Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care launches in Lowestoft

1 April 2013

Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) has been launched in Lowestoft to add to the range of services being offered to teenagers with complex behaviours.

In 2012 Norfolk and Suffolk County Council were awarded joint funding from the Department for Education to set up an innovative specialist fostering programme aimed specifically for young people in care aged 11 to 17.

The new MTFC team – known locally as Zipwire - has now been established with professionals from a range of backgrounds including the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils.

Jill Toal, the Programme Manager, said: “Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) was originally developed by Dr Patti Chamberlain and her colleagues at the Oregon Social Learning Center in the USA.  It draws heavily upon social learning theory and there is a strong emphasis on developing effective, behavioural interventions with troubled young people.   MTFC has been extensively trialled throughout the USA, the UK and other parts of northern Europe”. 

“Our local name for the project is ‘Zipwire’ because it denotes a different way of moving forward and that’s exactly what MTFC is.”

Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and young people, said: “I am delighted that this new service is now available for young people across Suffolk and Norfolk.

“Some of the real benefits to this type of fostering programme will enable young people with challenging behaviours to live in a family setting, which may not have previously been an option for them.”

Multidimensional Treatment Foster Carers are currently being recruited to the programme, and will provide a single placement for a young person for up to 12 months. Foster carers are specially trained and supported to offer an intensive, treatment package which aims to decrease the young person’s problem behaviours whilst increasing their levels of skill and confidence.  This prepares young people to move onto longer term placements either with their own families or with other foster carers. Weekly meetings with the team, 24 hour telephone ‘on call’ support and the structure of a clear programme are all things that foster carers in other parts of the country say are particularly helpful.  

The MTFC Zipwire team is now actively recruiting potential foster carers and would really like to hear from people who are thinking about fostering or from experienced carers who are interested in joining the new programme.

To find out more about the Zipwire programme please contact Suffolk’s Fostering Service on 0800 328 2148 or visit the website