CYC-Online 141 NOVEMBER 2010
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Community homes: leadership, care and treatment in a planned environment

F.B.G. Daltrey

A chapter of historical interest, first published in the U.K. 35 years ago.

This essay was prompted by my experience of working for eighteen months as a housemaster in a former approved school, which is one of the three schools in the Home Office community Homes Project. Care and treatment in a planned environment is the report of those taking part in the Project and it states the principle on which the three schools are being planned. As the report is not envisaged as a blueprint for future community homes and is issued for discussion, it would be superfluous to offer an evaluation of it by itself. However, it does represent the early stages of the process to “attempt to formulate principles, to demonstrate them in practice, and to evaluate the results”.1 It is referred to as such in the following consideration of residential child care. The Project community homes are all of the type having resources and also offer education on the premises, and these are the main subject of the essay. They are referred to as specialist community homes.

The purpose of community homes
On 1 January 1971 the statutory changes implemented in the Children and Young Persons Act, 1969, came into force and created provision for a new community homes system. The approved schools, the remand homes and children's homes all became community homes. The function of the former approved schools within this system is seen as “community home provision with specialist resources, which also offers education on the premises for those who cannot appropriately make use of normal community facilities”.2 However, three years later, there is some confusion as to the purpose of community homes. In some areas, they are indeed “aimless admixtures of existing places of care and detention”3 while Balbernie regards them as “a sentimental idea dreamt up by female child care officers”.4 In order to understand the present situation it is necessary to appreciate the historical circumstances of social policy in this field.

Approved schools came into existence in 1933 as places of care, detention and training for children. Before this the reformatory and industrial schools were catering for children who were delinquent, and those who were thought to be in moral danger or in need of care respectively. The approved schools received mainly delinquent children and their task was seen officially as providing care, training and education with the object of promoting self control and self reliance. This constituted little in the way of guidelines for those with the job of running such establishments and allowed wide interpretation as to the means of achieving such objectives. In addition, the schools were in an ambivalent position with regard to the way society viewed them. Children placed in approved schools were not only there for their own good, but also for the good of the people they had been in conflict with. So the needs of the individual child had to be held against the demands for security from the community. Because of this lack of clear direction from both the Home Office and society in general, the routines and regimes in approved schools had a wide variation. Despite this, an overall pattern of approved school ideology developed which was shaped by child care theory and particular treatment philosophies. Jones notes how “at one time emphasis was placed on the “overall effect of a school regime” and how later on attention “was directed towards the “individualisation of treatment.”5 The former approach relied on the socialisation function of the school in which the values, culture and norms of society as a whole were imbibed and children were trained to return to life outside. The latter approach emphasises individual relationships between staff and children with discussion of personal problems and of the reasons for residential treatment. Both approaches commonly stressed the importance of the role of the adult for the school.

Two Government White Papers reflected the ambivalence about aims and methods and the swing towards individualised treatment. The Child, the Family and the Young Offender (1965) proposed keeping children under sixteen away from the courts and combining intermediate and junior approved schools in a larger system of residential treatment for offenders and non-offenders. Children in Trouble (1968) did not entirely support keeping children away from the courts, but did propose to integrate all the approved schools into a large residential system. This was enacted in the Children and Young Persons Act, 1969, and the intended result was a flexible system in which a child was committed to the care of the local authority which has the power to place the child according to his needs. It was stated that too much attention was being paid to the behaviour of children in classifying them instead of looking at “the needs and causes underlying (the children's) problems”. This was suggesting that the underlying causes of delinquent and disturbed behaviour could be regarded as similar. Implicit in this idea that delinquency is a particular symptom of family disruption and individual maladjustment was the conception that offenders and non-offenders could be treated together. Much criticism has been given to this conception both on the theoretical and practical level. Balnerbie’s view of the community homes system quoted earlier is based on his belief that such a system ignores “the reality of delinquency by pretending that it does not exist as a condition” .6 Sparks and Hood state that

