Children's Homes Revisited

Who lives in children's homes and why? Who works there? How are the homes run? How effective are they? In this book, based on a three-year national research study, David Berridge and Isabelle Brodie examine the changes in structure and use of residential child care services over the last ten years. Beginning with a critique of the series of crises to have hit children's homes over the past decade (such as Pindown), the authors analyse the changing patterns of service use, developments in policy and the law, and general social factors affecting families. They consider findings from key research studies, interviews with managers in local authorities, staff and residents of homes, staying in each home for almost a week. The detailed account this provides forms the basis of their comprehensive analysis of the quality of care available and their recommendations for policy, practice, and the future management of children's homes.

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Press reviews for: Children's Homes Revisited

Community Care

The book is well written, with chapter summaries immediately adaptable for reports to management committees. It ought to be read by everyone with responsibilities for residential care and child care policy.

Youthwork

Interesting and challenging reading for social worker or layperson. These children are our children. This book can help us understand what life is really like for them.

Young Minds

David Berridge's work is always good to read. He writes clearly and in a down-to-earth style laced with dry humour and an unmistakable flavour of real life experience behind the research reads like a short history of recent child care services in itself... [The authors'] sensitive determination to pursue a realistically observational and participatory research method, combined with listening to everyone, from senior managers to children and young people accommodated, makes the book one which will be of interest to a very wide audience.

Issues In Social Work Education

Berridge and Brodie's study was conducted in the field of residential childcare. Published in the same year as Sir William Utting's report, People like Us, it provides a timely review of how children's homes have changed over a decade. Utting (1998) draws attention to "the woeful tale of failure at all levels to provide a secure and decent childhood for some of the most vulnerable children." It is therefore imperative for professionals to have available current findings about issues in residential care and guidance for their future practice. This task is achieved comprehensively by Berridge and Brodie using participant observation as the main research method. They return to three local authorities studied by Berridge in 1985 and examined systematically and in consideraqble detail how residential childcare has changed. In addition they sought to identify factors associated with good practice. The study proceeds to examine life in each of the children's homes in detail obtaining information from residents, staff and managers. There are helpful summary points at the conclusion of each chapter, and at the most salient points are drawn together in the concluding chapter, designed 'to add some generasl observations on the situation of children's homes at the end of the twentieth century.

International Journal Of Children's spirituality.

Recent press attention to children's homes and the care that they offer has made this book a timely addition to the literature. Children who have to live their lives in our care system are among the most vulnerable in society. Recent findings of abuse within children's homes must highlight the need to bring this area of work to the forefront. Without doubt the authors have achieved a thoughtful, thorough and careful piece of research. The book offers an interesting, and as an ex-social worker, a recognisable insight into the world of children's homes. As I read the pages the images that I held in my mind of children's homes that I had visited as a social worker swept in front of my eyes. An interesting, worthwhile and thoughtful book that, as good research should, raised for me as many questions as it answered.

Social Policy

This is an important book, because of its heritage and because of its quality... The research is well written and careful and open about methodological difficulties. All the issues raised are deftly placed in their historical and polict contexts, and other research, where it agrees or disagrees, is always, but not oppressively, cited. [W]hat will make this volume as memorable as its predecessor is that through careful commitment to the principles of good research there shines a deep concern for the welfare of children. The conclusions are complex and important.

Adoption & Fostering

Children's Homes Revisited is written in an easily accessible style and each chapter has a useful summary of the main points. The writing also has a dash of humour, usually at the authors' expense, which brings to life the issues and difficulties encountered. The research methods are set out in some detail and throughout stress the efforts to involve children and young people in the process.

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