Support for children moving families

By Your Side is an attachment and trauma-informed model for supporting children and the adults who care for them when a child has to move family. ​

By Your Side Model

The model was developed following many years’ experience supporting vulnerable children.

It is based on our growing understanding of the impacts of developmental trauma, how profoundly difficult it is for everyone when a child has to move family and how hard it can be to keep the child’s experience in mind.

By Your Side provides a clear framework for this complex and vital work.

About the model

By Your Side combines Theraplay® with DDP-based narrative work to provide helpful ritual and consistency as well as supporting the child to understand what is happening to them. The same practitioner is involved throughout, forming a bridge for the child. 

It is suitable for a range of contexts including the move from foster care to adoption, a change in foster placements and transitioning children home to birth parents. The model has also been used to support moves from residential setting to foster care and to help children re-integrate into school. 


By Your Side was developed by Vivien Norris in 2012 and has since been successfully used to facilitate multiple complex transitions. Practitioners from across the UK and beyond have undertaken this training with excellent feedback. We have also found creative ways to manage long-distance transitions using online work.

Introducing By Your Side

Watch Dr. Vivien Norris introduce By Your Side

By Your Side training

By Your Side is a coherent support package. It has a clear training programme for professionals who want to learn how to use the model and a supervision pathway.

Foster carers and adopters can join our workshops and all can watch our Overview video of the model.

By Your Side Resources

We have developed quality resources and publications to support your work.

We strongly recommend that practitioners undertaking work based on By Your Side purchase these very highly regarded resources.

  • This book is a gift to all the children who must make this difficult transition, and to all the dedicated adults who are willing to step up and support them on their journey.

    Phyllis Booth
    Co-developer of TheraplayⓇ
  • In ‘By Your Side’ Viv Norris has written an essential guide for all those involved in helping a child transition from one family to another.

    Kim Golding CBE, Clinical Psychologist
    Trainer, Consultant & Practitioner in DDP
  • Dr Norris is the leader in this field and her book should be on the shelf of every social worker worldwide.

    Dafna Lender, LCSW
    The TheraplayⓇ Institute Program Director

Need to get in touch?

If you have any questions about the By Your Side model, the training or resources please get in touch through our contact form.