Director of Strategy and Development, Sam Olsen, responds to the Care Inquiry: "We welcome the publication of the Care Inquiry report and the renewed focus it given to improving standards of care for looked after children and young people.
"St Christopher’s places a great deal of importance on helping children and young people to develop positive relationships - with each other, our staff, their foster carers and, where possible, with their families. Role modelling positive relationships is crucial if the children and young people we support are going to understand what a healthy relationships looks like and have the ability to develop them when they move into independence. Above all else, we have found that if children and young people feel cared for, then this an enormous impact on how they feel about themselves and what they are able to achieve.
"Our approach to residential care is based on a combination of attachment theory, social pedagogy and behavioural management. For the past eight years, we have also been working with Lifespan Research Group to develop ‘Q-Pack’ and attachment assessment framework into our work with children in residential care. This is proving to have a positive impact on outcomes for young people by helping us understand problem behaviours and better tailor the support to each child’s needs.
"We acknowledge that it is often difficult for our staff to be able to maintain relationships with children and young people when they have been moved on from our service. While many young people maintain contact with key staff members on an informal basis, the system does not support this more formally. Our vision is that if we can provide a range of fostering, residential and 16+ supported accommodation in the areas we work, then we will be better able to provide a continuity of care, support transitions as the child moves down the pathway and maintain the relationships the children have developed over time.
"Key to achieving this is working in partnership with local authority commissioning teams so that we can develop and deliver the range of services that can best meet the needs of local children. A more strategic approach to commissioning means that more children and young people can be matched to placements in their home borough and we can help put care packages in place that can provide the best standard of support.
"This kind of partnership working is a central theme of St Christopher’s growth strategy. We are already taking positive steps to give us the best chance of delivering the recommendations of the Care Inquiry and look forward to working in partnership with more local authorities to create brighter futures for looked after children."
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