Secure places

Have you ever felt out of control, had the feeling of not being able to control what you might do next? of course we all have moments when we feel like this.  However, somewhere inside our body and or mind kicks into overdrive and it passes.  Maybe with the help of someone else or maybe because we have removed ourselves from the situation.


For many young people who live in care do not always find this possible.  Many will not come into care until they are already experienced severe neglect or harmful behaviours.  The effect of which means that the young person could experience placement breakdowns, poor school attendance and attainment.  The young person may struggle with making positive new attachments.  What does this mean? It means that the carer will have to work hard to develop trust, and a positive relationship that can begin to address the basic parenting needed to provide the skills and resilience to help the young person.


It is very important to remember that this is not true of all children in care for those that have experienced a positive start their chances are more positive.


I believe that this is why our early years is so important, it does not prevent harm as the young person grows up, it does not make us invincible.  But what it does do is help with settling into a new placement, it does increase your chances of continuing in education, it does help with being able to talk with adults and make friends all important to help with good outcomes.


The series Kids behind bars has shown the challenges that some of these young people have experienced and what may happen.  It shows how young people with chaotic lifestyles arrive at secure and struggle initially with the strict boundaries and then with the intense personalised programme thrive when care is provided rigidly but also adapted for the right level.


This week I have worked hard with one young person helping them understand how their behaviour is leading them to a secure placement.  It has been hard for me knowing that this is not always a positive outcome.  Every time the young person goes to a secure unit that the chances that the good work that happened before may not always be repeated increasing the risk of a dependence on this life style.  The danger is a reliance and dependence on this life style that promotes repeat offending into adulthood.


Having watched the programme, worked in residential and my own experiences of working with young people that have been in secure there is good work being done with young people in secure homes.  However, this work needs to be followed through afterwards by the social worker, and youth offending worker if there is one.  Where this is not being done and the right procedures not followed the Howard league provides support and advice for people that have been in Prison or secure unit.



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One response

  1. Thanks for sharing this. My husband spent several years working with teen offenders in a residential treatment facility and he often came home with stories of kids that were unable to control themselves.

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