Ferndearle Child Care Services is a Therapeutic Community in Folkestone, Kent which provides an integrated service combining therapeutic care and education with therapy. There is also a therapeutic after care service. The therapy and therapeutic work at Ferndearle is based on evidenced based clinical practice. The overall therapeutic model is the ‘Secure Base Model’ (which is based in attachment theory) with a combination of frameworks from which we work including: psychodynamic and systemic theory and practice. Therapeutic Care Plans are informed by HOLISTIC clinical assessments which are systemic in their application. We also use Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) which is a systemic model used to change specific patterns of behaviour. Our therapeutic practice and milieu is underpinned by the Therapeutic Standards developed by The Royal College of Psychiatrists Quality Improvement Initiative ‘Community of Communities’ (CofC) which works in partnership with The Consortium for Therapeutic Communities (TCTC). This means that our homes are internally monitored against these Standards and one of our homes is externally reviewed and audited by CofC against the Therapeutic Standards on an annual basis. The Standards are in their 9th edition and serve as a quality improvement and accreditation programme. Ferndearle is in its 11th cycle of membership and annual review by CofC and has been a member of TCTC since its inception.
What do we mean by Therapeutic Community at Ferndearle
Therapeutic community is not synonymous with therapy, as the latter (whilst an integral part of the treatment programme) is only a part of it. Operating as a therapeutic community means that we have a practice that manipulates the environment and which uses therapeutic relationships/interactions (informed by evidence based theory) in all aspects of the day to day routines to:
create a healing maturation process through insightful consistent re-parenting/nurturing experiences that treats the trauma and developmental damage that are derivative of inadequate and abusive early years experiences;
deliberately encourage its members to engage in targeting developmental objectives.
Manipulating the environment may include, amongst many others, environmental presentation; how we carry out a specific routine; how we communicate something; how we use reflective practice; the use of consistent staff group therapeutic communication scripts; the existence of consistent community structures of systemic group work and of theoretically informed routines & boundaries; the existence of group expectations of participation and engagement of all group members, etc.
Whatever the structured environmental feature, this means that the whole group living experience in all of its many deliberately designed functional aspects that are underpinned by evidenced based theory, is utilised to bring about change, and represents in its entirety the actual therapeutic programme. The developmental changes that have been facilitated in the therapeutic community can then be transferred to mainstream living.
Age range and category of needs
We cater for individuals and siblings of both sexes aged between 4 and 18. Our specialism is trauma stemming from early years neglect and abuse. We can cater for young people who have additional needs such as Autism or learning difficulties but we do not admit young people into our residential settings unless they have difficulties related to trauma. Our young people tend to be very complex and have deep rooted emotional, behavioural and social problems.