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Behind the Teaching Family Model (TFM) is a team of dedicated and highly trained practitioners who are doing their best to ensure children and young people are safe, hopeful and thriving.

Berry Street’s team of certified TFM practitioners is currently supporting 42 children and young people across our nine homes.

Teaching Family Model Practitioner of the Year

Every year, we celebrate the achievements and contributions of our exceptional practitioners by recognising a Practitioner of the Year who has gone above and beyond in supporting young people and embodies Berry Street’s values.

We’re delighted to announce this year’s Practitioner of the Year is Peter Taylor.

Peter has worked in our residential program for almost 10 years across Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri Country. He joined Berry Street in 2013 as a residential care worker and worked his way up to the role of house supervisor. Three years ago, Peter was appointed lead practitioner of our first TFM home in South-East Victoria and then, most recently, became acting team leader for the region.

The Teaching Family Model, based on social learning theory and backed by more than 40 years of evidence, continues to be our flagship program to reimagine the system and transform residential care. Over the past five years, we’ve trained more than 300 professionals and carers in the model.

Over his long career with Berry Street, Peter has witnessed many changes to the residential care sector.

The journey to and through the Teaching Family Model program was not without its challenges; it required self-evaluation, preparedness for change and to realise the potential for a new era in residential practice.

Peter Taylor Teaching Family Model Practitioner

TFM Practitioners help create lasting change for young people

The Teaching Family Model is an innovative, trauma-informed model of residential care for children and young people who’ve experienced significant or repeated trauma. Up to 4 children and young people live together in a house, supported by TFM practitioners 24 hours a day in a family-style setting.

The practitioners use teaching interactions and role modelling to build positive relationships with the young people and help them to develop skills.

These important life skills will help young people to navigate the world in healthy ways to reach their full potential.

The trauma-informed model helps children and young people to identify stressors and develop self-regulation techniques.

The role of the TFM practitioner is to use the model to create lasting behavioural change for young people.

Peter says practitioners must be prepared to move out of their comfort zone and be willing to adjust, listen, learn and apply new practice methods and tools.

“In our Teaching Family Model home, the practitioners have created a culture of accepting feedback from others so we can identify when we are falling into traditional residential ideology. By ‘ideology’, I mean the institutionalised responses to young people that focus on negative behaviour more than strengths,” said Peter.

Peter will get the opportunity to attend the 45th Annual Teaching Family Association Conference next month in Indianapolis, USA. Congratulations, Peter!

Help us expand the Teaching Family Model

We’ve already seen many positive impacts and significant improvements among children and young people in our TFM homes, including reduced trauma symptoms and improved behaviour and school attendance, so they can start to learn and thrive.

We must continue expanding the model across all our residential care homes, so more children and young people across Victoria can experience the life-changing benefits.