whatever one may think the predisposing causes of delinquency are, few will deny that delinquency often involves the young person taking a certain attitude towards property and personal relationships, and that these attitudes with their supporting rationalisations may be learned and reinforced through association with other delinquents. Thus a child may be “acting out” aggression because of family disturbance, but whether or not he develops attitudes expressing aggression to school work and property may depend partly upon whom he has been associating with. To ignore this seems to deny completely one of the fundamental planks of the sociological view of delinquency, a view which seems to have no place in the assumptions underlying either the White Paper or the (community homes) project report.7

The response of those concerned with running the system was no less adamant:

We cannot emphasise strongly enough that the hard core delinquent element, which is a social nuisance because it has learnt and affirms to an alien code of conduct, is not the same in treatment terms as those who express frustration through unlawful behaviour.8

Practically, because of their experience and resources, the former approved schools continue to receive the vast majority of offenders, and this role is one which makes the system somewhat less flexible than envisaged. More important than these considerations about organising the system is the fact that, as Gill says,

very little attention has been paid to the far more significant issue of the nature of daily life within the residential settings.9

Carlebach discusses the need for an operational definition of delinquency, by which he means one which describes the condition in terms of its consequences and social significance and is also of help in formulating goals for treatment. He suggests that what matters is that

a child has been forced beyond the confines of normal interaction level (i.e. family, school, neighbourhood) and has been brought into interaction with the control forces of the wider society and in doing so the wider society explicitly challenges the parents” role and competence and places the functions of social control foremost.”10

His definition of children coming into the former approved schools is therefore “children and young persons in interaction with the control systems of society”,10 and this recognises delinquency as a condition in a way that is realistic and therefore responds to the criticisms mentioned in the last paragraph. The punitive tradition of the approved schools has been slowly giving way to concepts of the treatment of delinquency. In the same way that, as I shall argue later, the swing to individualised treatment has neglected the overall effect of the regime, there is the danger of ignoring punishment when talking of treating delinquency. The dichotomy created by setting treatment over punishment or vice versa seems to me to be a false one. I refer both to the place of specialist community homes in society and also to the positive use of punishment in treatment within them.11 Punishment is certainly explicit in being “sent away”, and perhaps the schools should readily own to this function and so satisfy the pressures in our society for punishment. There is no reason why punishment should not be seen as part of treatment and why being “sent away” cannot itself be the punishment aspect. However, it does not follow from this in any way that the conditions and environment of the school should be punitive. What is important is that the child understands what is happening to him and that the role of the school is explained to him in overall treatment terms. As Tutt says,

the child will see detention in the school as punishment and that per se sufficient penance for his misdeeds, and, therefore, he will see no necessity to change as well.12

It is this necessity of change (which Tutt sees mainly as a change in behaviour, not personality) which clarifies the purpose of the specialist community homes.

The Project report recognises that offenders will still largely populate the specialist community homes.

The children are likely to be those who, before the passing of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969, would have been subject to an Approved School Order; and they will include some children who would not have been committed to an approved school, but who could benefit from the facilities to be provided at community homes of this kind.13

It also notes that although the new legal framework enables greater weight to be given to the underlying factors in a child's behaviour, it must still be recognised that presenting symptoms in the form of difficult or antisocial behaviour should also receive attention in the treatment situation.14

