Sense of place in children's residential care homes : perceptions of home?

Clark, A. and Cameron, C. and Kleipoedszus, S. (2014) Sense of place in children's residential care homes : perceptions of home? Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 13 (2). ISSN 1478-1840

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How do young people living in residential care perceive their environment? How do they experience the sights, sounds, smell and feel of living in an institution? How may attachment to place contribute to the wellbeing of young people? This paper explores meanings of home in domestic and regulated (institutional) environments from the perspective of young people and staff living and working in a residential children's home in England. Drawing on a pilot study using visual participatory research methods adapted from the Mosaic approach (Clark 2011), the study identifies what young people and staff considered important about the place where residents lived. Using photographs and commentary, three conceptual themes are discussed: the home as institutional space; the home as 'practices'; and home as idealised space. The paper raises questions as to how ways of 'doing home' can be supported in these liminal spaces that strive to be both domestic and institutional.

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