The Framework

3-5-7 Model® Framework

The 3-5-7 Model® incorporates 3 tasks, 5 conceptual questions and 7 interpersonal skill elements to support this work. The three (3) tasks of the model engage children, individuals and families, guiding practices that support their work of grieving and building relationships.

The three tasks of the 3-5-7 Model® guide our interventions with children, youth and families in working with them towards improving well-being and readiness for permanency and they engage children, youth and families, guiding practices that support their work of grieving and building relationships.  These three (3) tasks provide the methodology to assure readiness of children and their families to determine permanent relationship opportunities. They indicate where each individual is in reconciling and grieving losses and in moving toward rebuilding relationships. The 3-5-7 Model® takes the “guess work” or the “we hope it works” approach out of permanency decision making.  Children and youth, as well as families, know when they are ready to actualize placements.  Decision making is then based off of this readiness.

  • Clarification:   Explores life events providing opportunities to reconcile losses;
  • Integration:     Focuses activities on rebuilding relationships through the attachment process;
  • Actualization: Assists in visualizing future goals establishing permanent connections.

The five (5) conceptual questions support the work of the three tasks and address the following:

  • Who am I? — identity formation
  • What happened to me?–separation and loss; the grieving process
  • Where am I going?– trust and safety in relationships; attachment cycle
  • How will I get there? — recognizing those who will continue to provide support; relational permanency
  • When will I know I belong? — feelings of safety, well-being and a readiness for future

The five conceptual questions provide the frames of reference to explore the issues of identity, loss, attachment, relationship building, and permanency/safety/belonging.  Individual’s reactions may include: anxiety, regression, physiological symptoms, denial of feelings/events, confused attachments to rejecting or unreliable parents, rebellious behaviors, delayed expression of feelings, self-blame for being in placement, and conflicting loyalties to all parent figures in their lives.  Exploring the issues identified in these five questions organizes the work to be done through various activities and techniques.  The behaviors and comments of individuals provide clues as the work that still remains towards resolution of the painful events and relationships of their lives.

Seven (7) skill elements and interpersonal abilities guide the efforts of professionals and caregivers to support the work of children, youth and families to grieve losses and rebuild relationships.  These abilities are: engagement and listening skills, recognizing that behaviors indicate the pain of losses, affirming and responding to these behaviors from a grief perspective, remaining present to the expressions of grief and responding in the moment, creating opportunities for the perception of safety within the helping relationship, and recognizing that grief work and relationship building can be done only by those who have experienced the losses.

  • Establishing the perception of SAFETY through authentic listening, physical location and continuity of time spent with child/youth/family
  • Providing OPPORTUNITIES to EXPLORE feelings and understanding of life events
  • BEING PRESENT to the exploration
  • LISTENING to the stories
  • AFFIRMING current perceptions
  • BRIEFLY SPEAKING in response to questions, comments, and reactions of child/youth

Those youth provided with opportunities for clarification, integration and actualization are said to experience less acute hospitalizations and fewer disrupted placements.  When children and families are engaged in their work around trauma/grief dynamics using the 3-5-7 Model®, outcomes are more certain as they have explored their feelings and understanding of the pain in their lives.  In other words, they have done the work towards grieving losses and relationship building.