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Care-experienced youth are more likely than their peers to present with earlier, more severe and more chronic mental health difficulties. This case study presents the development of a Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) group for young people who do not live with their birth families due to an early history of abuse and neglect, delivered by psychologists in a social care service. Eight adolescent girls (aged 12–16), who lived in foster, adoptive or kinship care, attended eight face-to-face weekly sessions of a ‘Building Your Self-Confidence’ group. Most of them attended all sessions, found the group ‘enjoyable’ and ‘interesting’, and reported finding it helpful to improve their self-confidence at least to some extent (‘a little’ or ‘yes’). On standardised measures, half of the caregivers reported improvements in their child’s mental health but none of the adolescents did themselves. These initial data pave the way to further optimise the application of group CFT for care-experienced youth and inform psychological treatment innovation in youth more generally.

Original publication




Journal article


Adoption and Fostering

Publication Date





400 - 414