Therapeutic approaches to residential child care in Northern Ireland

What is the video about?

Children and young people looked after in residential settings have some of the highest levels of need. It is therefore crucial that staff have the right skills and support available to them. This film shows how children’s homes in Northern Ireland have introduced training in 'therapeutic approaches' for their residential child care staff. The approaches help staff to have a better understanding of how children's experiences affect them, to consider their emotional needs and foster resilience. It focuses on the experience of staff and young people at the Lakewood Secure Unit.

Messages for practice

  1. 'Therapeutic approaches' can help residential childcare staff to use a therapeutic perspective in their day-to-day social work with children and young people
  2. Staff in Northern Ireland reported that it had enhanced their practice, particularly their relationships with young people and the consistency of approach taken by staff.
  3. Young people also reported improved relationships and a better atmosphere in the homes. In the case study shown in the film, the young people felt that the therapeutic approaches had helped them to talk about their feelings, and for their behaviour to be understood.
  4. Implementation is helped by providing training and supporting materials, and wider systems working in a supportive manner, for example careful planning when a young person is first admitted to a home

Who will find this useful?

Staff and managers working in children's homes and secure units, and those commissioning residential services for looked after children.