What is SAFE®?

The SAFE® - Attachment Formation For Educators project is a training program designed to enhance secure attachment between parents and their children. The prevention of attachment disorders is important, and especially the transmission of early childhood traumatic experiences across generations -- and that is what this primary prevention program strives for.

SAFE® addresses all expectant parents up to the seventh month of pregnancy and is conducted in closed groups up to the end of the first year of the child. Parents who feel the need may also avail themselves of further assistance during their child's second and third year.

Participation in SAFE® enables the parents to perceive their children's emotional needs better, particularly with regard to the development of attachment, and to enhance a secure attachment through sensitive interaction. Children with a secure emotional attachment exhibit more prosocial and less aggressive behavior, tend to be more empathetic and creative, have longer attention spans, and show superior cognitive capacities and greater resilience in difficult situations than do children who have developed an insecure attachment.

The SAFE® program consists of four modules: group day courses before and after childbirth; sensitivity training; a help line or hotline, and trauma therapy. This combination of offerings is designed to achieve therapeutic effects in the group and to make use of individual therapeutic modalities.

SAFE® groups conducted by SAFE® mentors have been successfully given in Munich and other cities in Germany  and in different countries. At present there are more than 3500 SAFE® mentors, not only in Germany but in Austria, Switzerland, and New Zealand as well. SAFE® will soon be offered as a primary prevention program in all Bavarian pregnancy and child guidance centers. In addition, the Protestant Central Institute for Family Counseling (EZI) will train its staff in Berlin to be SAFE® mentors, and to offer SAFE® as a prevention program to expectant parents at Protestant counseling centers throughout Germany.