with the horses she chose to engage in tasks, sharing that she wished to support her peers. Her peer’s gratitude enabled her to grow in self-confidence and esteem.
Quickly, Josie focused her confidence into working with her chosen horse, who has his own behavioural challenges, allowing her to relate to them and recognise how she could change and adapt her approach to support his needs. With support, she was able to understand how she could apply this to her own needs at challenging times.

Josie was able to recognise the horse’s anxiety when in new surroundings, and how this was displayed in his behaviour and recognised the similarity to her feelings when moving care homes. With an awareness of how she could support the horse’s needs to enable him to develop confidence and trust, she was able to transfer this to her own needs when facing change.