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Residential Child Care and the


Residential Child Care and the Family Metaphor: Relations, Relationships and Relatedness Andrew Kendrick it is essential that we provide the necessary warmth ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Residential Child Care and the

  • Residential Child Care and the
  • Family Metaphor
  • Relations, Relationships and Relatedness
  • Andrew Kendrick

  • it is essential that we provide the necessary
    warmth, affection and comfort for children's
    healthy development if we are not further to
    damage emotionally children and young people who
    have usually had a raw deal from life
  • (Childrens Safeguards Review, 1997)

Ongoing concerns about residential child care
  • Another Kind of Home Skinner Report
  • Childrens Safeguards Review Kent Report
  • Historical Abuse Systemic Review Shaw Report
  • National Residential Child Care Initiative

Ongoing concerns about residential child care
  • Defensive practice Kents sterile
  • Poor outcomes
  • education
  • health
  • employment
  • Continued ambiguity about residential child

Anti-residential bias
Family Residential
Good Bad
Safe Risky
Natural Unnatural
Homely Institutional
Issues with the family
  • the ideal of the nuclear family
  • from the nuclear family to the unclear family
  • Measured against the cereal-packet norm of the
    nuclear family, it is complex, with children and
    resources linking households across space and
    time, in ways which render the identification of
    family with a single, discrete household
    wholly misleading. (Simpson, 1994)
  • the breakdown of the family
  • the root of lack of social cohesion
  • the locus of poverty and social exclusion

Family as metaphor in residential care
  • Eddys always been there, but me and Eddy have
    bonded all well, thats what Im saying. I call
    him, hes my dad, you know what I mean, but he
    seemed to have always been there when I was
    restrained or, anytime Im angry, Ive left the
    building, he always seems to be there. (young
  • (Steckley and Kendrick, 2005)
  • She was like, a, like a sister, because we you
    know, we figured we looked alike and we were
    really close. She was like family to me. (young
  • (Jim Anglin, 2002)
  • I always regarded this place as my house..
    Everybody that was here was part of my family.
    All Ive wanted for the last three, four years is
    somebody to be there for me. Somebody I can turn
    round to and talk to. (young person)
  • (BBC, Social Workers)

Linking with kinship studies
  • Cultural definitions of family are very
  • Cultures of relatedness
  • biology/nature ? social
  • structure ? process/lived experience
  • Thus the ideas I describe lead me to question the
    division between the "biological" and the
    "social," between kinship as a biological,
    genetic, instant, and permanent relationship, and
    social identity as fluid. In Langkawi, ideas
    about relatedness are expressed in terms of
    procreation, feeding, and the acquisition of
    substance, and are not predicated on any clear
    distinction between "facts of biology" (like
    birth) and "facts of sociality" (like
    commensality). (Carsten, 1995)

Families of Choice
  • anthropological and sociological studies of
    gay and lesbian kinship
  • disruptions to, and severance of, kinship ties
    experienced by gays who declare their
    homosexuality to their families.
  • chosen families of friends are invested with
    certainty, depth, and permanence, and spoken
    about in the idiom of kinship

Not simply families of fate or choice
  • we have suggested that the imputed dichotomous
    contrast between given and chosen relationships
    is analytically shallow and that, in practice,
    there is a complex process of suffusion between
    familial and non-familial relationships.
  • (Pahl and Spencer, 2004)
  • children who, for whatever reason, are in
    state institutions may consider certain
    professional carers, highly committed to them, as
    given, although later in life they may
    recognize that their commitment could not be
  • (Pahl and Spencer, 2004)

Not simply families of fate or choice
High Commitment Low Commitment
Given Relationships traditional family fictive kin more distant kin
Chosen Relationships close friends Routine relations (of work, etc)
Pahl and Spencer (2004) Pahl and Spencer (2004) Pahl and Spencer (2004)
Blurring of boundaries
  • The boundary between familial and
    non-familial relationships is increasingly
    blurred in everyday lives.
  • There is certainly evidence for an extension of
    family relationships in terms of the language
    used so that individuals and practices may be
    described as being like family where it is
    clear that this is a positive evaluation. It is
    also evident from some of our studies that these
    non-familial intimate relations provide practical
    and emotional support for particular family
    members in such a way as to enable particular
    clusters of family relationships and practices to
  • (Jamieson et al. 2006)

Children creating like-family kinship
  • a special relationship that seemed like family
    with someone who was, geneologically speaking,
    unrelated to them.
  • children liked the person and interpersonal
    and interactive elements were relevant
  • shared biography and borrowed relational
  • creativity and electivity
  • Perhaps most importantly, we have argued that
    childrens like-family relationships are forms of
    kin relationship that children value.
  • (Mason and Tipper, 2008)

  • We met a number of participants who had
    experienced feeling accepted, secure and a sense
    of belonging in residential care. In the best
    experiences, participants thought of their
    residential carers as a kind of family What
    often characterised the positive relationships in
    residential care was the continuing sense of
    security and safety, which could be relied on.
  • (Happer, MacCreadie and Aldgate 2006, p.17)

Back to outcomes in residential child care
  • a recent review and meta-analysis of research
    on residential child care concludes that
    children and young people, on average, improve
    in their psychosocial functioning (Knorth et
    al, 2008)
  • the limited research on residential child care
    also found that generally children did better
    following time in residential care than they
    were doing beforehand (Forrester, 2008)

Back to outcomes in residential child care
  • when the nature of the aims of placements is
    taken into account, foster placements and
    residential placements were equally successful
    in achieving their specific aims (Kendrick,
  • if one takes account of behaviour, age and age
    at entry, childrens homes are not
    significantly less successful than other
    placements (Sinclair et al.,2007)

The centrality of relationships between young
people and staff
  • several of the studies of residential homes
    explained successful residential care
    according to the quality of the interaction
    between young people and adults. Terms used
    include empathy approachability
    persistence willingness to listen and
    reliability (Berridge, 2002)
  • attachment theory, resilience theory have
    highlighted this centrality of relationship

Whitaker, Archer and Hicks (1998)
  • being ready to listen, both to the evidently
    momentous and to the apparently mundane
  • being sensitive to a young persons
    readiness, or not, to talk and to share
    feelings and experiences
  • combining non-verbal or symbolic forms of
    caring with verbal, explicit ones
  • noticing good or admirable behaviour and
    crediting a young person for it
  • marking special occasions in a young persons
    life with a celebration.

Back to cultures of relatedness
  • alongside individual relationships between
    children and young people and residential staff
  • the sense of relatedness brought about by
  • routines, rhythms and rituals of daily living
  • sharing of food
  • involvement in cultural and leisure activities
  • the living space and the environment

  • A sense of normality
  • it would appear that creating a sense of
    normality for the residents without attempting
    to pretend that a group home setting is
    either normal or normative is vital for
    their sense of well-being (Anglin, 2002)
  • Intimate familiarity
  • importance of the fact that the
    relationships were possessed of a particular
    characteristic. I have come to think of that
    characteristic as intimate familiarity.
    (Garfat, 1998)

  • It is in understanding children and young
    peoples centrality in the complex mesh of
    relations, relatedness and relationships that
    residential child care must find its true

  • They didnt treat it like residential, they
    treated me like family, basically there was one
    worker who treated me like a daughter it was
    more like a family home than residential (Female,

  • Anglin, J. (2002) Pain, normality, and the
    struggle for congruence Reinterpreting
    residential child care.Binghampton Haworth
  • Carsten, J. (1995) The substance of kinship and
    the heat of the hearth Feeding, personhood, and
    relatedness among Malays in Pulau Langkawi,
    American Ethnologist 22, 223-241.
  • Carsten, J. (ed) (2000) Cultures of relatedness
    New approaches to the study of kinship.
    Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
  • Carsten, J. (2004) After kinship. Cambridge,
    Cambridge University Press.
  • Forrester, D. (2008) Is the care system failing
    children? The Political Quarterly 79(2),
  • Garfat, T. (1998) The effective child and youth
    care intervention A phenomenological inquiry.
    Journal of Child and Youth Care, 12(1-2)
  • Happer, H., MacCreadie, J. Aldgate, J. (2006)
    Celebrating Success What Helps Looked After
    Children Succeed. Edinburgh Social Work
    Inspection Agency.
  • Jamieson, L., Morgan, D., Crow, G. Allan, G.
    (2006) Friends, neighbours and distant partners
    Extending or decentring family relationships.,
    Sociological Research Online, 11(3).
  • Kendrick, A. (1995). Residential care in the
    integration of child care services. Edinburgh
    HMSO/Central Research Unit.
  • Kendrick, A. (ed.) (2008) Residential child care
    Prospects and Challenges. London Jessica
  • Mason, J. Tipper, B. (2008) Being related How
    children define and create relatedness, Childhood
    15(4), 441-460.
  • Pahl, R. Spencer, L. (2004) Personal
    communities not simply families of fate or
    choice. Current Sociology, 52(2), 199-221.
  • Simpson, B. (1994) Bringing the unclear family
    into focus Divorce and re-marriage in
    contemporary Britain, Man, 29(4), 831-851
  • Sinclair, I., Baker, C., Lee, J. Gibbs, I.
    (2007) The pursuit of permanence A study of the
    English child care system. London Jessica
    Kingsley Publishers.
  • Steckley, L. Kendrick, A. (2005) Physical
    restraint in residential child care the
    experiences of young people and residential
    workers. Childhoods Children and Youth in
    Emerging and Transforming Societies International
    Conference, 29 Jun - 3 Jul 2005, Oslo, Norway.
  • Whitaker, D., Archer, L. and Hicks, L. (1998)
    Working in childrens homes Challenges and
    Complexities. Chichester Wiley.