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Residential Child Care Theory And Practice That’s Useful For The New Government

Residential Child Care theory and practice that’s useful for the new Government

Dear new government,

We’ve heard lots about political and economic planning.

We need to hear about the planning for the country emotionally and psychologically.

This is not the same as the plans you have for our mental health, about how things can be put right.

It is about our everyday wellbeing, how things will go right so they don’t go wrong.

The way we have been living needs to be different. The government must make the difference.

We have needed to defend ourselves emotionally and psychologically. Our behaviours have been in response to the emotional environment in which we have been living. Our defences have helped us survive. Some of us feel empty. Some of us feel full of things we wish weren’t there and have been imposed/impinged on/into us. We wish things to be different. We have been waiting.

In the electioneering you have been talking about growth, your focus has been on economic growth of the country.

We need you to recognise the emotional and psychological growth that is needed to enable us, as individuals, groups and communities, to resolve and recover from these past years.

You are asking us to go forwards with you. To do so we must let go of the comfort zone we have. It’s not been comfortable but is something we have come to know how to make the best within in it. Any move will be uncomfortable, even discomforting. You need to create a zone of comfort. We need nurturing, nourishing, replenishing.

When you have been electioneering presenting the continuation of budgets, we hear you saying, “Ask not what country will do for you but what you will do for the country”.

This is not to recognise our emotional and psychological needs. We need you to show us and not tell us how it is going to be different. Noone has recognised the emotional cost that transformation takes.

Perhaps you might ask us about belonging – do we feel part of your future? Do we feel recognised? Do we feel included? Do we feel cared for, about, for and with? Do we feel ‘dealt with’ rather ‘felt with’? Do we feel we have a place, and that this place is being made for us so we can feel we belong?

To trust you we need you to show you trust us. Trust must be given first in order that it can asked for.

When you avoided answering the question you were asked we experienced an absence of recognition and trust. We experienced an absence of relationship. We didn’t experience you as real. We need to know there are real people in government.

We have lived through a fragmenting election. We have not experienced consensus only multiple fragmentations. There has been no ‘meaning making’. We need you to show us how we will come together in a common purpose.

When working with children we must create a safe nurturing environment that meets needs. When the children feel emotionally ‘held’ they are enabled to contribute, to be creative. If you ask people to contribute before they have been resourced then you deplete their resources. It may be that we cannot commit to your plans as we need these resources to survive, maybe physically, maybe psychologically. If we are stressed, we may panic. Challenging behaviour is when someone is placed in a challenging situation and acts according to it. It is your responsibility to change the situation.

If we feel alone, fearful, unseen, how do we get your attention? Old hurts, trauma, resentments, may surface unless you act to resolve them with and for us? It’s not possible to put them aside.  If you have one foot in the past and one in the future you are not standing in the present.

We need your government to be connecting and communicating. We need you to show us how you understand that emotional needs are real. Your government and the population need to bond. We need to experience that you know the feelings by which we are making sense of the world, and how we understand each other, and our self as a result. We need you to show us, not to tell us.

Your government needs to appreciate we are going to need a lot of assistance and support to make any necessary changes. We need a facilitating rich environment, existing budgets have not been providing what we need. Full costed fiscal limits leave some of us in poverty and deprivation

We have learned over the history of residential child care that when caring about, for and emotional and psychological needs if you fail it can be forgiven, but not to try is unforgivable.

In the following blogs we will outline some of the things in Residential Child Care theory and practice we think will be useful and assist the new Government

  • Secure emotional base
  • Psychological Safety
  • Resilience
  • Restorative Justice/Practices
NCERCC