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Sharing learning across the continent

Visitors from social care services in Ukraine and the charity Lumos​​ have visited St Christopher’s children’s homes and supported accommodation to learn how they can make changes to their own practice.

Lumos, a charity established​ by J.K. Rowling, supports ​countries to develop their social care practice​ by learning from how things work in existing systems abroad. They wanted to show guests from Ukraine some alternatives to large institutional care, so they arranged to visit a St Christopher’s children’s home and our Department for Education funded Staying Close project.​

The visitors were not familiar with the English care system and were keen to learn about funding, staffing (rota system, key work system), strategies to manage challenging behaviours and running away, how children participate in decisions about the home and their lives, how children can make rooms their own and find time for privacy, preparing young people for leaving care (including when to start this work), attachment tools and contact with families.​

Our children’s home manager said: “The visit went really well and the visitors were made to feel welcome by both young people and staff, and it was interesting to hear about how the differences between the two countries and how they look after their young people in care. I went home that night feeling quite humble and grateful.”

Another staff member said: “I found it very interesting to get a sense of how systems and cultures differ in countries not too far from ours. Many of the answers to the questions were ‘what would a good parent do’, which I found enlightening because I did not realise until I was explaining the basic principles behind our work how much that principle applies to most aspects of St Christopher’s values and practice.”

St Christopher’s approach