Even so, Ryall notes how alien to current philosophy is any emphasis on delinquent behaviour and says of the Project report: “the booklet itself has become one of the impediments to constructive rethinking about the treatment of delinquency”. 15 He suggests that there are three reasons why there are strong pressures to accept the kind of treatment philosophy contained in the report. Firstly, there is the desire to redefine problems so that they “fit in” with what is already known and familiar and therefore open to solution. Secondly, the threat to our own identity if we maintain that delinquent children are rational. This threat is removed if we define them as sick and use the appropriate labels ("presenting symptoms"). Thirdly, acknowledging the principle of retribution in our culture; if we wish to treat delinquent children we must hold that the child is not responsible for his own actions, but is sick. We seem reluctant to believe the delinquent child may be rational (and therefore responsible) and sick (and so needing treatment). While it is maintained in this essay that delinquency may exist as a condition involving a learned pattern of behaviour in addition to any emotional disturbance, not everyone would make a distinction between delinquency and maladjustment. As Bridgeland points out in a review of definitions of maladjustment and delinquency, few of the pioneers in residential work agreed in their interpretations of such words.16 Like their personalities and practices, their interpretations were individualistic. However, this should not obscure the fact that much of the work done by pioneer workers with maladjusted children included those who were delinquent, and this experience needs to be considered by those working in community homes. All the needs of a child in residential care must be provided for in the care and treatment, and this provision should exist together with the overall purpose of effecting change in the child. So far the residential basis of this care has been assumed, but it is worth noting that some doubts have been raised as to the desirability of residential care.17 Under the new legislation a child committed to the care of his local authority is not obliged to be placed in residential care. To view the community homes system in a positive way is not to suggest that every child committed to care should find a place somewhere in the system. Careful consideration needs to be given to each child in assessment to ascertain which is the best course of action for that particular child. If residential care is decided upon, then care and treatment in the planned environment of a specialist community home is one resource available to the local authority.

Care, treatment and planned environments

The aim, in our view, should be to provide community homes whose scope is such that a child's entire needs may be provided for within the treatment programme offered by the homes to which he goes.18

Residence in community homes means that the basic provision of physical needs for the whole twenty-four hour period of the day must be met. The Project report has rightly paid a great deal of attention to the designing and setting up of living accommodation and stresses the importance of each child having his own personal space for being alone when he wishes. Around the basic physical needs has to be built the social and caring needs appropriate to the child's stage of development. Beedell uses the word “parenting” to cover this provision and says that “the essential character of residential work for children is that it takes over a more or less substantial part of the responsibility for parenting”19 He distinguishes three aspects of parenting: holding, the provision of experiences of care, comfort and control; nurturing, encouraging development of skills; development and maintenance of personal integrity, growing up and becoming a whole person. These aspects describe the function of parenting a child in a substitute living base. Whatever the reason for committal to care, every child needs parenting in this way, so that for the residential staff this will be a primary task. Parenting takes place within the residential community in the midst of the whole complex network of relationships which the staff influence. C. Winicott, describing the influence, states “the essential skill of the residential worker is to achieve a way of living for a group of individuals”.20 This recognises that while the worker must have the individual relationships implicit in the parenting function, these relationships take place largely in the group living situation, and therefore the worker must be able to create, balance and control the way of living for the children in his or her care.

The Project report describes the planned environment as providing not only a supportive framework for a variety of treatments, but also an environment which is in itself therapeutic ...

All aspects of a child's day are used therapeutically, that is in such a way as to heal the effects of past damage and to promote emotional and social growth; the ordinary group living arrangements in the home contribute a major part of the treatment methods.21

Despite the number of pioneer and experimental schools, there is a real lack in our knowledge of precisely how to organise such a planned environment. There is, however, no doubt as to the prime importance of the unconditional love and acceptance of each child as he is. It is this which gives the warm and accepting environment necessary for care and treatment. Most of the writing on residential work in this country centres on this aspect of the environment and on understanding the emotional disturbance of the child. Much that is helpful and that forms a body of knowledge for residential care and treatment has been recorded and is incorporated in the Project report. The gap in the knowledge of organising and planning the environment remains unfilled. The title of the Project report indicates that the members of the Project were conscious of this and they have attempted to rectify the situation by planning out the environment in many ways. There is consideration given to the ways in which group living can be used therapeutically and at the same time a concem for individualised treatment. I want to suggest that in the swing from using the overall effect of the regime to individualised treatment the report centres on individualised treatment. This is not to say that there is no concept of the overall influence of the environment but that it is not used to the best possible advantage for treatment.

