Making Residential Care Work
Structure and Culture in Children's Homes
This book was originally published in 1998, when over 6,000 children lived in residential homes in England and Wales. The fact that some children's homes are better than others is well established, but why should this be so? Past answers have tended to be tautologous - rather on the lines of 'a good home is one where children do well; children do well because they are in a good home.'
This study examines various aspects of children's homes and explores the connections between them in an attempt to break down the old circular argument. Structures are discernible in the relationship between different types of goals - societal, formal and belief; the variable balance between these goals determines staff cultures, which, in turn, shape the child cultures that develop. Such relationships are important because of their close association with outcomes - whether the children do well, whether the homes prosper. The model described in the book provides a conceptual framework and a set of causal relationships that should help professionals to plan and manage residential care better and so meet the needs of vulnerable children more effectively.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction. 2. Structure, Cultures and Outcomes. 3. How the Research was Done. 4. The Homes Described. 5. How the Homes Changed. 6. The Structure of Homoes. 7. Staff and Child Cultures. 8. Structure, Cultures and Outcome for the Homes. 9. Outcomes for Homes and Outcomes for Children. 10. Practical Applications of the Results. 11. Conclusions. Appendices. 1. References. 2. The background characteristics of children and staff. 3. Indicators of staff and children's cultural responses and results from the nine homes. 4. Cultural responses to the same incidents in the nine homes. 5. A replication study in the USA. 6. Principles underpinning the Children Act, 1989.