What is the Teaching Family Model?


The Teaching Family Model (TFM) is designed to support children and young people aged 6 to 17 years old in a family-style setting.

Through their relationship with Teaching Family Carers, children and young people learn to:

  • develop proactive social behaviours
  • increase their social skills
  • achieve developmental milestones

What is the Teaching Family Model?

The Teaching Family Model requires two carers to live with and care for children whilst implementing a model that focuses on strengths, problem-solving and leadership.

Carers will be supported through a year-long training process to become accredited Teaching Family Model Practitioners.

Can I be a Teaching Family Carer?

We are looking for people who want to make a difference and provide a new evidence-based, therapeutic model for children in out-of-home care. To be a Teaching Family Carer, you must be:

In a stable and live-in partnership. For example a mother and daughter carer team, brother and sister, married or de facto partners, or long-term friends.

Ready to provide young people a safe and secure home environment, and looking for a lifestyle that compliments their desire to care for young people.

Able to attend an initial hands on and skills based 5 day training session.

Prepared to have at least one of the carers become a full time carer.

What support do Teaching Family Carers receive?

Weekly coaching sessions with their Berry Street TFM Consultant.

Support over the initial 12 month period to learn the TFM model and master new skills in providing stable and robust care for children.

A carer’s payment for providing care and reimbursements for the cost of living.

Teaching Family Model Enquiry Form

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Have you already discussed the Teaching Family Model with a partner, friend or family member?



Berry Street's first Teaching Family home


Sam* and Simon* are brothers aged 9 and 12. Hannah* and Stuart* were caring for Sam and Simon for a few months before introducing the Teaching Family Model. The boys’ behaviour has improved so much that Hannah and Stuart had capacity to provide care for another child, Janelle*, aged 6. 

Feedback from Carers – Hannah and Stuart

The model gives them a simple approach to difficult problems… 

TFM teaches carers to focus on the most difficult presenting issue for the individual young person. For example when Sam first entered his placement, he was running away from carers and school.

The first skill that Hannah and Stuart worked on with Sam was ‘being where you are meant to be’. Sam mastered this skill in a few months. When focusing on the most problematic behaviours, more minor issues also dissipate. 

Hannah says, “It helps with my self-regulation, to not try to fix all the problems at once. It also allows me to see progress, which is so motivating."


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*Names have been changed in the interest of privacy. The models and volunteers pictured are not connected to the case study.