Most of the work on residential care has been done by those in the psychodynamic tradition of psychological interpretation and their work naturally reflects this. Within this tradition the thinking of the Project report parallels that of “planned environmental therapy”. This therapy is the most generally acknowledged theoretical base for work done with maladjusted children in this country. Within a theoretical framework which comprises a mixture of social psychology and post-Freudian psychoanalysis, it attempts to conceptualise the practice of such pioneers as Lane, Lyward and Wills. The chief exponent is Dr. Marjorie Franklin, who describes the approach as having become a serious branch of psychotherapy some time ago. The Planned Environmental Therapy Trust was formed after some years of experiment (at Arlesford Place) and discussion to promote “the serious clinical study of the use of the environment as a means of correcting social and other related character deficiencies”.22 Environmental therapists have a concept of maladjustment which emphasises the environmental causes of the disturbance. The environment can be interpreted to include the whole life experience, but experience within the family is particularly important. The maladjustment is seen either as emotional disturbance related to the quality of love received or as the result of social factors, and so treatment in the planned therapeutic environment must give a new social life with opportunities for love to be experienced.

The aim is not to change habits of behaviour but to rebuild and strengthen the ego ... 23

As May says this is the heart of the treatment model, because treatment systems are largely concerned with the identification and treatment of pathological behaviour. Delinquent behaviour is not seen as a real problem as it is merely a presenting symptom.24 This unfortunate neglect of behaviour in the treatment goals seems to be partly related to the swing from the overall effect of the regime training type of treatment to individualised treatment. However, the concern for the individual in the treatment situation is much to be desired, and it is the individual’s need which should be used to evaluate the efficacy of treatment. Planned environmental therapy would appear to be concerned with the overall effects of the environment but the brief survey above shows that it is in fact specifically related to therapeutic treatment of emotional needs. The Project report does, as already quoted, mention the necessity of behaviour receiving attention in the treatment situation, but appears to view this as being provided for in the general therapeutic environment. The psychological orientation also focuses attention on the individual and the planned environmentalists can be seen as trying to apply general psychodynamic principles to the environment instead of merely to each child separately. In doing this they are also bringing together the strands of experience gained from the various pioneers. This is difficult to do because “such pioneers have inspired disciples rather than formulated theories”.25

Residential workers have always been well aware of the effect of the institution and its environment on the behaviour of those residing in it. What has been lacking is a scientific planning of the total environment both for therapeutic purposes and for the shaping of behaviour. Ryall summarises his research conclusions as being that delinquent behaviour is a self-reinforcing habit which is central to the self image of the delinquent, and which is buttressed by a self consistent set of attitudes (such as hostility to conventional social values and authority figures) towards the social environment. He sees the mechanism by which these attitudes are developed as central to the treatment of the delinquent and says that for the treatment programme the ideal theoretical model would be to place the delinquent in a peer group whose membership he values highly, where he can find success in areas which are esteemed by the group, and in which the commission of offences incurs active disapproval and explicit low status.26

Bridgeland notes in the conclusion of his large work surveying the history of pioneer residential work that there has been a complete neglect and resistance to attempting to use behavioural principles.27 This has resulted in a lack of development of alternative methods in this country and the only studies of the application of learning theory to residential environments are American ones.28 These studies show that carefully structured relearning experiences can be provided by using behaviour modification principles. In treating delinquency as a learned condition this approach is particularly appropriate. There are many possible applications of modification techniques not only to be “built into” the total environment, but also for treating individuals within this environment. Examples of such individual treatment include modelling appropriate behaviour and teaching social skills by imitation, reward and punishment programmes, and specialised techniques for influencing the behaviour of an individual within a group. The effect on behaviour of both the regime- and individual-centred treatment environments can be equally unfortunate. A child may receive indiscriminate punishment in the first and indiscriminate reinforcement of love and acceptance in the second. Neither of these extremes is likely to teach socially acceptable behaviour. It is these effects on behaviour which need to be realised in planning for community homes.

