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Implementing restorative justice in children's residential care

Implementing restorative justice in children's residential care

Carol Hayden
Dennis Gough
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  • Book Info
    Implementing restorative justice in children's residential care
    Book Description:

    Restorative justice (RJ) and restorative approaches (RAs) are becoming increasingly valued as a way of responding to a wide range of conflicts, including problem and offending behaviours. The growth in the use of RJ and RAs has been described as a 'global social movement' that sets out to repair harm, reduce conflict and harmonise civil society. This report takes a close look at the implementation of an RJ approach in the challenging environment of children's residential care homes. It will appeal to people who are interested in the use of RJ, particularly its use with children and young people, as well as those interested in problem and offending behaviours in relation to children in care.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-649-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. List of figures and tables
    (pp. v-vi)
  2. 1 Restorative justice: promises and pathways
    (pp. 1-16)

    This chapter reviews some of the main themes within the vast literature on restorative justice (RJ). It charts the rise of the concept and the main areas where RJ is seen as a more satisfactory way to respond to harmful and criminal behaviour than the conventional criminal justice system. The chapter notes the various guises that the paradigm has taken to date. It focuses on key values, processes and outcomes required for a thorough understanding of how to conceptualise RJ. It highlights some of the key evidence about impact and outcomes, noting an increased emphasis on reducing recidivism in policy...

  3. 2 Children in care: the policy context
    (pp. 17-30)

    Having reviewed in Chapter One debates and evidence about restorative justice (RJ) as a response to conflict and offending behaviour, this chapter sets out to consider the particular setting in which this approach was applied in the current research. What is specific to this setting is the focus on children and young people in residential care. This chapter sets out to present the evolving policy context for children in care more broadly (as children move between different forms of care), connecting the circumstances of coming into care, or being in care, with the behaviours that might be addressed by using...

  4. 3 Background to the research
    (pp. 31-48)

    This chapter describes the situation in residential care in the case study local authority at the time of the field research, reflecting on the changes observed since research was undertaken in the same local authority in the mid-1990s. Comments made by care staff during the course of the current field research are included in this account, as is documentary evidence and observation. Other research has tracked the changes in the residential care environment by revisiting children’s care homes (see Berridge and Brodie, 1998). This can be a useful way of identifying how policy and practice influences the everyday living environment...

  5. 4 Problem and offending behaviours in residential care
    (pp. 49-68)

    This chapter focuses on the various forms of evidence about the nature, prevalence and trends in problem and offending behaviours in the 10 children’s homes in the study. The sources of data in this chapter are based on four sets of organisational records: incident records from care staff (2001-07); police call-outs to homes (2001-07); number and proportion of children looked after for more than a year with a record of offending (2001-07); and use of the out-of-hours service in two comparable periods during the field research (2006 and 2007). When interpreting this trend data, the reader is reminded that all...

  6. 5 Using restorative justice: manager and care staff views
    (pp. 69-86)

    This chapter is based on the experiences, views and perceptions of managers and care staff. It focuses mainly on staff and managers’ use of restorative justice (RJ) in managing the kinds of behaviours outlined in the previous chapter and their assessment of the effectiveness of this approach. Their views were collated in four main ways: by questionnaires administered in autumn 2006 and again in autumn 2007; by structured group discussions with care staff within the same two time periods; by individual interviews with unit managers, again in the same two periods; and, throughout the research by participation in staff meetings...

  7. 6 Children and young people’s views
    (pp. 87-98)

    This chapter focuses on 43 interviews with children and young people and the analysis of 38 short questionnaires completed during these interviews. These data were collected during the same two periods of fieldwork as the staff interviews: autumn 2006 and 2007. Short questionnaires (two sides of A4 paper) were completed either by the young people or researchers during faceto-face interviews. This approach had the advantage of enabling the researchers to explain the questions and giving young people the opportunity to expand on their answers. The questionnaires focused first on young people’s perceptions of staff management of behaviour within the homes...

  8. 7 What happens during a period of residential care?
    (pp. 99-116)

    This chapter takes a closer look at individual children and what happens to them during a period of residential care, specifically in relation to problematic or offending behaviour. The evidence draws on two sources: a one-year cohort study starting with all children resident or admitted to children’s residential care in a one-month period in 2006 (46 children in all) and case studies of 16 children through an analysis of case file data (and follow-up on information gaps with care staff where necessary) during the summer of 2007. Both these sources of data relied heavily on the support of local authority...

  9. 8 From Wagga Wagga to the children’s home
    (pp. 117-130)

    Restorative justice (RJ) has some passionate advocates and, as we noted in Chapter One, its time has come in the wider policy context in Britain. Neither of the authors of this volume could be described as ‘evangelical’ or naive (Dignan, 2003, p 135) about the likely transformative impact of RJ in a context such as children’s residential care (see also Daly, 2002); rather, we set out to take a careful and evidenced look at how it was implemented across 10 very different children’s residential homes. Overall, the findings from our empirical research reinforce Daly’s advice that we should expect modest...