Case Studies – Residential

Our residential childcare teams are like one big family, and they have supported many amazing outcomes for the young people in our care.

Here are just a few…


Gemma came to Acorns aged 14. Her family history included neglect, physical and psychological abuse, with a suspicion of sexual abuse unconfirmed.

Gemma first came into care when she was 9 years old, accessing both foster care and a children’s home provision.  Following a safeguarding issue within her placement, Gemma moved to Acorns with a view to accessing our therapeutic support.

Gemma had ADHD and regularly demonstrated risk-taking behaviours.  She came to Acorns with criminal convictions for shop lifting, destruction of property, and drug and alcohol misuse in the community.  Gemma had not been in full time education for some time and was known to abscond from both previous homes and schools.

Acorns focused on providing support with her engagement in education, and regular therapeutic support to reduce risk-taking behaviour, drug and alcohol issues, and missing from care incidents.

As with many young people in care, Gemma had attachment problems due to her early life experiences.  She presented with an anxious/avoidant attachment style.

Initially Gemma had some contact with her family members, but due to the complex nature of these relationships it was often sporadic.

Gemma took time to settle at Acorns and was very mistrusting of all adults to begin with.  She had low self-esteem and often exhibited poor impulse control due to her ADHD.

Both verbal and physical aggression was common from Gemma.  She initially struggled with attending school and would be disruptive whilst there to avoid the learning process.

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Lyth Hill

Emma arrived at Lyth Hill when she was 10 years old and had experienced significant trauma and a family breakdown.

Emma had insecure attachments with the adults in her life.  She had a diagnosis of Autism (ASD) and had withdrawn from any form of education over a prolonged period.

The care team at Lyth Hill focused on developing Emma’s identity as a starting point for them to begin the foundations of forming positive relationships.  Over the first twelve months, small goals were set and then achieved, with the sole purpose of enhancing Emma’s self-esteem and outlook on the world.

Home tutoring was put in place, and through the resilience of the team and the in-house teacher, Emma began accepting and enjoying the process of learning again.

Six months later Emma was on roll at a local mainstream secondary school and surprised everybody by requesting a full timetable instead of the transition plan proposed.  By remaining available and consistent during these significant hurdles, the team saw Emma flourish and gain in confidence month by month.

Examples of these milestones included attending a salon with a carer to have her hair styled, performing in a school pantomime in front a large audience, and going abroad on a school trip without carers accompanying her.

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Stamford House

Taylor came from a background of neglect and exposure to drug abuse. 

Whilst living in foster care, Taylor wasn’t attending school and would regularly go missing, often attempting to climb out of windows late at night to get out.

After living in several foster homes it was decided that she should move to residential care.  At this point Taylor’s behaviours were becoming very risky and some professionals felt a period in a secure unit would have been a better option.

At 10 years old, Taylor arrived at Stamford House and immediately began to thrive. 

She wasn’t going missing, wasn’t taking drugs, and wasn’t climbing out of windows!  Taylor lived at Stamford House until she was 17, when she was supported to move into her own flat.  She has since had her first baby and is just about to start driving lessons.  Click the link below to read a letter Taylor wrote to the Stamford House team in August 2019.

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Links House

Andrew was described as having Autism and severe learning difficulties when he came to live at Links in 2012.

Initially Andrew was unable to communicate effectively.  However, through support and guidance from the Links care team, the Speech Therapy team, the Educational team at his school and from his parents, Andrew has grown to understand simple verbal instructions, responding to requests and questions in an appropriate manner.

When Andrew first came to live at Links he was on an additive free diet, despite there being no medical conditions attached to this diet.

Meals were adapted in order to accommodate Andrew’s needs.  Over time, Andrew trialled school dinners as a way of introducing foods containing additives back into his diet.

In 2013, Andrew was introduced to a completely normal diet due to the success of school dinners and he now continues to eat a healthy and well balanced diet of different foods, some of which contain additives.

During his time at Links, Andrew learnt to walk semi-independently with a member of the staff team.

From being risk assessed as a needing 2:1 support in the community, he was assessed as 1:1 when ‘out and about.’

He began walking alongside staff without the need to be held or restricted (apart from when crossing roads or being out in heavily populated areas).

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109 children come into care every day in the UK...