It is not easy to set up a planned environment which takes account of all the principles discussed in this chapter. Every aspect of residential life has to be carefully thought out and related to the treatment goals. The general working principle of the American studies referred to earlier was that the therapeutic process could be most usefully and heuristically conceptualised within a scientific framework. In the scheme described by Monkman the theory was translated into practice by reducing the different parts of the living situation into smaller and smaller entities and then setting them up in relation to each other. These entities were physical and social variables and they were arranged to be moving and changing over a period of time such that they increased the probability of specified human actions occurring. This produced a progressive movement system from admission to discharge, daily routines, and a pattern of expected social functioning with a reinforcement and punishment system. The behaviour causing the child's admission was discussed openly with him but was not a focal point in the treatment programme in the way that prosocial behaviour was. The child was taught to deal with frustration and anger as it occurred in a given situation in a way that was socially acceptable instead of acting out his pent-up feelings in any way he chose. It was more important, and rewarding to the child, that time was spent doing appropriate things than that time was spent being punished for inappropriate behaviour.

Cohen and Filipezak applied a positive reinforcement approach which did not force children to do anything. They operated a free enterprise democracy where points were earned for work achieved. These points were later converted into money and each child could buy himself the things he wanted within the school. The emphasis in this experiment was on increasing academic skills and returning to normal schools. Again the focal point was rewarding the child for appropriate behaviour. The principles of programmed environments and token economies need to be applied to the specialist community homes. The challenge is to combine a therapeutic environment which, while accepting the child no matter what he does, encourages and promotes appropriate behaviour.

The Project report discusses the need for teamwork among the staff of the community home and states that staff can be encouraged to take their full responsibility when “the leader exercises his authority from a central co-ordinating position, rather than as the head of a hierarchy”.29 In the last two chapters I have largely discussed theoretical ideals. The Project report does the same. The reality of the present situation, over which the ideal pattern for leadership is asserted, is somewhat different. Senior positions in the approved schools were almost entirely filled by teachers and there has been little change in this pattern. Teachers inevitably bring with them the heritage of the totally autocratic tradition of headmastership in our education system. It must be remembered also that historically specialist community homes are schools, and most of the present staff continue to think of them as such. This situation may potentially render the change from approved schools to specialist community homes considered in the Project report nothing more than a change of name for a good many more years. Since it is not envisaged that teachers should necessarily continue to dominate the leadership of such homes, changes are needed in the traditional roles of senior positions, e. g. the third-in-charge post should not necessarily be a teacher in charge of the education programme. The teamwork of the staff (as described in the report) will remain an ideal until the leader himself actively pursues this goal with his staff and is prepared to examine his own practice. This is the first step in removing what Carlebach calls the “Barnacle effect”.

The many changes that have been introduced within and relating to the system have rarely been accompanied by a realistic abolition of existing practices. As a result the system is, in many areas, bedeviled by traditional goals and traditional practices which are not only a handicap, but frequently inimical to the effective introduction of reform .30

The staff must also examine their own roles and be prepared to make any changes, but it is likely that only the leader can convince them of the necessity to do this by showing that he, too, is prepared to make the adjustments that are necessary. Teamwork implies agreement about both aims and methods in care and treatment. Practically this means agreeing on the arrangements for daily living, co-operating to “achieve a way of living for a group of individuals” and furthering the task of the home by maintaining the planned environment both as a team and individually. Usually the agreement, co-operation and subsequent teamwork just do not occur in an explicit and conscious way, so that the staff are in danger of being manipulated and of working against each other in a purposeless way. Because of the nature of the residential situation and the kind of children being cared for, events may occur very quickly, so that staff are unaware of what is happening. There is only one remedy to this problem and that is good and frequent communication. The Project report spells this out quite clearly:

It is important that the structure should facilitate free communication between staff, director (of the home) and management so that policy can be under continuous review.

