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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Review launches devastating critique of the Trauma Model

The recent Juvenile Justice Review[1] questions the relevance of the trauma model for custodial settings. Given that this is the first pubic critique of the model, it raises the question of whether the model will be called into question in the child protection/OoHC space more generally. The rise and fall of psychological theories of the decades Psychological theories have risen…

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Recovery from severe privation: What the research shows

This is the second blog post concerning influential child psychiatrist, Michael Rutter, particularly his work on the English and Romanian Adoptee (ERA) study. Last week’s post provided the background to the ERA study. Today, we look at the bad news and the good news, i.e. recovery is achievable with good care. Firstly, more about Michael Rutter and why he is…

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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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What is Therapeutic Residential Care: A Consensus View

Practitioners often discuss what is and what is not therapeutic residential care (TRC). A group of academics have recently attempted to answer this question. The group, called the International Working Group on Therapeutic Care is made up of 30+ leading academics and thinkers on TRC. The lead author is well-known US academic James K Whittaker. The group includes two Australian…

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An absence of behavioural problems does not necessarily indicate that foster children are thriving

A recent Dutch study investigates the effectiveness of a program, Foster Family Intervention (FFI), at improving the quality of interactions between foster children and their carers.  The rationale is that children who do not exhibit behaviour problems may react in avoidant and resistant manners, giving carers the impression that these children do not need additional care. However, carers may not…

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