By John Diamond, CEO, www.mulberrybush.org.uk
As a national provider of specialist residential care, the Mulberry Bush School works with children aged five to 13 from all over the UK. Our core work meets the needs of the growing number of children referred due to foster and adoptive breakdown.
Our highly evolved model of therapeutic group living, our on-site education following the national curriculum and our therapies and networks team offering support to the children’s families all provide the added value that enables each child to be integrated back into his or her family.
The Mulberry Bush School was founded in 1948 by the pioneering child psychotherapist, Barbara Dockar-Drysdale who developed a model of residential care and treatment which she called “the provision of primary experience”. This still underpins our work.
The school still provides early intervention for children at risk and their families with severe social and emotional difficulties. Our aim is to break the cycle of disadvantage they have suffered due to trauma in their early years. The evidence is clear that the early intervention provided by the school produces excellent outcomes by giving the children a safe and nurturing environment in which to build a better future. Without that intervention, it becomes very difficult for a child to live in a mainstream family, school or community.
The Mulberry Bush Training delivers a foundation degree in therapeutic work with children and young people. And our MBOX National Teaching School service provides outreach support to schools in Oxfordshire and neighbouring areas, helping them to address the problems of children with trauma, attachment disorders and behavioural difficulties. We specialise in creating models of sustainable reflective practice to improve the teamwork for those who work with troubled children and their families.
As part of our charitable campaigning and lobbying, we have established the National Centre for Therapeutic Residential and Foster Care. This is an influential alliance of universities and child-centred organisations that promote high-quality practice and research. Our charitable aim is to bring our services to more children and families, and to extend the insight and influence of our expertise and values.