Referrals of children
Here at the Amicus therapeutic community, all admissions are planned. To give our best service, we want to prepare the child for admission, and prepare the current child group in our community for the arrival of a new placement. Planned admissions also allow our staff to prepare thoroughly and give the best experience to the new child in a carefully thought about a transition plan. The Amicus Community’s therapeutic model emphasises the importance of well-managed beginnings and endings. So often the children will have experienced traumatic beginnings and endings in their lives, and we believe that getting this right in a carefully planned and thought about way is an important part of the therapeutic work and recovery of the child and the secure attachments we want them to develop.
Starting ages and average length of stay
Our therapeutic community approach aligns with early intervention for children and believes when referrals occur at a younger age there is more opportunity and hope for a successful placement and relationships in the future. Therefore, the children attending The Amicus Community can start with us at age five and can be no older than eleven on admission and are of either sex. Children on average stay with us for around 3 – 5 years and can remain with us up to the age of 16 years old if need be, although we try and work to a planned journey of the children’s placement to move them on when they are ready to do so to have more chance of integration at a younger age into future care and educational placements. In 2021 – 2022, we are expanding to add a further therapeutic residential home to our community, creating a new nurturing environment, focusing on early intervention.
The children we work with
Amicus is equipped to accept and work with referrals for children with moderate physical difficulties and other special needs, such as mild learning disabilities, although our primary cohort is vulnerable and traumatised children who are often defined as having Social, Emotional, and Mental Health needs.
Thoughtful and planned assessment and transitions
Being part of our therapeutic community means we have built a family type, small group living culture, which is also based on psychoanalytical group relations work, hence the importance of our new placements needing to be carefully considered. Therefore, when a new child is referred to Amicus, if we feel we can offer a placement, we then carry out an Assessment Visit. This means we can meet and observe the child in their environment (whether this is home or educational) and see whether they would be receptive to our therapeutic model and input and it gives us the opportunity also to hear the experiences, feelings, and wishes of the child and also the parents, carers and those working with them. This helps us to inform our decision-making and how we would work with them and whether they would be a good fit for the community and the child group already in place and the potential effects on the child group.
Referrals and Planned Admissions
Here at The Amicus Community, the children’s beginnings and endings are carefully thought about and planned. We are unable to take emergency referrals, as stated in our Admissions Policy. This decision has been taken because the admission of emergency referrals would be too unsettling for the children living in our community and we believe from experience that transition periods around beginnings and endings are so important for a child’s placement to be successful. We are however able to work to short transition periods and this will be tailored to the individual needs of the child and will consider the wider child group too.
How to refer…
How we deal with referrals and admissions
The Amicus Community aim for successful admissions and placements by following rigorous and reflective procedures to benefit both the child, parents/carers and the children in placement in our community. The time span of any possible admission will vary according to the circumstances and urgency of the child’s situation.
For full details of the Admissions Procedures please follow this link...
The referring agency will identify a child who may be appropriate for, and benefit from, Amicus. This may start off as an enquiry from a parent / carer or the local authority.
Initial contact will be made through Rebecca Newton – Strategic and Clinical Director who will respond initially to say whether we would consider potentially offering a placement based on the information received and the next steps of the process explained.
Social Worker and/ or parents carers may visit Amicus and view the home and school.
If the local authority may wish to go ahead with the potential offer of a placement. Amicus will then carry out an Assessment Visit. This is carried out in either the child's home or school environment.
A report from the Assessment Visit is written. The possible referral is then discussed by the Directors and Amicus Care, Eduation and Treatment Team. An impact risk assessment will be undertaken and a decision made on whether to offer a placement.
If the placement is considered suitable for the child, a meeting will be arranged between the Directors and those responsible for the referral. Other interested parties, including the child or parents/carers, will be invited where appropriate to discuss a suitable Transition Plan and this agreed and implemented (normally around one to two weeks). If it is felt that a child is not suitable for a placement, clear reasoning and feedback is given.
Amicus put together in consultation with the local authority and with parents / carers (where relevant and appropriate) a Therapeutic Placement Plan for the child which details the plans for the child's journey at Amicus and outcomes we would be looking to work towards. Other relevant paper work is put in place and and consent forms signed by the relevant parties and key policies and procedures given to be read and signed.
If a child is coming from out of county, the host local authority; West Sussex, will be informed of new residential placements. The written notification will include whether the child is placed under section 20 or 21 or subject to a care or supervision order under section 31, contact details for the team manager of the placing authority and the child’s IRO, whether the child has a statement of special educational needs, and if so, details of the local authority that maintains the statement.
As part of the transition plan, The assigned Link-Worker of the child may visit the child again in their current placement and arrangements will be made for the child to come and visit the home and/ or school and stay for lunch or dinner or even an overnight stay. This could occur many times over the planned transition process.
The children then successfully moves into their placement at Amicus whether this is residentially or as a day student. The current child group are prepared for the new child arriving and are part of welcoming them into the community.
The needs of the broader family (which this includes birth, adoptive or foster) will be identified and work carried out with them and support given. (when possible or appropriate).