Welcome to our June edition of the TCJ. With the growth of our international membership, we are benefitting from a global range of content. Working with children and young people who have experienced trauma is always difficult and complex, and we know that if this work is understood and supported by wider facilitating systems and networks, the chances of good outcomes are improved.
Our African colleagues, Thadei Kamisa and Chaste Uwihoreye remind us how in many African states those systems and networks are often underdeveloped or entirely absent, leaving children and young people to face disproportionate levels of fragmentation and dislocation from safe family and community life. In his article Chaste explores the work of his organisation Uyisenga Ni Imanzi, which builds alternative families and communities for displaced chidren, while Thadei gives a harrowing account of his work in Tanzania to protect a young girl from marital violence and abuse. Cate Robinson writes about her work in terribly under-resourced children’s homes in Chile, and how this influenced her mission to establish appropriate training for residential workers, and build a responsive care system there.
However, even in the UK where such systems are often statutory and seemingly well integrated, we can still too often struggle to deliver attuned relational care. Ed Nixon’s post on ECLCM’s ‘caring teams’ concept, and Jenni Randall’s article remind us that despite years of lobbying, the right to ‘stay close’ to their residential homes, and the reality of young people storing their possessions in black bin bags, still sadly symbolise the failure of effective care pathway planning.
Gabriel Eichsteller and Andy Carter of Thempra Social Pedagogy offer an interdependent vision for ‘cultivating a relational universe’ for children in care. Jenny Holt’s vignette on the use of music therapy to help children manage anxiety, offers a hopeful vision of much needed ‘close in’ therapeutic relationship based work.
Finally, John Whitwell’s paper from 1986 about the work of the Cotswold Community, which evolved through years of painstaking work from a punitive ‘approved school’ for young offenders to a thriving Therapeutic Community. The demise of the Cotswold Community also reminds us that without valuing and nurturing specialist services as part of a mixed economy of residential provision, they can remain vulnerable to mismanagement and closure.
The mission of the International Centre is to offer members a global network to share information about therapeutic practice, training and research. I hope it also feels like a supportive network in which we can share our collective experiences.
A warm welcome to our newest members:
Maxim Anakeev, Director of the Kitezh Community, Russia
Jennifer Brooker, was until recently the founding member and President of FICE Australia. Jennifer writes. ‘I have recently taken a post at YMCA George Williams College in London as their NI lecturer and tutor, and will be delivering the 3 year programme here. I hail from RMIT University in Melbourne where I was the Youth Work Coordinator, working across FE and HE in my 8 years there. I have recently been awarded my PhD which was an international comparison of historic and current youth work programmes and a social and demographic profile of Australia’s youth this century, which led to the creation of a new undergraduate degree for Australia.
Simon Brown, Commissioner, Children in Care, Buckinghamshire County Council
Iain Campbell, Commissioner, Children in Care, Buckinghamshire County Council
Anita Connor, Director of Shalamar children’s home, UK
Dr Jana Kubova, President of FICE Czech Republic.
Jenni Randall, retired social worker and author.
Cate Robinson, social worker, trainer, author with her own consultancy ‘wingsforsuccess’. See Cate’s article ‘developing residential care in Chile’ and her biography in this edition.
Martin Stabrey, of www.cyc-net.org – the international Child and Youth Network
Ping Shih Lee, Chair of the Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home in Singapore, who are embarking on becoming a therapeutic and trauma informed organisation.
Launch of The International Centre Research Forum
We are pleased to launch our research forum for use by members seeking research papers or looking for potential projects. Our Chair of the IC Research group, Dr Yvon Guest and John Diamond will oversee the posts made on the forum. You can access the forum here where you will need to register, following which you will be able to post details of research activity and discuss with your peers.
2017 Advisory Group Meeting
Our 2017 Advisory Group meeting will take place on Friday July 7th from 11:00 – 14:00 at the Mulberry Bush School, Linden House Annexe. Please contact me to book a place, as we need to plan for on-site safeguarding protocols, parking and catering.