A new model of care for vulnerable children in Hampshire
Monday, 25 June 2012
An innovative approach to caring for children and young people in crisis was the focus of a special information day hosted by Hampshire County Council this week.
Pillars of Parenting is a new model of care currently being used in Hampshire's residential children's homes. This approach is designed to meet the parenting needs of children and young people who have been rejected, neglected and abused, to support their adaptive emotional development and encourages staff to focus on children's strengths with a greater emphasis on the possibilities of their lives than their problems. It enables staff to build supportive relationships with children and young people in care similar in their approach to nurturing parental roles within a family setting.
Focus on potential
This 'good parenting' model has a strong belief in the child's ability to thrive and achieve at its core shifting the concentration on to their potential rather than their problem behaviour. As a result the young people feel valued leading to increased motivation to live positive, healthy lifestyles which do not bring them into conflict with others or put them at risk of exclusion.
Hampshire is one of 6 areas of the country and the 3rd Local Authority using the new model which is aimed at improving outcomes for children and young people by strengthening relationships and developing a better understanding between children and the professionals working with them. Staff using the model are encouraged to look at the impact of early trauma resulting from chaotic home lives which young people may have experienced and which may have affected their behaviour as well as their ability to build positive relationships with others.
Staff who have been piloting the new approach shared their experiences with other professionals and carers, including foster carers at a special information day. The day included a presentation by the founders of the model, Dr Sean Cameron and Colin Maginn, both of whom have a background in applied psychology and children's social care.
Improving life chances for young people
Commenting Councillor Roy Perry, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead Member for Children's Services, said: "The County Council takes its role as corporate parents, caring for vulnerable children when their own families are unable to care for them, very seriously indeed. We have an excellent track record for providing high levels of care to children and young people. All of our residential children's homes have been rated either good or outstanding by Ofsted as have our safeguarding services and support for children in care. However, we are not complacent and remain committed to enhancing and developing our support to the most vulnerable children to improve their life chances and outcomes.
"Research has shown that the Pillars of Parenting approach can help in building better and effective relationships between staff and the vulnerable young people they are caring for, many of whom have come from difficult and troubled backgrounds. It provides sensitive support which can enable children and young people in care to cope with parental rejection, abuse and neglect.
"It has been shown to help with placement stability by lessening the likelihood of placement breakdowns. This in turn enables the children and young people to make good progress in other areas of their lives including education, adopting healthy lifestyles and breaking cycles of behaviour that can put them at risk of offending or social exclusion."