We suggest that staff need to meet together regularly and frequently, not only for case conferences but also for informal group discussions where an open exchange of opinion is facilitated.31

If these principles are applied to the community homes by the leader then teamwork can start. Where a hierarchical structure persists, putting such principles into practice will not be easy. It demands an opening up of self and role by the leader, which is anxiety-raising, and will be costly in personal terms if it has not been done before. In saying that teamwork requires leadership it is not suggested that it is only the leader who does the work of holding the team together. Co-operation and agreement must mean precisely that among all the members of the team. However, as Balbernie points out, the leadership function is the most critical factor in the residential enterprise:

Leadership personality operates as a critical constraint on task performance. In so far as leadership fails to function efficiently all other roles will be affected.32

Balbernie points out the relationship between leadership and task, roles and structure. The vital function of leadership is to define the primary task and to communicate it to the staff. If this does not happen then all the other roles will be inefficiently performed. The roles following the task must be clearly demarcated so that everyone knows what they are doing. The pervasive influence of leadership will reflect itself in the structure of the home and, because of this, the latter may be more related to uninspired leadership than to the efficient performance of the primary task. Leadership is the driving force or lack of it in the home. Unless the leader is able to inspire the staff with an ongoing interpretation of the task of the community home then it will simply continue to exist in the inertia of its institutionalised routines regardless of whether it is meeting needs. Davies Jones refers to the necessity of continual review and assessment, and says there are two hazards facing the leader. Firstly, the likelihood of considering the role of a member of staff only on appointment “a once-and-for-all exercise”, and secondly, to examine the requirements of the children and residential unit just as rarely.33 It is necessary to view this as an ongoing continual task because of the continuous development and daily change of the community. Policies must be related to the realities of each day. The planned environment itself is in a continuous interaction with the children, the staff who operate it, the leadership and the outside world. Street, Vinter and Perrow have shown in their research how organisational goals and their underlying beliefs shape the behaviour of everybody who lives and works in the institution. They put great emphasis on the leader as being crucial in producing change. The essential task of the leader is seen as formulating goals, defining staff tasks and roles, and forming a key link between the organisation and the outside community.34

It is evident that leadership is not an easy task. Success in leading a community home will depend very much on the individual personality. Balbernie notes that only a high degree of consciousness resting on qualities of leadership and personal integrity can prevent collusion with preconceived roles projected at the leader by staff and children, and also with the current atmosphere of the institution.35 A high level of awareness of both his role and his self is required so that the leader knows of the tensions between his role and others in the home, and also what is happening in the underlying interaction processes between himself and others. Without this awareness of both formal and informal interaction and the necessary resistance to pressures in the wrong direction, a kind of collective responsibility with opportunities for collusion and shared irresponsibility can result. This effectively hides the real situation so that nobody knows what their role is, what work is actually being done or where the responsibility lies for task performance and primary task definition. The leader will also need much self-sufficiency and maturity to withstand the pressures of the home and to take decisions on his own when necessary. If he is going to delegate responsibility and work with his team then he will need to be secure enough to do this. Carlebach states that the care of children with special needs is an act of faith on top of professional skill and expertise and says that the leader must have an inner conviction that he has the capacity to accept the unacceptable, to lead the uncertain, to inspire the defeated and to encourage the hopeless.36

This does not suggest men of “pioneer quality”, but nevertheless many writers see this conviction as necessary. While the qualities of the pioneers often enabled them to do what they did, pioneer methods and experiments are not generally suitable to specialist community homes. The real pioneer period is over, but leaders are needed who have the necessary quality, enthusiasm for the community homes, and the ability to communicate it to others.

