Providing new experiences in a safe, welcoming environment
Resilience and attachment theory research have emphasised the importance of creating a secure base for the children where they can feel safe and able to try new experiences and activities. Channels and Choices promotes regular activities and healthy living for all children in our care. All young people will be encouraged to take part in a large variety of sports, hobbies and new experiences that they may enjoy. We believe this contributes towards the development of a child’s self esteem and identity, as well as building appropriate social and group relationships.
The overall experiences and progress of children is Outstanding” Ofsted
Channels and Choices is a warm, safe and welcoming environment whereby we encourage children to learn, develop and grow. Our houses’ locations range from rural houses in the countryside to more urban locations. All staff are trained to a high level and supervised by a member of the homes management team. All of whom provide daily therapeutic care based on a Psychodynamic framework. Initially our framework was built upon the ideas and theories of Barbara Dockar Drysdale and Donald Winnicott. It is heavily influenced by systemic and attachment theory, and also now incorporates David Shemming’s ARP (Attachment and Relationship-based Practice) project.
Encouraging safe and healthy relationships
We believe our intensive level of support and supervision allows each child to establish and form safe and healthy relationships with other children and adults. Channels and Choices operates a minimum of 1 to 1 adult to child ratio.
Channels and Choices are members of The Consortium of Therapeutic Communities and The Community of Communities; part of The Royal College of Psychiatrists. We are also members of the National Centre for Therapeutic Residential and Foster care.
Consistent & Nurturing care
Often, for the first time, children experience care at Channels & Choices where they are not rejected or traumatised by adults. Group living within our homes allows children to have the experience of being cared for by nurturing and supportive adults who promote safe, positive and clear relationships. The adults within each house carefully plan for each child and strive to help them have better experiences and manage their days. This includes all parts of their day such as: getting up and going to bed, mealtimes, going to and from school, play times etc. This intensive, but gradual and supportive approach will, over time, result in the child being able to make better attachments, and develop the ability to manage social and group settings. Two adults; Jamie and Emma whom lived with us when they were children, give an insight in to their experiences of Channels & Choices.
The assessment process
At the start of every child’s placement with us we complete a robust 12 week assessment process which includes our ongoing knowledge and understanding of the child, as well as an attachment based assessment (incorporating social integration), Psychological and Psychiatric assessment, as necessary. This assessment process will conclude in developing the child’s treatment plan which is devised by the care, school and therapy team. The treatment plan will identify the child’s needs and how we will meet those needs. The Therapy co-ordinator will also allocate a member of their team to the child. Please see our therapy section for more details.
Young people flourish within an environment which provides nurturing and therapeutic care. Research-led attachment practice implemented by a team of therapists who guide and support staff, help young people develop trusting relationships and a more positive view of themselves.” Ofsted
Moving on from residential care
The treatment plan for the child is reviewed regularly and if appropriate, when the time is right we will share the child’s information with our therapeutic fostering Manager and start to talk about a transition to a therapeutic foster placement. Since 2013 we have been shaping our therapeutic residential to therapeutic fostering transition placements which we call ‘stepping stone’ placements. 90% of the children in our group living residential homes will move through to one of our therapeutic foster placements. We know that transitions have been extremely difficult for the child previously so we make sure that we are very careful in the planning and supporting of the plan. We are one of the only therapeutic communities in the UK who offer integrated therapeutic residential, fostering, schooling and therapy services.
Why choose Channels & Choices?
- Outstanding progress – Ofsted rate the experiences and progress that children make as Outstanding.
- We are outcome orientated – our services and staff are geared towards focussing on outcomes as well as evidencing outcomes for children.
- Seamless transitions – We are the only UK provider to be able to offer a seamless transition from therapeutic residential care to therapeutic fostering using our own in house services. The majority of children that we care for begin their journey in our residential services but progress in to a therapeutic foster placement. Most children that we care for have attachment disorders or unresolved trauma which manifests itself through a variety of different behaviours which are too great to manage in a foster placement from the outset. We stabilise the child’s behaviour in a shorter term, outcome focussed residential placement whilst we complete initial assessments. Our initial assessments include Psychological assessment, an attachment based assessment and Psychiatric as necessary. We then match the children to one of our highly trained and skilled therapeutic foster carers whilst keeping the child’s school, therapist and keyworkers as a consistent part of their lives.
The majority of children that we work with have experienced a high number of foster placement breakdowns. Our service prevents further breakdown and offers local authorities a time limited and cost efficient choice of placement for children who would have otherwise remained within a children’s home indefinitely.
- All of our services are in house – A common issue we hear from Local Authorities is that they can not place in Kent due to the impact on local services. We have eradicated this issue as we have our own school, as well as our own therapy team, which means that there are no delays in getting the children the services that they need and we have no impact on local school or health services.