2014 was a significant year for residential child care service, Tremanna Children’s Home, Slamannan. Everyone in the home, staff and young people alike, were greatly affected when one young person’s placement broke down. And after four years at the home the young person moved to another placement. Pauline Connelly, Supervisory Child Care Worker tells us how that event was a catalyst for change.
‘To me, it’s been about changing the way we do things in Tremanna, encouraging all young people who live in Tremanna to have as much say in how we care and how we deliver care in their home. Our ethos is to keep the young people who live at Tremanna at the heart of everything we do.
‘So this is what we did to try to avoid a placement breakdown happening again.’
‘To have a deeper understanding of what happened with the placement breakdown we held a structured debrief with all staff, sharing and examining all the information available. We then drafted an action plan to build on the strengths and areas of need which we identified.’
‘We involved the young people in the service by holding a ‘participation day’ later in the year when we all looked at the Vision for Tremanna and again an action plan was developed and progressed.’
‘Both these events highlighted that the young people and staff in Tremanna would benefit from having a therapeutic model which is a philosophy and set of principles that informs practice of care. We agreed to consult with others and look for models that would potentially suit the needs of our young people and staff group.’
‘We consulted with the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS); we invited three projects that had well established therapeutic models in place to talk to the young people and staff about the benefits of each one; then we held another participation event to look at the key areas from each of these three models to decide what we wanted to include in ours and what we wanted to be different.’
‘The participation days successfully encouraged young people and staff to have an equal say in the running of Tremanna, and this culture has continued to develop in daily planning and decision making.’
‘Young people have been actively involved since the participation days in planning and taking part in training for the staff team. We now have regular training sessions with both young people and staff members to develop and build on the culture of Tremanna in line with our therapeutic model.’
‘We have recently begun to prepare for training around language both the spoken and unspoken in terms of delivering care and this will be facilitated by our young people and staff.’
‘We have already had a development day to review how well we have implemented the model to date. Staff and young people worked together in small groups to plan and then deliver presentations on the day focusing on one of the four elements, offering examples of how the model is being used and what difference it has made so far.’
‘Our hope is that the finished model improves the lives of all the young people in Tremanna, and that the young people and staff continue this approach for many years.’
The model is currently in the process of gaining copyright protection.