Session 9/13Page 3/5: Topic A: Promoting stable and long-term contact between staff and children
Topic A: Promoting stable and long-term contact between staff and children/youth
GROUP DISCUSSION – A SHARED OVERVIEW
The discussion you are about to have is not about finding solutions to your problems. It is about creating a clear picture of how the current way of planning and arranging your work affects the children’s possibilities of creating social relations.
Start by choosing who will take notes and write a summary of the discussion.
- With our current work schedule: to what degree is it possible to offer the children and teenagers the same caregiver (contact person) and hereby give them the opportunity to attach in a long-term relation?
- The children in our care: to what degree do we offer them a peer group to which they can long-term relation and sense of belonging to?
- Which activities/values/social responsibilities are we using to promote the development of long-term relations between our children? Do the older children have responsibilities of the younger members of the group or of practical activities or other activities, which can develop the feeling of being a valued member of a group?
- To what degree do we experience replacements in the staff group? How do we think this affects the children?
- What do we do to give the children clear information about who they can expect to be their caregiver at certain times? (Who wakes them in the morning? Who will be there when they come home from school? Who will be there to celebrate their birthday?)
- What do we do to give the children the experience that their closest caregivers are informed of the children’s every day lives, so that they don’t have to retell everything?
REVISION OF WORK SCHEDULES/WORK PLANNING
Changes in work schedules can be a difficult process because it affects the culture of the institution as well as the private life of the employees. The area is also governed by settlements.
Therefore, changes in work hours may take a long time to negotiate. It is important that everybody participates and tries to reach a better understanding and agreement. It may take more than one session to find the best compromise. If this is the case with you, you can repeat session 9 as often as needed.
It is relevant to discuss how the children in your institution can experience the most coherence and continuity in their social relations, even though it seems unrealistic to make any changes in the work schedules or the work plans already are based on the principle of continuity. As mentioned in the introduction, more factors are relevant when working with children’s experiences of having secure relations with specific caregivers and peers. The following factors may be discussion, if changes in work schedules do not seem appropriate or suitable:
- Shifts in caregivers/replacements in the staff group
- Day-to-day delivery of information about the individual child
- Informing the children about the presence of specific caregivers in their everyday lives
- The daily organisation of work plans
The leader is now interviewed by an employee (or the instructor) in order to create an overview of the challenges with continuity from a management level and to provide a realistic view on the opportunities for change.
INTERVIEW: AN EMPLOYEE INTERVIEWS THE LEADER (20 MINUTES)
- What do you think about continuity in care and relations between the children in your institution?
- If the children should have as few regular caregivers as possible all day, all week and all year round, what practical changes in work schedules would it require? (Tell what you think would be ideal, not what is actually possible)
- How could you work towards this ideal of continuity?
- What practical challenges are connected with implementing changes in work schedules?
- What actual possibilities do we have to change work schedules?
5 minutes: Interviewer and leader listen while the other participants reflect upon the interview in plenum.
10 minutes: Discuss and make a conclusion. What are the three most important arguments and the three biggest practical challenges I regards to making the ideal changes? The “secretary” writes these down. They should be used in the work plan.