Early intervention for ‘at risk’ children and their families

A feature sponsored by the Mulberry Bush Organisation

The Mulberry Bush School is a highly competitive early intervention for ‘at risk’ children and their families aged 5-13 who display severe social and emotional difficulties. The aim of our work, evidenced by excellent outcomes, is to break the cycle of disadvantage they have suffered due to early year’s trauma. Such an early intervention provides the children with a safe and nurturing environment in which they can build a positive future. Without such an intervention this problematic behaviour makes it very difficult for the child to live within family, mainstream school and community settings.

As a national provider of specialist therapeutic residential care we work with children from all over the UK. Currently our core work is in meeting the needs of the growing numbers of children referred due to foster and adoptive breakdown. Our highly evolved model of therapeutic group living, on-site national curriculum education, and ‘therapies and networks team’ which offers family support, provide ‘added value’ to enable each child to be successfully re-integrated:

• 93% of children placed are successfully re-integrated into a suitable family.
• 100% are able to be placed in an appropriate school on departure.

The School was founded in 1948 by pioneering child psychotherapist Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, who looked after children evacuated from the London ‘blitz’ during World War Two. Working with Dr Donald Winnicott she identified that many of these children had missed out on healthy early attachments. She developed a model of residential care and treatment which she called ‘the provision of primary experience’. This still underpins our work today.

In 2006 we established The Mulberry Bush Training which delivers our Foundation Degree in ‘therapeutic work with children and young people’ and our MBOX service, which provides outreach support to schools helping them  work with the impact of trauma, attachment disorders, and behavioural difficulties, and understanding these as forms of communication. We specialise in creating models of sustainable reflective practice to improve the teamwork for those working with troubled children and their families.

As well as providing services, as part of our charitable campaigning and lobbying role in support of residential care we have established ‘The National Centre for Residential Therapeutic Child Care, Social Pedagogy and Trauma Informed Practice’. This is an influential alliance of universities and child-centred organisations.

Our charitable objective is to take our services to more children and families, and to extend the ‘insight and influence’ of our expertise and core values.

John Diamond, CEO

“OUTSTANDING” OFSTED 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

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