2017: Children's Homes: What were they really like? Have they a Future?
A CCHN seminar held on Wednesday 1 November 2017
at Hinsley Hall in Leeds
The CCHN seminar at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, on 1 November 2017, was focused primarily on children’s homes, within the wider context of children’s residential services.
The morning session was retrospective. Peter Higginbotham covered the whole history of children’s homes from Tudor times to the current inquiries into abuse. David Lane gave an account of the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, in particular spelling out the way four large children’s homes had developed during the Inquiry’s remit. Peter Charlton then gave a most moving account of his time as a child in a Church of England children’s home, which had been a haven for him and a source of happy memories.
In the afternoon Janice Nicholson gave an account of the award-winning system established by North Yorkshire under the title ‘No Wrong Door’, whereby children’s individual needs were met with tailored services. Kevin Gallagher gave a broad look at residential child care services as they stand today and focused on the therapeutic services which his organisation offers. Jonathan Stanley joined the panel discussion.
The overall lesson of the day was probably that children’s homes are a thing of the past, but that there is a real and valued role for specialist residential child care provision as the services which best meet the needs of some young people for certain purposes. The historical sweep of the day was useful in putting the options for the future in perspective.
PRESENTATIONS FROM THE DAY WHICH ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
2017: David Lane, "What We Have Learnt about Children’s Homes through the Findings of the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry" (full text).
2017: Kevin Gallagher, "The Future for Children's Homes: The Independent Sector Viewpoint" (PowerPoint slides)
Peter Higginbotham's book Children’s Homes: A history of Britain’s institutional care for its young, has just been published. In its 25 chapters it covers almost every type of residential children services from their early days in Tudor times, through the Victorian heyday of the big institutions and the twentieth century development of local authority homes up to the present day.
Peter is also an acknowledged expert on workhouses. He has published many books and articles, and his websites contain extensive details of workhouses and children’s homes. He has broadcast on radio and appeared on television frequently, most recently explaining about workhouses to Fearne Cotton in Who Do You Think You Are?
David Lane was a panel member in the recent Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland, which reported in January 2017, and he will speak about what has been learnt about children’s homes in the province during the Inquiry’s remit from 1922 to 1995.
David commenced his career with eight years working in residential child care and ended it with eight years as Director of Social Services in Wakefield. Since then he has acted as expert witness in more than eighty cases, which in the main related to former children in care alleging negligence by care providers. From 2012 he was a Panel Member in the Northern Ireland Inquiry, which published its ten-volume report in January this year.
Janice Nicholson is North Yorkshire County Council’s Group Manager for its No Wrong Door service. This model consists of two hubs with a range of placements, support and services (including embedded specialist roles - clinical psychology, speech and language therapy and a police role) that wrap around troubled adolescents. Involved in the development of the model since its inception, Janice is a committed advocate of creative and flexible residential / edge of care support to keep young people within their family or community and within North Yorkshire. She has led residential homes to several ‘outstanding’ Ofsted judgements and contributed to the development of award winning services.
Kevin Gallagher is the Chair and Director of Amberleigh Care. Kevin has twenty years’ experience in the management of a wide variety of residential child care services, including both the public and private sectors. Currently he is Managing Director of Amberleigh Care, which provides therapeutic care for young males with sexually harmful behaviour. He is also Chair of the Consortium for Therapeutic Communities. He sits on the advisory panel for a quality improvement network (Community of Communities) at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is a member of the Welsh Assembly Government “task and finish” Group for Residential Childcare.
Jonathan Stanley, is Principal Partner of the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care.