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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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Theorising residential child care

Theorising residential child care

(p.69) five Theorising residential child care
Rethinking residential child care

Mark Smith

Policy Press

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

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