Report 58: Therapeutic approaches to social work in residential child care settings

Impact on young people

Staff members seem more friendly now. They can have a bit of ‘craic’ with us now which improves the mood of the house in general ...

Young person

Awareness of therapeutic approaches was not high among the young people to whom we spoke. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The Therapeutic Approaches Steering Group was clear that it is not usual to let young people know of any changes to staff training or approaches used.

However, general improvements in atmosphere were reported by most of the young people who had been in the same home for more than a year. They also said they thought staff were more relaxed.

The use of sanctions to deal with bad behaviour was reported to have decreased. The majority agreed that the new approach, based on rewards, was more effective. This was a strong point of agreement between staff and young people.

Young people also emphasised what aspects of residential care were important to them. Relationships with staff were highly valued, as was the fact that they had been supported to deal with emotions and past issues during their time there.

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