In Residence

Therapy and Place

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on October 1 2014

When I began my research into residential child care at Edinburgh University in 1969 one of the pioneers whose work I discovered and cherished was Barbara Dockar-Drysdale. The place forever associated with her name is the Mulberry Bush School, Standlake, west of Oxford. For some reason, although I gone to see (and indeed stay in) many residential establishments during the course of the research and from that time on, I had never visited this unique place until a day or so ago.

As I walked around on an autumnal Friday afternoon it became possible to set the writings and practice of “Pip” Dockar-Drysdale in context. Rather than attempt an overall description of the five houses, the educational centre, and the land on which they are situated, my intention here is to compare and contrast it to Mill Grove, where Ruth and I live and seek to care for children and families. My primary focus is the relationship between therapy and place.

I was shown round by the head of the school and quickly noticed that he tended to talk about individual children (not by name of course) and their recent experiences. There were few generalisations or statistics because the focus of the community was on understanding and coming alongside boys and girls (between the ages of 5 and 13 years) who had experienced serious emotional traumas. Listening to them revealed that each one carried unique personal burdens, bore specific psychological scars, and had individual life stories. At other establishments I have been told of bed-occupancy rates, of categories and trends, of methods and regimes, but here the undeniable priority was the experience of each child.

This reminded me of the way in which my replies to questions about Mill Grove inevitably turn to the passing on of … Continue reading …

In Residence

Celebrating North Wales

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on September 1 2014

In August 2014 the extended family of Mill Grove enjoyed its 39th consecutive holiday in North Wales. Perhaps the anniversary would not have been so significant if I had not read John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps in recent months. Or perhaps this year’s stay was uniquely special.

(Just for … Continue reading …

In Residence

goodenoughcaring Issue 15

by Charles Sharpe

Posted on August 14 2014

The 15th issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal was published in June. Edited by Charles Sharpe, this is a journal which we recommend. Charles writes:
Given the interest in the general affairs of Scotland this year, we are serving up a Scottish flavoured goodenoughcaring journal. Though showing distinct signs of have taken … Continue reading …

Other Reviews

My Underpants Rule :by Kate and Rod Power

Book Review by David Lane

Posted on August 14 2014

This book is a quick read for the reviewer as it is only 28 pages including the covers but it contains an important message for little children, put plainly and powerfully. How does one help little children to stand up for themselves against sexual abusers? This book has a good … Continue reading …

In Residence

Throwing Stones

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on August 1 2014

Throwing stones has a long and chequered history. Examples that come to mind immediately include David’s heroic killing of Goliath, the throwing of stones by resistance or revolutionary movement against occupying forces, the use of stones as a method of execution, and the story of how Jesus intervened when … Continue reading …

Child Protection

Sexual Abuse

by davidlane

Posted on July 30 2014

What has been learnt from the recent allegations of sexual abuse and from the investigations and court cases arising from the disclosures? And what more can we learn?

We suspect that professionals have not learnt a lot. They already knew that all sorts of people abuse children. We are decades away … Continue reading …

In Residence

“This is my Story”

by Dr Keith J. White

Posted on July 1 2014

The importance of life stories cannot be overstated. By life stories I mean the process in which a child, young person or adult tells in some consecutive or coherent age-appropriate way the narrative of their life to date. And implicit in this is the fact that someone who … Continue reading …

In Residence

By Choice or By Order?

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on June 1 2014

Over many years of observation it has become apparent to me that children and adults live and act for one of two fundamental reasons: because of choice, or because of an order. (By choice I mean that they act primarily out of free will, not because they have been … Continue reading …

Health

Hill End

by davidlane

Posted on May 17 2014

About two years ago I stumbled across a blogger called ‘Pitsea pirate’ who gave a poignant description of his childhood and how he ended up in Hill End Adolescent Unit for six months when he was twelve because he kept running away from home. This led me to also … Continue reading …

In Residence

How Attached Are We to Children?

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on May 1 2014

It is well known that all the nations in the world apart from the USA and Somalia are signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. But from the very start there have been those of us who have wondered what it actually … Continue reading …

In Residence

“For what we are About to Receive may the Lord Make us Truly Thankful”

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on April 4 2014

In the last week of March 2014 there were six of us together in North Wales. We called ourselves a work-party, and the purpose of our trip and stay was to attend to some of the repairs and maintenance required by the two houses belonging to Mill Grove in … Continue reading …

In Residence

Better Late Then Never

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on March 10 2014

My very first visit to Hungary was when I touched down in Budapest airport on Monday 17th February 2014. For many other passengers it seemed as if it was just another flight. But for me it was imbued with huge personal significance.

The reason is that it was as … Continue reading …

In Residence

Better Late Then Never.

