We are very excited about the excellent national and international response that we have had to the call for papers for the SIRCC Annual Conference. Speakers. The theme is Realising Potential: Inspirational Journeys to Positive Residential Child Care Cultures. The conference is on 6 and 7 June at the Erskine Bridge Hotel, very near to Glasgow Airport, so it will be easy to get to for long distance travellers. Booking forms and the flier, including an outline programme and list of speakers can be found on the SIRCC Annual Conference web pages.
We are particularly looking forward to hearing from Keynote speakers Sandra Bloom (USA) co-founder of the “Sanctuary Model” and Keith White from Mill Grove, London, a unique and inspirational residential community in London. Speakers are coming from Scotland and England, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the USA and Germany, so we feel excited about the challenges and variety that they will all be bringing with them. Some interesting themes are emerging and include the language of care, culture, food, young people’s participation, and many practical issues, boundaries, relationships and tensions for staff trying to help young people to achieve their aspirations as they do their everyday work.
Yes, earlier this year SIRCC held a special seminar to look at issues around getting staff through their SVQs and more recently were involved in the launch of Scotland. Another key issue that people seem to be talking about quite a bit at the moment is that of commissioning services for improved outcomes for children, and SIRCC was also involved with other partnership organisations in a conference on The Future of Children’s Services that specifically concentrated on this theme.
We have also just been in organising the CAERSS annual conference for people concerned with care and education in residential special schools and secure accommodation, where the new Staff Development Guide for Self Evaluation by the Care Commission and HMIe was launched. I was delighted at this event to be able to hand out copies of this document as well as of the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum’s publication How Good is Your Throughcare & Aftercare Service? You can follow the link and find out more about this on their web site.
SIRCC and NCERCC
SIRCC is pleased to be working together with NCERCC (National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care) in a number of ways. When the centre was being planned SIRCC did object to the use of National in the title. Why would folk in England not be happy with an English Centre for Excellence? I’m not sure. We think that the use of the term national in a London-based agency is not always clear!
However we are all good friends and this has not stopped us sharing our agendas and working closely together! Ian Milligan has been asked to join the Advisory group for the Social Pedagogy project which NCERCC is running – looking at how ideas from the social pedagogy tradition can inform residential practice in a sample of residential units in England.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland there are also a number of people and agencies interested in this subject and SIRCC is looking at developing a short course which will introduce practitioners to some of the key ideas behind a social pedagogical approach.
Some social work professionals and academics are reluctant to encourage a “soc-ped” approach – (professional rivalry perhaps?) – but given the low numbers of qualified child care practitioners, especially in children’s homes, and the tendency to leave residential work once people do get a social work qualification, this subject will not go away. Recent publicity about the quality of care in children’s homes in Germany (see the Sunday Times of 18 March) also suggests that children may benefit from this form of professional care.
Do get in touch with me at [email protected] if you would like any more information. I hope to see some of you in June.