“SILTA”, or “bridge”, stems from the idea of building a “bridge” of interaction between the child, their parents, and the place of care, as well as between the child’s past, present, and future.

The objective of SILTA work is to

  • enrich the child’s life story and make it more whole
  • build a “bridge” between the child, their friends and relatives, and the children’s home/other care unit
  • strengthen the expertise of the child’s biological parents and the child him-/herself regarding the child’s life
  • strengthen the abilities of the professional primary nurse

SILTA builds bridges

between the child, their friends and relatives, and the primary nurse by working together. The stories of each participant concerning the life of the child and the family are the main focus. The significance given by each person to their own story is important. The work helps expand the image of the child’s and the family’s life. It is not simply defined through official documents drafted by professionals: the stories of the child, the family, and the primary nurse are equally important. The “bridge” is built by a trained SILTA counsellor together with the child, their parents, and the primary nurse from the children’s home. The work is used to create and maintain the child’s networks between him-/herself, his/her friends and relatives, and the place of care.

The work helps give the primary nurse a diverse and more complete picture of the child’s and the family’s life. The nurse then reflects the picture back to the child, the family, and the team.

The SILTA model

The model was registered in August 2013.

The SILTA work emphasises the lifelong relationship between the child and the parent, regardless of whether the parents are physically present in the child’s life. The relationship is depicted by a red arrow. In the work, it is important to make the relationship between the child and the parent visible by sharing different stories related to the life of the child and the parent. The primary nurse has an important role in listening to the different stories and using them to form a more complete image of the child and the child’s life. The SILTA counsellor supports the building of the SILTA or “bridge”.

Tools for bridging with SILTA

The child and the family have been encouraged to tell their stories by working with a family tree and a lifeline. Through sharing and connecting, the interaction has grown deeper between those participating in the work. Sharing has occurred by listening and seeing, as well as tasting and experiencing. It is vital for this work to learn how to listen to different stories and to understand the meaning of different stories to their tellers. The story itself is not what is most important; it is the meaning the teller gives it at that moment.

SILTA counsellor training

further vocational training (30 ECTS points)

A SILTA counsellor supports the interaction between the child taken into care, the child’s biological parent, and the child’s primary nurse/foster parent.
The aim of building the “bridge” is to make the child’s life story more complete

Contents of the training:

Theoretical framework:

  • Focusing on the child and involving the child
  • Family therapy
  • Dialogue
  • Narrative
  • Reflection
  • Trauma and stabilisation
  • Mentalisation
  • Mindfulness


  • initial discussion
  • mapping interaction
  • family tree
  • lifeline
  • Reflecting on personal professional development

Contents of the training:

  • contact teaching (14 days)
  • cooperative, participatory exercises integrated into the personal work community
  • familiarisation with literature of the field
  • independent studying
  • working on one’s own family tree and lifeline and the experience of sharing them in the group
  • acting as a SILTA counsellor: planning meetings, realisation, recording, and evaluation

For whom:

  • primary nurses at children’s homes
  • family care employees
  • other employees with children and families as customers

In addition to work at children’s homes, the SILTA operational model is applicable as a tool for different child protection contexts, such as open family welfare services or family care.