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Rethinking residential child carePositive perspectives$
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Mark Smith

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781861349088

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861349088.001.0001

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The residential environment

The residential environment

Chapter:
(p.87) six The residential environment
Source:
Rethinking residential child care
Author(s):

Mark Smith

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781861349088.003.0006

Psychodynamic perspectives always recognised the inherent complexity of residential child care, a complexity that needed to be understood and appropriately negotiated. Managerial regimes have sought to reduce complex relational and psychodynamic processes to a series of procedures. This is fundamentally misconceived; attempts to manage relationships through regulation detract from the essence of care. They also assume that residential child care can be managed structurally and functionally, whereas it really requires to be understood organically. This chapter considers the care environment in Britain, focusing on group care. The interaction of the human and environmental dimensions in a lifespace context produces unique cultures of care. There are three elements in the overall group-care environment: resident group, staff team, and the physical environment. The overall functioning of any resident group will also be affected by factors of gender and ‘race’.

Keywords:   Britain, group care, residential child care, gender, race, resident group, staff team, physical environment

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