In addition to the leadership personality, the type of leadership practised will also have a direct bearing on the home. Studies of leadership show how the different types produce different regimes and responses. Autocratic leadership has already been mentioned as unsuitable for the concept of teamwork in community homes. It tends to form a military top-of-the-hierarchy form of control and direction where those being led (both staff and children) become increasingly passive and dependent on the leader.37 The Project report says that the children should participate in the decision making process. This suggests a democratic form of leadership which both fulfills the demands of teamwork with the staff and allows the children in the home to share some of the responsibility for their daily lives. The democratic leader in this sense takes a responsive and responsible role, so that there is real opportunity for everybody to feel they can participate in the running of the home. Davies Jones discusses three styles of leadership which are common and none of which in isolation produce teamwork.38 The charismatic leader does not allow himself to be tied down by routines and established procedures. He is deeply involved in all that happens and takes all the decisions that matter by himself and is unable to delegate responsibility. There is no co-operation in teamwork, and so inevitably the residential unit suffers when such people depart. The bureaucrat leads the unit as an organisation and works it according to established traditions and rules. He is tempted to categorise behaviour and to try to make it fit official pattems. The mechanical operation of procedures can be very inappropriate with disturbed children and may lead to strong reactions. Conflicts are likely to come between the bureaucrat and professional objectives if he ignores the feelings and wishes of his staff. The ritualistic leader delights in assemblies, ceremonies, particular routines and general displays of the power structure in the unit. Traditional rites are often carefully preserved and continued long after most people have forgotten their significance. Although such rites may provide a defence against anxiety for the staff at the point of contact between them and the children, they are unlikely to further therapeutic aims.

There are several implications arising from this consideration of the task of leadership in community homes. If it is the leader’s job to formulate the goals of the home, it is also his job to ensure that these goals are being achieved. He must make sure that the home is providing a service which relates directly to the needs of the children sent there. In order to do this the leader must have the final control over admissions so that only children whose needs can be met in the home are admitted. This means full consultation with the leader before admission by the assessment team. There is no value in assessment if recommendations for treatment are not, or cannot be, followed. A child inappropriately placed can easily undermine the work being done. A more realistic control by the leader of the system of admission and discharge of children is necessary. This will mean good working relationships with the local authority into whose care the child is committed. Carlebach pushes the need for sound leadership and management up the hierarchy of responsibility to include the Home Office Children's Department and the Managers under the approved school system.39 Leadership has a personal quality which is quite lost in impersonally conceived memoranda and circulars, and this is especially so in residential work because it is so personal. The managers may easily have a purely formal and nominal purpose with no leadership or co-operation with the leader of the home. The Project report makes no reference to the role of the Managers, and yet they are to continue to exist. The whole hierarchy influences the practice in the home, and so leadership is needed throughout the system.

Gill makes several references to the disparity that often exists between what the children see as the purpose of the home and what the staff see as the purpose of it.40 If the children are unaware of the purpose of the home, then the leader has failed to communicate this to the children. Effective leadership is clearly the key to care and treatment in a planned environment.

The Project report successfully embodies current residential child care philosophy which has a largely individual, psychodynamic approach to treatment. In the confusion which exists about the community homes, delinquent behaviour is mainly ignored. It is seen as symptomatic, and so care and treatment are focused on the underlying pathology. I have suggested that behaviour itself must feature more strongly in the treatment spotlight and that the principles of behaviour modification can be applied in planning the therapeutic environment. The overall purpose of the specialist community homes is seen as effecting a change in behaviour.

Good leadership is crucial to implementing the changes described in the Project report. The tradition of the approved schools is strong, and so the leader must be secure and self-sufficient to resist the pressures against change. The task of the community home must be communicated and teamwork produced. There has been too much emulating of pioneers and too little scientific application of principles. The effective leader will combine an inspiring vision of ideals with methodical application of principles.


Report – Home Office Advisory Council on Child Care, Care and treatment in a planned environment (1970).

Pioneers – Maurice Bridgeland, Pioneer Work with Maladjusted Children (1971).


