Caring for the Vulnerable Child

VC-Resource setEvery child wants to be seen and heard and known, and they need that connection most with the adults who are responsible for their care. Through the Vulnerable Child (VC) resources and healing model, MTS equips organizations and churches to wrap community-based education and support around parents and caregivers while they care for the children God has given them, whether those children are fostered or adopted or natural-born or neighbors or grandchildren or …

The Vulnerable Child Initiative is a two-generation healing model that helps families—children and parents—in finding healing rhythms with each other. We believe it is impossible to help a child well without also supporting the systems that impact the child.

Bessel van der Kolk and other trauma experts inform us that people possess two distinct forms of self-awareness: one that keeps track of self across time and one that registers self in the present. For children who have experienced layers of loss and disrupted early attachments, they carry an outer story that is offered up to others. This story is most often expressed through their maladaptive attitudes and behaviors. If wounded children are not helped and continue to tell their distorted story long enough it becomes the one they and others will believe—as if it contains the whole truth about who they are. This is a tragedy that must not happen on our watch.

The Vulnerable Child Initiative helps children integrate and reconcile these two stories while they’re young, while at the same time, facilitating wholeness for the child’s parents and caregivers. VC empowers and supports existing connections for children and parents while helping to make the parent-child bond as strong and nurturing as possible.

VC Curricula objectives are to:

  • Provide parents and caregivers with trauma and Scripture informed guidance in loving the whole child
  • Increase emotional competency in both children and parents by expanding one’s emotional vocabulary and expressive skills
  • Facilitate two-generation, integrative healing for children and parents by utilizing a healing timeline and expressive art
  • Teach and encourage empathy in both child and parent through instruction, modeling, and practice
  • Encourage secure attachments between child and parent(s) through the acquisition of emotional/spiritual skills that encourage deeper heart connections that are reinforced through modeling and practice

Caring for the Vulnerable Child: Welcoming Children Who Have Experienced Neglect, Abandonment & Abuse

Caring for the Vulnerable Child is the foundational resource of a four piece, ten-module curricula that unfolds a linear, connecting sequence including educational lesson plans (1st – 3rd grade; 4th – 6th grade) and workbooks for both children and adults.

It addresses the difficult issues that come up for parents and caregivers: nightmares, anger, defiance, distrust, lying, fighting, hyper-arousal, and emotional constriction. Caring for the Vulnerable Child book and workbook incorporate creative activities, games, grounding exercises and expressive art reflections to guide and equip parents/caregivers in establishing vital connections with children where they have not existed before.

A Parent’s Journey to the Heart of a Child (caregiver or parent workbook)

A Parent’s Journey to the Heart of a Child is the companion workbook to the book Caring for the Vulnerable Child: Welcoming Children Who Have Experienced Neglect, Abandonment & Abuse. This parent/caregiver workbook coordinates chapter by chapter with the child’s workbook, so that parents are supported and prepared to process the children’s workbook with their child. A Parent’s Journey to the Heart of a Child will facilitate deeper connections between vulnerable children and the adults who love them by encouraging parents to: look back and reflect thoughtfully on their own childhood experiences; look inside to integrate deeply buried pain so that, they can look out and more effectively connect to the heart of their child.

The VC adult book and workbook can be utilized in multiple contexts: in churches as class curricula; in organizations for staff training; in counselor offices as a supplemental resource; in homes as a parent resource.

My Journal for the Good & Hard Stuff (child workbook)

My Journal for the Good & Hard Stuff is a ten-chapter workbook for children that utilizes original art and interactive exercises to unlock a vulnerable child’s heart so that deeply buried pain can be expressed, and thus understood and responded to, by those the child trusts and loves. Beautifully designed pages draw a child in while the expressive art exercises help him or her heal.

The Vulnerable Child Teacher’s Guide

The Vulnerable Child Teacher’s Guide is a 234-page resource that directs teachers, counselors and parents through eleven interactive lessons that coordinate with the VC workbooks for both children and adults. This resource contains two separate units for children in primary grades (1st – 3rd) and intermediate grades (4th – 6th).

Each lesson requires approximately 1 1/2 hours and includes:

  • Black line masters for posters
  • Teaching/parenting prompts
  • Detailed, direct instruction: I Do
  • Practice exercises and interactive games: We Do
  • Activities for classroom and home: You Do
  • Scripture anchors of truth