The other side of the wall

Wareing, Laurence and Gilroy, Paul (2021) The other side of the wall. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 20 (2). ISSN 2976-9353

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The closure of CrossReach's last remaining residential school, Ballikinrain, marks an important stage in the evolution of the charity's care for young people. CrossReach (the operating name for The Church of Scotland's Social Care Council) began opening large residential schools following World War II. It has now moved to family-style living in local communities for its children and young people, a process in which Scotland's changing legislation and CrossReach's own knowledge and experience have interacted to underpin a nuanced understanding of child centred care. Changes in practice at Ballikinrain, informed by academic and psychological consultation, legislative changes and recommendations from Scottish Government reports are described, together with a growing understanding of the local community's role in supporting cared for young people and necessary collaboration in the elimination of stigmatisation. This evolution is illustrated by statements from former pupils, and the particular example of one boy and his key worker, whose metaphor of driver and navigator suggests a fruitful way of viewing relationships at every level of the residential care system. We argue that the trajectory towards child-centred practice and legislation, exemplified by The Promise, supports the residential childcare system to enable our children and young people to influence national policy.

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