Residential care

Kibble turns the end of the line into a new start

All too often, children are taken from the care of their parents, and although many of these children return to the care of their parents, there seems to be a gap in the work done to ensure that children return to a better home situation than the one they left. As well as providing residential care for children taken into care, Kibble is taking a pioneering approach to providing support for the whole family and working with parents as well as children.

For example, parent feedback on its "Handling Teenage Behaviour" course for parents (Future for Families) indicates improved relationships with children, increased personal self-esteem, a better understanding of teenage behaviours, and improved abilities in imposing boundaries.

Admitting young people to residential care is seen as a last resort for families and social workers. Whilst these circumstances may cause some professionals feelings of failure, parents report similar emotions. "Hopeless, powerless, and useless," was the comment made to Kibble by one parent. Against such a negative backdrop, thoughts such as 'Is this going to work?' or 'What's the point?' are understandable. So is it really the end of the line?

Kibble's approach is to turn this on its head, working with parents to encourage the belief that "it is a fresh start".  As one parent commented, "We felt that, at last, we had found someone who really listened to us and believed in what we had to say. Mostly, she helped us to believe in ourselves again, and gradually build our confidence after having it crushed.'

Self-belief is only one part of the equation. The obvious powerlessness and desperation felt by parents when their child's care is removed from them also needs to be addressed.  This means listening to parents. Professionals often use the term "hard to reach families" but do not always "hear" when parents are reaching out to them.  Communicating ineffectively is not just confined to young people.

Kibble bases its work on research and parent feedback. Breaking down barriers and engaging parents in family work processes is at the core of successfully addressing familial problems and risks.

We are working collaboratively with parents who are now involved in their own support group, helping out at information days for prospective participants, creating a parents' webpage and presenting at conferences. Parents recently attended the SSSC awards ceremony at which the service received a special commendation.

More information: www.kibble.org