All too often, children and young people are referred to us as a measure of last resort. They may have suffered repeated unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation with their families, or endured multiple and repeated break down of one foster placement after another. By the time we meet them, their confidence in adults’ ability to care for them is limited, their sense of self-worth is distorted, and opportunities for them to enjoy their childhood have been dramatically reduced.
Whilst The Lioncare Group appreciates and celebrates the benefits of family life for the majority of Looked After children, we recognise that some children and young people first need specialised residential therapeutic support if they are to achieve a sustainable foster care placement or successfully live independently. For these children and young people, therapeutic residential intervention should be the option of first choice, laying the foundations on which they can begin rebuilding their lives, and paving the way for achievable fostering or independent living.
These children or young people may generally deal with day-to-day situations in a state of panic and rage, become anxious, angry, or despairing, and may have been traumatised and/or emotionally deprived and damaged through experiences during their early stages of infancy and childhood, or through previous care experiences. They will typically have suffered emotional and/or physical neglect, physical injury and/or intimidation, sexual abuse and/or emotional abuse.
They may have difficulty achieving basic trust in adults and generally find the demands of every day living overwhelming and unmanageable. They may have formed an array of defensive mechanisms which have proved effective in protecting them from the outside world, but which now represent a barrier to healthy emotional development. They frequently display anti-social, withdrawn, disruptive, and destructive behaviours and outbursts, and their chaotic inner world may leave them with a sense of worthlessness, emptiness and extreme low self-esteem. They may also show signs of learning and developmental delays.
Adults concerned with their care, education, or wellbeing of these children or young people may feel at a loss as to know what to do or how to help.
The consequence for the child or young person may be severe difficulties in their ability to:
- Cope in a healthy way with situations of separation, loss, and change
- Appropriately express, contain, or manage their emotions & urges (including sexual)
- Deal with their feelings of aggression and / or violence
- Thrive within an education setting
- Form or invest in emotional attachments to others
- Show healthy functioning within a group situation
- Socialise with peers
If you would like to talk with us about a particular child or young person who you feel would benefit from the care and provision we offer, you can phone us on 01273 720424