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Residential Children’s Care

In Depth

Managing risk in children's homes

Risk management is an important element of practice in children's homes. Here Ofsted's national director of social care Yvette Stanley tells Jo Stephenson about what the regulator is looking for from settings.

Special Report: Residential Care

Standards of residential child care have never been higher, but a shortage of provision and rising demand due to more traumatised children coming into the system is stretching local authority budgets to the limit.

Debate over care boarders

Two new schemes aim to encourage councils to place more looked-after children at boarding schools.

Forging Lifelong Links for children in care

The Lifelong Links model being tested in England and Scotland aims to establish and rebuild key relationships for looked-after children. Jo Stephenson spoke to authorities trialling the approach.

Are children's home arrests a problem?

The Howard League for Penal Reform is concerned that children in residential care are being criminalised unfairly, despite a report showing a fall in arrests. Experts debate if enough is being done to tackle the issue.

'Sleep-in' case: the implications

Legal ruling highlights need for employment conditions for children's home staff to be reviewed, says LGA.

Barriers to measuring outcomes

National outcomes framework would need to overcome a series of challenges to succeed, says Andrew Rome of Revolution Consulting.

Special Report: Commissioning Care

Commissioners play a pivotal role in ensuring vulnerable children receive the care they need. However, demand and funding pressures are driving the development of new systems and changes in practice.

Special Report: Residential Child Care

Lauded for the essential role it plays in the lives of vulnerable young people, the residential child care sector faces increasing financial challenges if it is to continue to deliver quality therapeutic provision.

Understanding impact of abuse and reviewing care placement options

Review assesses the evidence on the impact of abuse on children and considers the merits of care placement options. The authors summarise the findings, while three organisations outline initiatives to improve decision making.

Children in care attainment tool

How a resource analysing education progress for looked-after children could "revolutionise" support.

Ofsted aims for more accurate measure of social care services

The way local authority children's services are inspected is set to undergo major change from January 2018, with Ofsted planning to move to a more proportionate system that focuses on councils that are already struggling.

In a good place

As the number of children in care reaches record levels, Joe Lepper examines the challenge for commissioners to provide children with stable, happy homes that cater to their needs.

Feeling at home

The Narey review argues that the prevailing view of children's residential care as an 'anachronism' significantly underestimates its contribution. Joe Lepper asks how these views can be overturned.

Around the corner

Young people in residential care will soon have the right to 'stay close' to their placement when they leave, helping smooth the transition to adulthood. Joe Lepper investigates how this is likely to work.

A serene setting to address harmful sexual behaviour

Glebe House is a residential home providing therapeutic care for young people who display harmful sexual behaviour. Emily Rogers visits staff and residents to find out more about the setting's approach.

The policy context for residential care

The status and make-up of residential children's care, quality of provision, and issues for commissioners and providers.

Good Practice

Reshape the language of care

Some of the language used by professionals can leave young people feeling confused and disempowered, so take a more compassionate and inclusive approach to communication to build stronger relationships.

Independent visitors: Volunteers help children in care

Independent visitors provide vital support to children in care. Catherine Pestano, who helps co-ordinate a network of nearly 80 volunteers in Croydon, south London, describes a typical week for the service.

Legal Update: Safeguarding children who go missing from care

Guidance outlines the importance of carrying out return home interviews with children who run away or go missing from care.

Inspections Clinic: Five tips for outstanding residential care

The manager of a residential setting for children with disabilities tells Jo Stephenson how it has built a culture of continuous improvement while achieving a decade of "outstanding" Ofsted ratings.

SOS Children's Villages, India

Research in 2011 estimated that up to 20 million children were living as orphans in India, four per cent of the country's total child population.

Folk High Schools, Sweden

In 2015, Sweden received 35,369 unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. This was two-and-a-half times the number received in Germany that year and five times the number in 2014.

Provider treats young people with mental health problems

West Midlands-based Cove Care provides step-down placements from mental health in-patient units.

Centre helps traumatised children engage with learning

Home provides specialist support for severely neglected and traumatised children aged six to 12.

