"Doing Home in Residential Care"

- Claire Cameron

Residential care has a reputation for being a placement of last resort but it does not have to be this way. Despite policy shifts away from group living, it is still home for a sizeable number of young people in England. Fundamental to good care is the way in which we ‘do home’ in a space that connects people. This presentation will draw on four research papers examining concepts of ‘home’, ‘recognition’, ‘belonging’ and ‘educator’ to argue that for residential care to flourish and ‘do home’ well, it needs to pay close attention to the physical spaces and objects of home, ethical foundations for meaningful relationships within those spaces, forging wellbeing through attention to the social sphere and opportunities for young people, and constructing the educator as an expert in everyday life.

"The Power of a Culture: Behaviourism vs Relationship"

- Robyn Kemp

How do we understand and nurture cultures in homes and services for children and families? How do we create the kinds of cultures that drive love, learning and relationships? The aspects of societal culture that dominate children and childhood policy and practice tend to lean toward a behaviourist approach, despite these approaches often being counter-productive for children and young people affected by abuse, neglect and trauma. Irish and UK societies rely heavily on medical and therapeutic services to 'fix' the self-harming and/or anti-social behaviour of children in care, but the evidence of improved outcomes remain consistently poor.  When the majority of effort and resources go into therapeutic services (that are frequently difficult to access at the time they are needed), we are often missing the opportunities presented to us in the everyday situations we and children encounter.


I will talk about how we can use social pedagogical theories and concepts to understand, create and nurture organisational and service based cultures that are designed to give consistent messages to children about their intrinsic value and worth as human beings in many, varied ways, in the everyday situations we share. We all need to feel loved, to learn and to have trusting relationships and children’s homes are often thought of as being devoid of these things. Social pedagogical approaches can show us another, most helpful perspective.

Compass Child & Family Services Conference

1st July 2019

University of Limerick