Our therapeutic approach

Alongside the Positive Support Plan, our developmental perspective is based on analysis of key historical, biological and social factors that have most likely shaped and continue to maintain a young person’s difficult behaviour – including protective factors relevant to a young person and their social context.

Key workers receive frequent, in-depth supervision from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) team, in support of their direct therapeutic work with young people. Where clinically indicated, the CAMHS team will also engage in their own direct therapeutic work with young people – although the emphasis remains on the joint development of psychological understanding of a young person’s needs across the whole staff group.

The home’s approach to working with young people secured under welfare orders is to help them to explore, as far as possible, their own understanding of the nature of risk that has led to them being secured, to help them see what other choices they may make in the future  and to help them practise new skills in living.

The primary objective of the Atkinson Secure Children’s Home is to provide, above all, a place of safety for young people. We aim to do this through creating an environment which is physically and emotionally containing – where staff are predictable in their responses to young people and where consistent boundaries around young people’s behaviour and social interaction are communicated and maintained.

All our practices are underpinned with restorative approaches to young people’s care and a ‘needs led approach’ to finding solutions for young people in crisis. We believe to do this effectively requires the full commitment of all staff at the home.

Atkinson works in partnership with Psychology Associates for local authorities that wish to commission a full psychological assessment of the child in their care. If this is ordered by the court or during the initial secure criteria panel meeting, then we recommend that a young person is given a three-month order, as this is the minimum time needed to complete such an assessment. If this report is commissioned at the point of referral, then the Atkinson and Psychology Associates can work together to guarantee completion within three months.

For this service Psychology Associates charges a fee that is independent of the Atkinson and Devon County Council, and the subsequent report is deemed as independent of the home and therefore approved by the courts.


All reports are undertaken by experienced professionals with clinical experience in this field and a proven track record in providing excellent reports for the Atkinson, and local authorities nationwide.


If you wish to commission a psychological report in the above way, please make a manager at the Atkinson aware of your intention at the point of referral so that we can work together for timely results.