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However, practice in the field of young people with sexualised histories was in a very different place fifteen years ago than where it is now. The approach was USA led, a confrontational approach, shaming the young people into working on their behaviours. The two practitioners went along with such practice in the early days until they attended a conference and were inspired by a speaker, Alan Jenkins of New South Wales, Australia.
He asked how could we expect the young people to divulge sensitive personal information when we were continually making them feel terrible about themselves?
Relieved that such an approach was gaining ground, they applied these values and previous experiences gleaned from their careers and developed an approach coined by a member of staff as “The Woodlands Way”. Not exactly rocket science, the approach was built on seeing the young person as a child in their own right – treating them with dignity and working on improving their self esteem. Consequently on feeling better about themselves they will be less likely to undertake their learned sexualised response to negativity and poor parenting.
At approximately the same time practice nationally, in this field of work, continued to move away from the Risk based confrontational model inherited from the USA to a more positive strength based model. Two respected academics in this field of work Ward and Stewart developed this strength based approach into a model termed “The Good Lives Model” (G.L.M.). When they published their work circa 2003 we at Woodlands realised that we had been adopting such a model without formally recognising it. Consequently, Woodlands was, and continues to be, at the forefront of World practice….!
So what does Woodlands do well?
Woodlands provides outstanding qualitative standards of care. With one-to-one staffing and the link worker system ensuring a nurturing culture, attention to detail and positive role modelling.
Our team of in-house salaried therapists are very much part of the organisation’s fabric. Therapy is integral to the young people’s programmes at Woodlands. Care staff are also involved in the long term therapeutic programmes. This gives a real sense of purpose to their role and makes therapy real and credible for the young people.
We have a brand new educational facility which will allow us much more scope to offer superb educational experiences for our young people. They are taught one-to-one or in small groups to enhance educational stimulation. Our Head Teacher has vision and the determination to make our school outstanding.
Woodlands continues to develop and shape practice, internally and internationally through research and training events. We proudly remain Child Centred and have a simple hierarchical structure. The ethos is “can do” and “how do we look to improve the young persons’ lives everyday?”
Welcome to Woodlands ……………
A safe and caring environment
An established organisation based in and around the North Wales town of Wrexham. Woodlands offers a highly specialised therapeutic environment for the care, supervision, education and treatment of young people who have experienced sexualised histories, trauma and victimisation.
Woodlands came into being in May 1999. Woodlands is the product of the vision and determination of two former local authority Team Managers who still run the organisation today.
The shaping of Woodlands is in part based on the backgrounds and work experiences of these two managers who left their Child Care Management roles with the local authority to set up Woodlands in the Spring of 1999.
Both individuals’ working practice was influenced by their beliefs and their values were reinforced by the inception of the Children Act 1989, a piece of legislation very much relevant today.