Increasing hope for young people in secure care

Our Research Associate Kristina Moodie was inspired by the From Research into Practice symposium, held at the Good Shepherd Centre in Renfrewshire. 

I recently attended a very positive, one might even say hopeful,  symposium at the Good Shepherd Centre.

In an ideal world obviously no young person would be placed in secure care, but at a time of real trauma and disruption for the young person and their families or caregivers, the Good Shepherd have been working hard to improve the life chances of those young people who find themselves there.

The staff at the Centre have been designing an outcome framework that they felt needed to be relatively simple to complete but that also provides a depth of data and measurable change, so issues or problems could be quickly identified for the young people and staff. They were also keen that measurable changes across many variables, either positive or negative, should be visually informative.

Keynote speaker Dr David Burton from Smith College, Massachusetts, made use of this data, and took us through the measurable outcome changes in the young people from when they arrived.  He also looked at the similarities and differences of the young people in the Good Shepherd to comparable young people in the US and much to the surprise of many in the audience, it seems that those young people at the Good Shepherd are in much greater need with higher delinquency, depression and impulsivity.

The Good Shepherd uses the eight SHANARRI well-being domains but has added the additional domain of HOPE.  This will be measured alongside other outcomes and a programme of intervention is being written that will aim to increase HOPE for young people.

Tom Laurie, Education Manager and Louise Morrison, Head of Care walked us through the ‘Outcomes Framework’ and introduced us to one of the young people who had been in the Good Shepherd for nearly a year. In addition to speaking with great honesty and clarity about his situation and where he came from he gave us a first-hand account of how the self-assessment aspect of the Framework worked for him.

Attendees had to work for their delicious lunch, however, and a large hallway was turned into a poster session with SHANARRI outcome measures and possible next steps to improve how the Centre works towards those over the next year, two years and three years.   Fortified by lunch and with the addition of post-it notes, coloured dots and some very lively discussion, we made our way into the afternoon session, which detailed some of the interventions and techniques used to treat issues such as PTSD, aggression and traumatic pasts many of the young people present with.

Stuart Mulholland, Director of Welltree Ltd, closed the day and summed up all we had learned. With that, we all went back to our various agencies and responsibilities and in my case, thinking about what hope means for all of us.

About our blogger

Kristina has extensive freelance experience of working in mental health and criminal justice research. Read more.