What do incarcerated youth want in their relationships with custodial workers?

Practitioners in youth justice facilities encourage their staff to develop positive relationships with the youth in their care with the aim of establishing a therapeutic alliance to address the causes of offending. This Dutch study investigates how workers might tailor their interactions with incarcerated youth to enhance such an alliance. The study The study involved 47 youths across two juvenile…

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Why do good staff become punitive so quickly?

  Practitioners will recognise the situation whereby they recruit someone who, during their interview, presents as a compassionate and caring individual, only to be caught off guard when the same person suddenly starts advocating harsher and harsher punishment for YP. This study This Israeli study explores how beliefs and attitudes of staff who work with the vulnerable predict the use…

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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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Can we trust private RT0s to train residential care workers?

A common recommendation for improving the quality of residential care is to require higher educational qualifications of residential care workers.[1] However, it is not clear that higher qualifications by themselves will be sufficient. This blog post focuses on the process of acquiring qualifications rather than the qualifications themselves; i.e. pre-service training vs. in-service training and full-time vs. part time vs.…

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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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OoHC agencies implicated in high turnover of foster carers

A shortage of foster carers is a chronic issue for child protection departments and OoHC agencies. This shortage is exacerbated by high turnover rates of existing foster carers. A recent Australian study analysed the reasons why current foster carers may consider discontinuing as carers and suggests that agencies can do more to prevent the turnover. Objectives of the study The…

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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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