Theorising residential child care

Mark Smith

in Rethinking residential child care

Published by Policy Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9781861349088
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303268 | DOI:
Theorising residential child care

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This chapter examines some of the theories and approaches that have been applied to residential child care in Britain over the years and in different practice settings. A lack of appropriate theoretical knowledge among those operating and managing care homes was implicated in the maintenance of the Pindown regime in Staffordshire and in the failure of colleagues and managers to see the dangers in Frank Beck's claim to be using regression therapy in Leicestershire. At a more prosaic level, over-reliance on a particular theoretical orientation can detract from the provision of good everyday care. After tracing the history of theory in residential child care, the chapter considers some of the theories including psychodynamic theory, behavioural approaches, developmental models, and stage models. It also discusses derivatives of psychodynamic approaches (attachment, resilience) and behavioural approaches (social-learning theory, cognitive behaviourism, solution-focused approaches). The chapter concludes by suggesting that residential child care needs to cast its net more widely in seeking out an appropriate theory base.

Keywords: Britain; residential child care; psychodynamic theory; behavioural approaches; developmental models; stage models; attachment; resilience; social-learning theory

Chapter.  6592 words. 

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