Left behind : reflections of residential care home managers when children leave

Bhagat, Yesha and O'Reilly, Barbara (2021) Left behind : reflections of residential care home managers when children leave. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 20 (1). ISSN 2976-9353

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A case study of a children's therapeutic residential care provider consisting of five homes in England was carried out to consider the feelings and reflections of the managers on children leaving the home. This is an unexplored perspective/ subject which considers the significant and emotional transition of leaving care. The reflections in this case study can be used to improve practice for social care providers and give insights into a niche area of work. To explore this topic, a focus group was carried out with four residential home managers and two psychotherapists who work at the same care provider. It was found that the subject of leavers was not much reflected on and it was agreed that it needed to be to improve practice, as well as processing certain unconscious feelings around the child. Failure was a prominent feeling potentially derived from the pressure of ending cycles of failure for the children as well as unconscious projections held by the managers. There were also found to be certain issues around terminology, such as 'planned' and 'unplanned', used in this area of work which holds particular connotations. Lastly, it was found that relationships with local authorities were significant for ensuring healthy transitions.

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