Guess what? Yet another official report ‘bags’ residential care

Victorian Legal Aid (VLA) recently released a report titled Care Not Custody: A new approach to keep kids in residential care out of the criminal justice system. In reviewing this report my aim was not to say ‘Kafkaesque’ or ‘Catch 22’ or make any reference to the TV shows ‘Yes Minister’ (for you older Practitioners) or ‘Utopia’ (for  younger Practitioners).…

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Latest research on causes and treatments of self-harm by adolescents

Self-harming is common amongst young people in OoHC, youth justice and alternative school settings. As noted in my last post, I just love a succinct summary of the evidence of the causes and treatment of mental health issues. Today’s post provides such a summary on the causes and interventions for self-harm. This YouTube video, called Self Injury Knowledge and Skills…

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Can Mentilisation Based Therapy skills assist OoHC & YJ Practitioners create more therapeutic relationships with clients?

Day  2: International Child Trauma Conference 2018 Yesterday I attended Peter Fongy’s masterclass on Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT) Who is Peter Fonagy?   Peter is a psychologist with special interests in the neurobiology of attachment, working with violent young men and people with personality disorders. He has authored over 300 peer reviewed articles. You can read a short version of…

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Does verbal aggression by clients predict increased use of restraint/seclusion by staff?

Verbal aggression by clients to staff in residential care, YJ and alternative schools is a continuing problem for Practitioners. This study looks at the specific impact of verbal aggression on mental health nurses. It investigates the following hypothesis:     Why are nursing staff studies relevant to OoHC/YJ/alternative schools? In general, the quality of research in the mental health sector…

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Not fake news: High risk adolescents want limits

Practitioners become concerned when their staff, typically new staff, become too close to the young people (YP) in their care. Staff themselves believe, correctly, that a close relationship is necessary to bring about changes in the YP’s life. However, the relationship can transform into a ‘peer-to-peer’ relationship, i.e. both parties are ‘equal’ in the relationship and thus the worker is…

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Why higher educational qualifications for staff will not improve outcomes in residential care.

Numerous enquiries into residential care[i] have recommended raising education qualifications of resi-workers to improve both the quality of care and outcomes for young people. However, a recent US study implies that this strategy may not be wholly successful. The researchers asked staff how they learnt the skills necessary to be an effective resi-worker. Unsurprisingly, most reported that they believed that…

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Resilience Part II: How practitioners can improve resilience of young people in OoHC/YJ

This week’s blog continues the focus on influential child psychiatrist, Michael Rutter – this time his work on resilience. The last blog post defined ‘resilience’ and identified the underlying factors that give rise to resilience. Today, we will investigate how resilience might develop – especially in young people in OoHC and YJ settings. Firstly, Rutter notes that the research findings…

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Treating Chronically Traumatized Children: Don’t let sleeping dogs lie!

Arianne Struik is a clinical psychologist who works with traumatised Indigenous children in remote parts of Australia on a fly in/fly out(FIFO) basis. She presented a paper entitled Treating Chronically Traumatized Children: Don’t let sleeping dogs lie at the Australian Psychology Society (APS) Conference last year. The APS has released a video of her presentation at the cost of only…

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