1. Home Office Advisory Council on Child Care, Care and Treatment in a planned environment. London: HMSO 1970 p. iv.

2. Report p. 4.

3. Pioneers p. 370.

4. Quoted in Pioneers loc. cit.

5. H. Jones, “Organisational and group factors in approved school training”, in R. F. Sparks and R. G. Hood (eds.) The Residential Treatment of Disturbed and Delinquent Boys. Cambridge Institute of Criminology, 1968, p, 63.

6. Pioneers loc. cit.

7. R. G. Hood and R. F. Sparks (eds.) in introduction to Community Homes and the Approved School System, Cambridge Institute of Criminology, 1969. The community homes project report referred to is an earlier version of the Report.

8. Quoted by Owen Gill in Whitegate “an Approved School in Transition, Liverpool University Press, 1974, p. 10, from the Association of Heads and Matrons of Community Schools, technical sub–committee, monograph No. 10, Approved Schools into Community Schools, 1970.

9. Ibid. p. 12. Despite its publication date there is no reference to the Report, only a footnote acknowledging the earlier version.

10. Julius Carlebach, Caring for Children in Trouble. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970, p. 168.

11. James Anthony, Group therapeutic techniques for residential units, in R. J. N. Tod, Disturbed Children, Papers on Residential Work, Vol. 2. London: Longman, 1968, pp. 106-109.

12. Norman Tutt, “In need, in care, in-side” Community Schools Gazette, June 1970, Vol., 64, No. 3, p. 152.

13. Report, p. x.

14. Report, p. 1.

15. R. A. Ryall, Delinquency: the problem for treatment, p. 11. Paper delivered to the Spring Study Seminar of the Association of Directors of Social Services, 1973.

16. Pioneers, pp. 28-34.

17. Richard Balbernie, Residential Work with Children. Oxford: Pergamon, 1966, pp.68-69. Norman Tutt, loc. cit. and: A home in the street? New Society, 11 April 1974.

18. Report, p. 5.

19. Christopher Beedell, Residential Life with Children. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970, p. 17.

20. Clare Winicott, quoted in Beedell, op. cit. p. 84.

21. Report, p. 8.

22. Marjorie Franklin, quoted in Pioneers, p. 266.

23. Pioneers, p. 267.

24. David May, Delinquency control and the treatment model: some implications of recent legislation. British Journal of Criminology, xi, 4 October 1971, pp. 359-370.

25. Robert Tod, Disturbed Children, Papers on Residential Work, Vol. 2. London: Longman, 1968, p. xi.

26. R. A. Ryall, op. cit. p. 9.

27. Pioneers, p. 375.

28. For example: M. Monkman, A Milieu Therapy Programme for Behaviourally Disturbed
, 1972, c.c. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois. H. Cohen and J. Filipczak, A New Learning Environment, 1971, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

29. Report, p. 28.

30. Op. cit. p. 185.

31. Report, p. 28.

32. Op. cit. p. 17.

33. H. Davies Jones, Leadership in Residential Child Care, National Children's Homes, 1970, p. 65.

34. D. Street, R. Vinter and C. Perrow, Organisation for Treatment, New York: Free Press, 1966, p. 45.

35. Op. cit. p. 202.

36. Op. cit. p. 174.

37. Richard Balbemie, op. cit. p. 84. This is a summary of R. Lippit and R. K. White, The Social Climate of Children's Groups in Child Behaviour and Development, ed. R. G. Barker, etal. New York 1943.

38. Op. cit. pp. 42-50.

39. Op. cit. p. 120 and pp. 174-175.

40. Op. cit. pp. 18, 41,43, 128.


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This feature: Daltrey, F.B.G. (1975). Community homes – leadership, care and treatment in a planned environment. In David Evans (Ed.). The Best of the Gazette. Surrey, UK. Social Care Association. (1985). pp. 71-85.

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