Specialist residential care for successful foster and adoptive placements

John Diamond, CEO Mulberry Bush School
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This autumn the implementation of the ‘local offer’ heralds a new commitment to support parents and carers who are seeking appropriate placements for children and young people with Special Educational Needs.

For several years fostering has been regarded as the preferred placement for looked-after children. For many children this is the right choice, but for many others who have experienced early years trauma, the concept of a family can feel alien, and the intimacy of family life can feel unbearable. They are then driven to test the placement to destruction. Such deeply emotionally troubled children are then more likely to suffer the further trauma of multiple-placement breakdown.

As a national charity the Mulberry Bush School specialises in working with traumatised children aged 5-13 from all over the UK, and their families. Our core work meets the needs of the growing number of children referred due to foster and adoptive breakdown.  Our commitment to working in close partnership with referring authorities, parents and carers, and our highly evolved model of integrated therapeutic care and on-site national curriculum education provides the added value that enables each child to be integrated back into an appropriate family and local school.

The School provides a genuine transformative early intervention for children with severe social and emotional difficulties, and we offer ongoing family support services to strengthen the placement at no extra cost. Our aim is to break the cycle of disadvantage that children have suffered due to early year’s trauma. Through ongoing data collection and research we track and improve our service to ensure it continues to evolve and provide excellent outcomes. The School offers the children a safe and nurturing environment in which they can learn and develop caring relationships, in order to build a better future.

During the last year:

  • 93% of our children were successfully reintegrated into a suitable family.
  • 100% were placed in an appropriate school when they left.

As a charity we are committed to providing national, regional and local therapeutic services, The Mulberry Bush Training and the University of the West of England have developed a foundation degree in ‘therapeutic work with children and young people’. This ensures that all our staff already have, or are working towards, a level-5 certificate.  Our ‘MBOX’ service (Mulberry Bush Oxfordshire) also takes our expertise out into the community, and provides outreach support to schools in Oxfordshire and neighbouring areas. This service helps teachers to address the problems of children with trauma, attachment disorders and behavioural difficulties. We specialise in creating models of sustainable reflective practice to improve the teamwork for those who work with troubled children and their families.

Over the last year we have been designated as a National Teaching School and have established our own National Teaching School Alliance. We have also established the National Centre for Therapeutic Residential and Foster Care. This is an influential alliance of universities, service providers and child-centred organisations. The National Centre has run several successful events that bring together practitioners and policy makers in order to support the residential and fostering sectors, to share and promote high-quality practice and research.

OFSTED judged the Mulberry Bush School “outstanding” in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

For more information see www.mulberrybush.org.uk       

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