A new approach to Behaviour Management

At Hillcrest Childrens Services we are using a new approach to behaviour management with great success.
James Barlow, Regional Manager and Senior Behaviour Support Trainer explains:

“We have found a common recurring theme is of neglect, and of young people experiencing multiple placements before their arrival. Most young people will have underlying attachment difficulties or disorders, meaning they experience difficulties forming relationships. So we apply the PACE approach (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and empathy) from Dan Hughes and supported with the work from Kim Golding (2012).

We try to understand what has happened to them, and what trauma they have experienced in their lives, rather than focussing on their behaviours. We want to work out how we can change to meet the child’s needs, rather than expecting the child to make all the changes.

In addition, we believe that every child should have someone in their lives who is ‘crazy’ about them, and we see that as the role of the keyworker. So it is up to the keyworker to get to know the child, and find out what they like doing, and what they are good at, and see beyond their behaviour.

When incidents occur, we try to address the underlying feelings rather than react to the behaviour. As a result, we can see a slight increase in incidents as the young people learn how to express themselves and as they begin to trust in us and then the incidents decrease.

This then leads to the young people staying longer in our homes. We think it would be better if they came to our homes earlier on, before they have experienced multiple placement breakdowns and broken relationships

With incidents there can be the need for restraint. Our training is currently going through the BILD Accreditation Process and has had to be independently risk assessed. This ensures that it complies with the Childrens Home Regulations and Quality Standards 2015 as well as subscribing to the BILD Code of Practice 2014.

After an incident, we discuss what happened with the young person, and we ask young people to be involved in recording it afterwards. They are given the opportunity to speak to someone and make a complaint if they want to. We try to prepare staff for incidents, so that they respond to the underlying feelings, rather than solely responding to the behaviour.

Our approach is agreed throughout the organisation, with registered managers, regional managers and board members.”