SCIE media statement

Therapeutic approaches to child care in Northern Ireland

11 May 2011

New approaches helping staff to support some of the most vulnerable young people in the care system

Children and young people in care are among the most vulnerable in society, with young people in residential children’s homes having some of the highest levels of need. An evaluation being launched today at Stormont highlights how the use of therapeutic approaches is helping staff in Northern Ireland to support young people in residential care. Five therapeutic approaches have been piloted in the region.

A new Social Care TV film, launched alongside the report, illustrates the impact of the approaches, focusing on the Lakewood Secure Unit in Bangor. Young people in the film say that talking about trauma and sharing stories means that they can “open up and talk, rather than closing everything down”.  Training for all staff, including kitchen staff, has helped them to create a calmer, and more positive environment.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive at SCIE, who is at the launch today at Stormont, says:

Many young people in children’s homes have experienced serious abuse and neglect. These approaches are a great example of supporting all staff to be aware of, and respond to, the emotional needs of the young people in their care.

The evaluation research, conducted by the Institute of Child Care Research at Queen’s University Belfast, showed that staff thought the approaches had helped to improve their relationships with the young people, and had led to positive culture change within the homes. Young people were often not aware that a new approach was being used, but noticed an improved ‘atmosphere’ in the homes.

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Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: media@scie.org.uk