Specialist children’s home opens in the Pontefract area

Image of four people stood in front of a mainstream children's home bannerstand.
Photo from left to right: Cheryl Whitehouse – service director at Wakefield Council, Jo Rooney – senior commissioning manager for children and young people at Wakefield District Health and Care partnership (NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board) Claire Sidebottom – interim service manager for Wakefield CAMHS, and Samantha Walshaw – operations manager and home manager for Wakefield Council.

The Croft is a therapeutic residential children’s home in the Pontefract area, which opened on 1 March, and will be jointly run by the Trust and Wakefield Council.

The two bedded specialist home will provide placements for up to 12 months for children aged between 11 and 17. The service is unique as it involves a partnership between the Trust and Wakefield Council, that will see Wakefield CAMHS, child, adolescent mental health support’s (CAMHS) enhanced outreach team, providing the clinical team that will be based at the home – something that has not been done before and sets the home apart as pioneers of this specialist intervention care home.

Cllr Margaret Isherwood, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “It aims to provide a safe, and therapeutic environment for young people in our care who have experienced trauma in their lives. Expert teams of professionals and care staff will support them and help them develop vital skills such as building relationships to help improve their overall wellbeing and support their psychological and emotional development.”

‘‘The home will offer children and young people the opportunity to be settled, after periods of disruption to their lives, as many will have experienced placement breakdowns, and frequent moving can be traumatic. The home’s clinical team have provided in-depth training to the staff team on how to support young people in crisis.’’

The opening of the new specialist home comes on the back of the recent report by Ofsted highlighting how many local authorities struggle to find sufficient homes, with Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s national director for regulation and social care, commenting: “There is a lack of suitable homes in the right places, particularly for children with the most complex needs – this needs to be addressed.”

Mark Brooks, chief executive, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘‘Our Trust has been working closely with Wakefield Council to make mental health and wellbeing services for children and young people in the district the best they can be. Our Wakefield CAMHS team will be working in the new centre to provide mental health care to support our young people to live well in their local communities. I am extremely proud of everyone involved in the development of this service, which will support our young people with their health, educational and developmental needs so that they can develop to their full potential.’’

Wakefield Council recognised the need for more placements for children with complex needs, closer to home, early on and so is already able to be better supporting its young people.

Cllr Isherwood added: “We’ve listened to the evidence and recommendations by Ofsted and our focus is on helping vulnerable children by providing the best possible support.”

Melanie Brown, director system reform and integrated care, Wakefield District Health & Care Partnership (NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board) said: “It is really exciting to see the launch of this important new service for children and young people in Wakefield District. This will strengthen the support we can provide to our young people locally and will mean that they can access this service without going outside of the area. This development is an innovative result of our commitment to improving outcomes for young people through collaborative working and pooled financial resources to make this a reality.”

Specialist children’s home opens in the Pontefract area

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