Strengthening relationships and connections
Strengthening relationships and connections for young people in therapeutic residential care
Young people in residential care face major challenges that can prevent them from forming healthy relationships and a strong personal identity, which are critical building blocks for their wellbeing and safety. For the first time in a large-scale mixed-methods study, we are listening to young people living in therapeutic residential care, staff and managers across NSW about current practice and how it can be improved.
This project aims to understand the practices that help young people living in therapeutic residential care to form strong, healthy relationships and have a positive self-identity.
The study is being undertaken by an expert team led by Associate Professor Lynne McPherson working with Professor Anne Graham, A/Prof Kathomi Gatwiri, Dr Antonia Canosa and Dr Kylie Day at the Centre for Children and Young People (SCU). They are joined by leading international researchers Associate Professor Tim Moore (ACU), Dr Donnah Anderson (Charles Sturt University), Professor Robbie Gilligan (Trinity College, IRL), Dr Joe Tucci & Adjunct Associate Professor Janise Mitchell (Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care) and Professor Stuart Barlo (Gnibi College, SCU).
Our project was co-designed with a group of young people with lived experience of life in the residential care system and guided by an adult advisory group comprised of international academics, policy actors, providers of intensive therapeutic care in NSW and cultural advisors.
The project is funded by the Australian Research Council (LP210100177) and the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care (CETC), a division of the Australian Childhood Foundation. Our collaborating partners include the Australian Catholic University, Charles Sturt University and Trinity College in Dublin.
PhD candidate Kelly Hand has been selected to receive the project’s embedded research scholarship, and is supervised by Associate Professors Lynne McPherson and Kathomi Gatwiri. Her thesis is titled: ‘How young people living in therapeutic residential care participate in decision-making about engagement with their family’.