Price includes a copy of the SaMC Guidelines, the user guide, certificate licensing you to use the copyrighted Guidelines once the course is complete, reflective practice exercises, 3.5 hours of CPD.

  • £85.00

    including VAT


Is contact safe and meaningful for the child?

This evidence-based online course draws on contemporary attachment theory and the latest research into childhood trauma and contact arrangements to consider the potential of contact as a resource to facilitate the child’s developmental recovery. It explains the Safe and Meaningful Contact (SaMC) guidelines (Burke and Woodhouse, 2021) which identify key information decision makers require in order to make trauma responsive decisions related to the child’s contact arrangements. The course helps participants:

  • Understand how contact has the potential to help or hinder the child’s recovery from past trauma;

  • Use the Safe and Meaningful Contact (SaMC) guidelines that identify clinical information decision makers require to determine whether contact is safe and meaningful to the child;

  • Identify factors associated with the child, birth relative and carer that determine the potential benefits and risks of contact;

  • Identify the support needs of the child, birth relative and carer to ensure contact maximises its potential to facilitate the child’s recovery needs.

The Safe and Meaningful Contact Guidelines provide an evidence-based framework that:

  • Informs recommendations and decision making about contact arrangements for children in local authority or permanent care arrangements,

  • Organises information about the child, carer and birth relative around the potential of contact to achieve purposes associated with the child or young person’s developmental recovery,

  • Identifies how contact can be appropriately supported and managed to ensure it safely benefits the child or young person’s recovery from traumatic life experiences,

  • Offers a universal process for practitioners to evidence clinical reasoning about contact arrangements.

Who is the training for?

  • Practitioners such as social workers and mental health professionals can use the SaMC guidelines to make recommendations about contact arrangements and identify support needs to ensure contact is maximising its potential to play a role in the child’s developmental recovery;

  • Legal decision makers can use the SaMC guidelines to determine whether they have the information required to make trauma informed decisions related to the child’s contact arrangements;

  • The SaMC guidelines can be used to help birth relatives and carers (such as adopters, kinship carers, special guardians, and foster carers) understand the benefits and risks associated with what contact means to their child.

Course content

    1. Welcome!

    2. Aims and overview of the course.

    3. Contact Quiz!

    1. The context of contact.

    2. Understanding what harm has been done to the child: Attachment trauma.

    3. The child’s recovery needs.

    4. The impact of past harmful relationships on present relationships.

    5. Helping the child integrate their traumatic past.

    6. The impact of contact on the child’s recovery.

    7. Reflective practice: Exercise 1.

    1. Supporting contact to ensure it is safe and meaningful.

    2. Processes to support contact.

    3. Support for the child: Preparation.

    4. Support for the carer: Preparation.

    5. Support for the birth relative: Preparation.

    6. Support for the child, carer and birth relative: Facilitation.

    7. Support for the child, carer and birth relative: Debrief.

    8. Limitations of support.

    9. Supporting the support system.

    10. Contact Quiz answers.

    11. Reflective practice: Exercise 2.

    1. The development of the SaMC guidelines.

    2. The outcome of the SaMC guidelines.

    3. The SaMC Profile Table.

    4. Information gathering to inform the use of the guidelines.

    5. Exercise: Applying the guidelines to your case (whether in a legal context, a child you are assessing or a child for whom you care).

    6. Case example.

    7. Purpose 1: Promoting the child’s placement stability.

    8. Purpose 1: Child.

    9. Purpose 1: Carer.

    10. Purpose 1: Birth Relative.

    11. Purpose 1: SaMC Profile.

    12. Purpose 2: Managing loss/separation.

    13. Purpose 2: Child.

    14. Purpose 2: Carer.

    15. Purpose 2: Birth Relative.

    16. Purpose 2: SaMC Profile.

    17. Purpose 3: Helping the child understand why they are in care.

    18. Purpose 3: Child.

    19. Purpose 3: Carer.

    20. Purpose 3: Birth relative.

    21. Purpose 3: SaMC Profile.

    22. Part 4: Helping the child integrate their past.

    23. Purpose 4: Child.

    24. Purpose 4: Carer.

    25. Purpose 4: Birth Relative.

    26. Purpose 4: SaMC Profile.

    27. Purpose 5: Helping the child understand their identity.

    28. Purpose 5: Child.

    29. Purpose 5: Carer.

    30. Purpose 5: Birth relative.

    31. Purpose 5: SaMC Profile.

    32. Planning, supporting and reviewing contact.

    33. Case example: Outcome.

    34. Conclusion.

    35. Please complete the course feedback survey.

    36. SaMC Guidelines Course Completion Quiz.

About this course

  • £85.00
  • 57 lessons
  • 2 hours of video content

Course tutor

Dr Chris Burke, Clinical Psychologist

Chris regularly provides expert witness psychological opinion within family law. He is frequently instructed to assess the impact of residential and contact arrangements upon the psychological wellbeing of the child. Chris developed the Safe and Meaningful Contact (SaMC) Guidelines, along with his colleague Dr Anne Woodhouse, with the aim of placing the needs of the child at the centre of decision making.

“…well-supported, good quality contact can contribute to children and young people’s sense of identity, mitigate issues around attachment and help children to find a sense of closure and understanding of the reasons for their placement.”

Iyer et al, 2020.

"Contact alone will not achieve positive well-being outcomes for children. The overall purpose of contact should therefore be understood as enabling the safe and meaningful involvement of the birth family. This approach to contact also involves acknowledging when contact with certain family members is not appropriate because of risk of abuse or re-traumatisation". Iyer et al, 2020.

Upcoming training events!

Add your email to the mailing list to get the latest updates on courses.

Thank You


For additional information or enquiries contact Dr Chris Burke:

[email protected]

Tel: +44 7751062317