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Our restorative approach

Our Atkinson Secure Children’s Home achieved selection as one of seven pilot organisations to meet the strict criteria for the Restorative Service Quality Mark by the Restorative Justice Council.

The Award involved the home passing 36 different criteria that established and embedded restorative approaches throughout the service. All the staff in the home have been trained in restorative approaches in order to achieve excellent working relationships with the vulnerable children in their care. Restorative approaches are fundamental to the care that the children receive and helps them understand how to communicate their emotions in a safe environment.

Atkinson, a restorative approach to secure children’s care

The Atkinson is the first residential or secure setting to achieve the award, which was made possible by the introduction of restorative approaches over 4 years ago into the home. This technique of childcare has been especially adapted by the manager to introduce simple yet effective strategies to support young people reduce their risk taking behaviour and work with them to return to the wider community safely.

The Award is the result of all the hard work that the staff group have put into making the home a relaxed, caring environment that welcomes young people from Devon and Nationwide.

Atkinson has developed significantly in restorative approaches to young people’s are in the last two years. This has seen a significant shift in the ethos of the home. Children are encouraged to think about the effects their behaviour has on others and supported in talking about their emotions and the emotions of others.

All the staff have gone through a training programme with a specialist in restorative approach who attends the home once a week to further support and develop restorative practices. Records are kept of positive interventions with young people that have included restorative approaches that have been explored and developed by young people.

Restoring balance and rebuilding damaged relationships is at the hear of restorative practice here at the Atkinson, and although challenging for children to work with at times, helps us achieve reduced levels of risk and increases the positive life choices children make both in the Atkinson and upon release.

If you place a young person in our home or have a young person currently with us, please ask to see to records of their restorative interventions to get an idea of the achievable aims that each child can work towards.

“Restorative approaches embrace the day to day skills involved in pre-empting conflicts and harm by pro-actively building community cohesion and social capital as well as reacting/responding when things go wrong.”

Dr Belinda Hopkins
September 2008

The Homes Behaviour Management Policy and practice have restorative principles embedded throughout. Staff have developed empathetic listening skills and are encouraged to explore the rebuilding of relationships and re-balancing of harm caused through needs based restoration and Not punishment.

For example, we often ask two young people who have been in conflict to sit and talk about their frustrations, supported by staff. We have also offered restorative interventions that have included working in the home or in the community to give back to communities that might have had harm caused to them in the past. Encouraging young people to develop and mature in this was reaps benefits upon their return to the community.