Posted on March 5 2014


In Residence

Inside and Outside of Children’s Homes

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on February 3 2014

According to the Office for National Statistics in the 17 years since 1996, the number of adults between the ages of 20 and 34 in the UK still living with their parents has increased by 25% (670,000) There is a gender difference with 2.1 million (32%) being men, and … Continue reading …

In Residence

Of Friends and Friendship

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on January 6 2014

This article is an attempt to reflect on one or more aspects of the nature of friendship in order to work out some of the implications for children and young people who find themselves in the care system. It was a simple comment that stirred the theme into life, … Continue reading …

Child Protection

Regulation Matters

by davidlane

Posted on January 6 2014

A Potted History

Professionals working with children and young people have been arguing for a long time now that they should be registered. There are several reasons. The self-interest is that registration tends to give credibility, kudos, standing and recognition to those who achieve registration. But the reason why registered people … Continue reading …

In Residence

“Some of the young people have never been to the beach.”

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on December 13 2013

It was at a board meeting of Frontier Youth Trust in Birmingham when a youth worker came out with this phrase. He had been engaged with young people for several years through music and the arts. But contrary to what you might assume he was not working in … Continue reading …

In Residence

John Bowlby, Russ Conway, Donald Winnicott and Maths

by Dr Keith J. White &, davidlane

Posted on November 9 2013

It all began when I heard what one of my grandchildren had said soon after she and her family had moved house. Talking to her older sister she was musing on the first big transition in her life. “I’ve got a new house. I’ve got new friends. … Continue reading …

Editorial

Newsletter : October 2013

by davidlane

Posted on October 11 2013

Since the last Newsletter we have published over twenty items - as usual, a very varied mixture of articles and reviews. They are described below.

First, an advert for a conference sponsored by the Child Care History Network and Hilfield Priory about Homer Lane and the Little Commonwealth, as it is the centenary this year of Lane’s ground-breaking experiment:
Radical Then, Radical Now: Care and Education in Communities

Keith White’s monthly In Residence column has emphasised his concern for valuing people and the importance of relationships.
In July he looked at what gives a person worth, such as having a baby.
In August, the subject was the things that make times special for people, for example on their birthdays.
In September, Keith looked at sharing responsibility.
And this month he considered the unexpected rewards of caring for children with disabilities.

Valerie Jackson contributed a forthright piece on the dangers of drinking alcohol when pregnant, and an interesting item on what children can learn from animals.

Jane Proudman’s paper to a conference in York describes the successful application of social pedagogy methods to links between school and the families of children with problems such as absenteeism, a model that could be usefully replicated.

On the international front there were items from authors in Denmark, Bangladesh and the United States, as well as a piece about a school trip from the UK to Jordan.

Dr Søren Hegstrup wrote about the legal framework for work with juveniles in secure settings in Denmark and made a plea for proper aftercare to enable social inclusion when young people leave care.

Md. Tuhinul Islam described the experiences of young people in residential care in Bangladesh, his findings being often at odds with UK practice.

Tanisha Sharma provided a nice piece about the benefits of building international bridges in her account of her school expedition to Jordan.

Rachel Thomas wrote about problems, and the danger of jumping to conclusions.

Robert Shaw pointed out that proper attention had not been paid to research findings, either in the running of Feltham or in critiques of its work.

We carried tributes also to the late Gillian Corsellis, a champion of young children.
We have republished three press releases which we thought readers would find interesting.
Regulation Matters is campaigning to register all home child care workers.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award has been going for over sixty years, and still expanding internationally: a real achievement.

National Family Mediation are concerned that legal aid for family mediation goes unclaimed as the courts are clogged with cases.

Finally, six book reviews, a mixture of books for professionals and books for children.

There is Martin Levy’s biography of Dr Barnardo: Champion of Victorian Children,
a complex character who changed the lives of thousands of children.

Professor David Divine wrote Aberlour Narratives of Success about the Scottish institution where he was brought up, offering a contrasting picture to the public image of large homes.

A number of authors contributed to a history of Catholic Care in the Diocese of Leeds, celebrating its 150th anniversary, and recording the work of the professionals who laid the foundations for today’s services.

Among books for children, Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley teamed up again to help little children deal with important issues in Help a Hamster, on the theme of adoption.

There are also reviews of two stunning Dorling Kindersley books, one covering geography, and the other described as a knowledge encyclopedia dealing with the whole range of human knowledge in 360 pages. Both books are brilliant and - as we’re getting near Christmas - would make good presents for children of junior school age.

Child Care History

Radical Then, Radical Now: Care and Education in Communities

by davidlane

Posted on October 10 2013

In 1913 an American called Homer Lane was appointed to run the Little Commonwealth, the first experiment in community education in the UK. A.S. Neill was greatly influenced by Homer Lane and, through his writings and his work at Summerhill, he in turn influenced the British education system as a … Continue reading …