approach implemented in all our services”
What we do
We work very closely with all the professionals involved in working with the young person’s family and we tailor our support to be appropriate in each individual case.
Our service values promote a positive and rewarding approach to each child’s development. We provide routines and structure where young people need them and a nurturing and encouraging programme of care.
Children can respond well to incentive and reward systems rather than taking a punitive approach, we prefer a restorative process of learning. This provides the child with an opportunity to address unhelpful behaviours in a safe environment and reinforces positive thinking. One young person said: ‘Staff have helped me with my behaviours since moving here. I no longer get into trouble.’
A key aspect of our work is the “hand in hand” approach taken by our integrated model, this allows a seamless and holistic support package for all young people at Connecting Hands, and these relationships are at the very heart of what we do.
Where there are plans to work towards a reintegration to family life, we will support the young person, professionals and the family in the transition, to ensure the plans are inclusive and progressing at a pace everyone can manage.
Residential Care, and accommodation
Our homes are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the number of staff appropriate to the needs of the children and/or individual contracts with placing authorities. This is calculated following an assessment of each young person their risks and an in-depth consideration of on hand information, as well as any requirements outlined, in an EHCP for example. We will always consult with our partner agencies in regard to staff levels.
The team at Connecting Hands think very carefully about each young person and their individual needs. We carefully match young people whilst considering their wishes, behaviours and risks alongside what the home can offer. When referrals are received the team take time to consider the needs of the child, their goals and ambitions for the future. Every care is taken to ensure the right placement is offered and the home is supported to ensure a smooth transition.
All bedrooms are individual and can be personalised once a young person has settled in, some of our homes have en-suite bathrooms for privacy and to support skill building.
Our staff teams support young people to take personal responsibility for their behaviours as much as possible but also give them the opportunity to make mistakes without losing everything they were working towards. Having honest but sensitive feedback is part of the daily routine for all young people at Connecting Hands and is used as a way to problem-solve, listen and ensure that care plans remain relevant and realistic.
Religion and culture:
Connecting hands enables young people to attend religious services, or receive religious instruction on or off the premises, in response to their needs and wishes, given their age and understanding. Information on the religious and cultural needs of each young person is gathered as part of the pre-admission planning and is incorporated into their Care Plan and Child’s Placement Plan.
Consideration of religious and cultural issues extend to any specific dietary, toiletry or dress requirements. Staff are encouraged to show creativity in widening young people’s awareness to differing religious and cultural beliefs. For example, staff hold themed events, cook special meals, or have visitors come to the service to educate and widen the young people’s outlook and attitudes, promote tolerance and respect for difference and diversity.
Learning and communicating:
Here at Connecting Hands we appreciate all children, young people and staff communicate and learn in different ways. We use a variety of methods and this includes specialist styles of communication. We may use tools such as social stories, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), symbols and visual timetables to help young people communicate and to ease disruption around transitions.
Relationships and contact:
Risk assessments and individual safeguarding are key elements of our service planning. We take into account individual circumstances and risks and ensure that we work with the young person to help keep them safe, working with appropriate external professionals and family members where needed.
We recognise that family relationships can often become distorted, damaged or have broken down when the young person comes to stay with us. This can happen for a whole variety of reasons and we are not here to judge or express a view.
We provide sensitive and caring support, and counselling where needed to help the young person to put these issues into context and to develop a healthy identity and personal future life-plan to work towards. Each young person has a key-worker who strives to develop a positive and transparent relationship with the young person and their family (wherever this is possible and appropriate).
Family members are often very involved in the care and support of their young relative during their stay with us and we encourage this involvement to grow and develop whenever it is appropriate. Contact with parents and siblings as well as other valued family members can be very important to the young person (even if they might find it difficult at times). Young people are free to phone home and engage in other types of contact. Communication by e-mail and Skype can be supported by staff.
Connecting Hands staff aim to support the provision of an inclusive 24 hour curriculum. Each child has an individual learning plan designed around their strengths, needs and aspirations.
In line with our core values, we have developed an integrated model to support children and young-people with their personal development. All children can access therapeutic support as is assessed as necessary to meet their needs and Connecting Hands will work with a Local Authority to ensure that this is part of the package provided.
Safeguarding young people is integral to our work:
It can be difficult for young people to tell us when things feel wrong and worry them, we will ensure that young people have opportunities to talk to different people about how they feel whatever their communication requirements.
Key workers regularly check in with the young people and give them an opportunity to talk. Symbols for hurt, worry, body parts etc. are readily available in a variety of formats so that the children and young people can communicate if anything upsetting is happening to them.
It is important that the staff are aware and understanding of each individual child’s needs in terms of understanding and being able to communicate when they are worried. Staff are trained to observe body-language and changes in behaviour and to understand the individual communication planes for each child/young person. Such incidents will always reported to social care services and other external agencies when appropriate.
“All young people spoken with indicated that they feel safe and that staff make every effort to keep them safe” [Recent Regulation 44 report]
How Well We Do It
In line with current regulation, our residential service has monthly Regulation 44 reports compiled by an external assessor who visits the service without notice. These reports are available on request.
100% of our young people are engaged in school either on or off-site. Sometimes this takes a while to achieve where there is a significant history of non-attendance. We work very carefully and at the young-person’s own pace to reintegrate them with education provision.
If we are made aware of areas where we can improve, the team puts together an action plan and makes sure everyone is involved in driving the improvements as we continuously strive for the very best quality of services and outcomes for the young people we work with.