Protocol reduces police callouts to children's homes

Protocol aims to reduce police callouts to children's homes.

Scheme emphasises early planning for leaving care

Long-term care planning starts before young people turn 16.

Commissioning: Care placements and sufficiency

A recent report warns of a crisis in care commissioning. Long-term planning is the only solution, says Toni Badnall-Neill.

A haven for children in care

Safe Haven was created by charity Family Action for young people in care with the most complex needs.

How to help siblings maintain contact

Experts outline five key messages for legal and social work professionals to emerge from latest research on sibling relationships in the care system.

Inspections Clinic: Inspecting stability

Ensuring looked-after children have a stable care placement, social worker and school place is vital to good outcomes, so Ofsted places great emphasis on stability when it inspects children's services, writes Jo Stephenson.

Rethinking care relationships

New families of looked-after children may experience varying levels of support depending on the legal order the child is under. It is time to end these discrepancies to ensure all get the right support.

Residential care, Germany

The German economy is among the biggest in the world. The national unemployment rate stands at around five per cent, but there are significant variations between different areas, with jobless figures higher in eastern Germany.

Mulberry Bush: Building the Burrow

Residential special school Mulberry Bush is opening a new year-round unit to care for children who do not have families to return to during school holidays. Tom de Castella visits the specialist facility.

Derbyshire social pedagogy

Residential care practitioners use social pedagogy to provide support in much the same way as a birth parent would.

Resilient Care Home Team

West Mercia Police team reduces criminalisation and missing episodes among young people in Shropshire children's homes.

No Wrong Door

North Yorkshire Council creates children's home "hubs", offering specialist professionals, outreach work, foster care and supported accommodation.

The Mulberry Bush School

Residential school that caters for troubled children has introduced methods that focus on helping children express their feelings and come to terms with past trauma.

Writing competition gives children in care a voice to express their hopes

Writing competition helps looked-after children and care leavers gain confidence and resilience by reflecting on their care experiences.

Innovation for children in care

Amid the multitude of challenges in working with children in care, a huge amount of innovation is taking place across the country. Charlotte Goddard examines three examples of excellent practice.

Behind the Inspection Ratings: Residential child care

A recent government-commissioned review emphasised the vital role played by children's homes, but what does Ofsted inspection data reveal about the standards of residential child care?

Pathways children's home

Pathways is a nine-place children's home in Cornwall that cares for young people aged five to 18 with emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties

Cross-Regional Project

Seven-year contract between residential child care provider Keys Group and six neighbouring authorities to provide therapeutic residential care and education for 11- to 18-year-olds with complex emotional and behavioural difficulties

Break's Moving On service

Moving On is a service for young people aged 16 to 18 to prepare them for leaving residential care and independent living

Residential Care: Practice example - RESuLT

Training programme helps children's home staff teams create a positive living and learning environment for 11- to 18-year-olds

Mulberry Bush Oxfordshire (MBOX) Teaching School

Works with education settings to adopt a "psychodynamic" approach to understand children's behaviour as a communication of unmet needs.



Longing To Belong: Children In Residential Care And Their Experiences Of Peer Relationships At School And In The Children's Home

This paper explores the meaning and experience of peer relationships for one group of 16 children aged eight to 18 living in residential care in Ireland.

Residential Staff Responses To Adolescent Self-Harm: The Helpful And Unhelpful

This paper explores the views of young people on staff responses following self-harm in residential and secure care in Scotland. The young people highlighted the importance of staff being supportive and non-judgmental after self-harm incidents.

Putting the child at the centre of inter-professional co-operation in out-of-home care

This paper explores theoretical understandings of child centeredness in inter-professional working.

Risk, Resilience and Identity Construction in the Life Narratives of Young People Leaving Residential Care

This paper explores the experiences of transition to adulthood of 20 young people leaving residential care.

Reunifying abused or neglected children: Decision-making and outcomes

This longitudinal study examines one of the most critical decisions in social work practice - whether a child removed from home due to poor parenting should be returned.