Childhood First currently has five residential therapeutic services, including a newly opened community called Gables House. Together they provide specialist integrated therapeutic care, education and treatment for children and young people aged 5 to 19 who are seriously emotionally and psychologically disturbed.
All services provide therapeutically planned environments, with tailored packages of care, education and treatment based on therapeutic community principles. All are led by therapeutically trained specialist staff, and the staff groups have all completed or are completing a rigorous theoretical and experiential training in Integrated Systemic Therapy IST. All residential services benefit from weekly input from consultant psychotherapists, and the oversight of consultant psychiatrists. They may also deploy educational psychologists, and at Greenfields House and Gables House children may have individual psychotherapy in addition to the therapeutic group-work in which all our services specialise.
Great attention is paid to primary care in all Childhood First homes. Food is varied and fresh with significant attention to children’s preferences and cultural diversity; home environments are comfortable and high quality; the daily regime is predictable, nurturing and supportive of all the needs of growing children and young people. Every child and young person has a therapeutic keyworker, whose role is to ensure that the child’s needs are met, that talents, enthusiasms and preferences are recognised and developed, and that emotional and psychological issues are understood and worked through. The keyworker provides a special focus for exploring and developing the capacity for healthy emotional attachment, in all its complexities.
All young people at Thornby Hall and children at Greenfields House and Gables House attend our own therapeutic special schools. When they are ready, young people at Thornby Hall may be supported by our staff in attending a local sixth form college, as part of their transition to mainstream education. At Earthsea House there is an on-site special school provided in collaboration with the Short Stay School for Norfolk education service. At Merrywood House, young people attend Earthsea School or are supported to attend an appropriate Norfolk school.
Current residential services include: