International Centre News February 1st 2018

A warm welcome to our new members: Alina Page, Govt. of South Australia, Jan Rees and Wendy Dawson CEO of Rees, The Care Leavers Foundation.

Barbara Dockar-Drysdale

Across 2018 we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Mulberry Bush School by Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, a pioneer of ‘therapeutic child care’. During World War 2 as part of the national evacuation campaign to avoid the London blitz, Dockar-Drysdale took children into her own family home. She found she had a natural ability to work with some of the most hard-to-reach children. With government support, this led to the creation of the School on our site at Standlake, Oxfordshire in 1948.

Through regular meetings with Dr Donald Winnicott, she formulated a number of psycho-dynamically informed concepts, including her idea of ‘the provision of primary experience.’ We continue this legacy by helping children re-build trusting relationships and meeting their underlying attachment needs, within the safety of the school environment.

Her ideas still underpin our work today, and influence the core values of the International Centre.


This month I am meeting with our colleagues from Rees, The Care Leavers Foundation, the Care Leavers Association, Lisa Cherry and Mark Kerr to discuss how the International Centre can continue to support care leavers agenda.

On this theme, we publish two articles. ‘Your life, Your story’ by Lisa Cherry and Rosie Canning, who recently ran a reflective writing workshop for care experienced adults. Keith White’s contributions ‘the scars of trauma are deep and lasting’ and ‘a rock which will not move’ are both moving accounts of meeting former residents of Mill Grove, helping them reconnect with a  sense of belonging and develop a deeper understanding of their own early life history.

From our international networks; Thadei Kamisa reports from Tanzania on the increase in sub-Saharan Africa of ‘the persecution of people with albinism’, especially children. From New Delhi, we publish a recent report by Udayan Care ‘Consultation on Trauma Informed Care for children in alternative care’.

Lastly, I would like to draw your attention to a new book written by Christine Bradley ‘Revealing the Inner World of Traumatised Children: An Attachment-Informed Model for Assessing Emotional Needs and Treatment‘.

The International Centre continues to work to share practice, training and research into the lives of children and young people who are made vulnerable by trauma.

John Diamond

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