Young Peoples’ Experiences of
Living in a Mixed-Gender
Residential Placement
Jennifer Copley
March 2014
Aims
• Feedback recent research project
• Explain purpose and need for the research
• Consider practical implications for ...
Any specific concerns or questions
about mixed-gender placements?
Research Context
• Recent changes to residential and secure placements
• In research about looked after placements, limite...
Research Context
• How do we manage needs/preferences of boys and girls in a mixed-
gender placement
• Recommendations tha...
Research Design
• Thematic analysis: a methodology for identifying, analysing and
reporting patterns, or themes. Has a del...
What is your experience of living in
a mixed-gender environment?
Global theme: Gender should be consider, but is not a
priority
• It’s normal
• It has benefits
• It can be difficult, but ...
Organising theme one: Mixed-gender living is normal
and beneficial
• Highlighted positive aspects of living with the oppos...
Organising theme two: Living with other people is
difficult, regardless of gender
• Comments were often focused on specifi...
Organising theme three: Gender has its place
• Some things related to gender were important to the young people
• Wanted o...
Organising theme four: Other issues are more relevant
Two key issues
1) fairness and consistency of the rules and conseque...
Recommendations from the research
• Careful management of difficulties presented by
individual young people
• Promote heal...
Future Considerations
• Further research on outcomes of single and mixed-
gender placements
• Further understanding of the...
Questions/Comments
Thank you for listening
For more information please contact
jen.copley@kibble.org
References
Abela, A., Dimech, R., Farrugia, R. & Role’, J. (2005). Children’s perceptions of their experience in foster or...
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Looked after young people at risk of offending: Their experience of living in a mixed gender placement E18

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Session that considers a recent research project looking at the issue of single-versus- mixed- gender placements in residential placement. It discusses the issues highlighted by young people, providing a useful insight into the factors that are important to young people, and factors that may need to be considered when selecting residential placements. Contributed by: Kibble.

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Looked after young people at risk of offending: Their experience of living in a mixed gender placement E18

  1. 1. Young Peoples’ Experiences of Living in a Mixed-Gender Residential Placement Jennifer Copley March 2014
  2. 2. Aims • Feedback recent research project • Explain purpose and need for the research • Consider practical implications for running a mixed- gender residential placement • Consider future research implications
  3. 3. Any specific concerns or questions about mixed-gender placements?
  4. 4. Research Context • Recent changes to residential and secure placements • In research about looked after placements, limited discussion about gender (Abela, 2005; Barth, 2002; Little & Kelly, 1995) • Guidance and policy does not discuss gender (Every Child Matters, 2003; GIRFEC, 2012) What should we consider about gender?
  5. 5. Research Context • How do we manage needs/preferences of boys and girls in a mixed- gender placement • Recommendations that we need to consult young people as the service user (Audit Scotland, 2010) • Concerns about good quality of consultation and whether it reflects clinical rather than service user views (Gilburt, Rose and Slade, 2008) Research needed to ask the young people their preferences
  6. 6. Research Design • Thematic analysis: a methodology for identifying, analysing and reporting patterns, or themes. Has a deliberate and rigorous approach to analysis, which provides a ‘rich and detailed’ account of the data, and allows interpretation of the research topic (Braun and Clark, 2006). • One researcher interviewed seven young people from the residential school – Four boys and three girls – Aged 14-16 – Average stay of ten months, with a range from one-19 months • Interviews were recorded and transcribed for analysis • Reflexivity
  7. 7. What is your experience of living in a mixed-gender environment?
  8. 8. Global theme: Gender should be consider, but is not a priority • It’s normal • It has benefits • It can be difficult, but it can be managed • Mixed would be the preference • Other issues, such as having things in common and the same maturity levels were consider more relevant to the group mix
  9. 9. Organising theme one: Mixed-gender living is normal and beneficial • Highlighted positive aspects of living with the opposite gender • Highlighted negative aspects of living with people of the same gender • Sense that a mixed-gender environment was “normal”; more closely related to home environment and environment they will return to “Cause you can make friends and just cause you’re stayin’ with boys doesny [does not] mean its all bad. A [I] mean the boys in here kinda [kind of] look after me so its like, its nice.” (girl, age 15) “No it’s just normal to me to be honest way [with] you, we treat each other like brother and sisters, its no [not] nothin’ special or [pause] its fine.” (girl, age 15)
  10. 10. Organising theme two: Living with other people is difficult, regardless of gender • Comments were often focused on specific individuals within their unit and what they did that made them difficult to live with, rather than any specific issues related to their gender • Things included people being annoying, noisy, disruptive or awkward “A hate folk shoutin, like see like, folk shoutin at other folk, that just goes right though ma heed [my head] and it gets me angry.” (boy, age 15) “A hink [think] they should have just a unit wae [with] like fifteen year old, fifteen sixteen cause most a [of] them are mature…And you get on better with them, you can talk to them more, like adults” (boy, age 15)
  11. 11. Organising theme three: Gender has its place • Some things related to gender were important to the young people • Wanted opportunities to express themselves through their gender (appearance), have time to mix with people of the same gender and do gender specific activities • Felt that some of the organisation’s responses to some gender related issues were unnecessary, ill-considered or impacted on their lives unnecessarily
  12. 12. Organising theme four: Other issues are more relevant Two key issues 1) fairness and consistency of the rules and consequences in place 2) relationships they had with staff members and peers. “…she came in, tried tae [to] turn ma[my] telly aff [off] n aw [all] that, n am [I’m] like, here that’s never been the rules, n [and] she’s like that’s always been the rules that’s what happens in every other unit. It doesny [doesn’t] happen here.” (boy, age 15) “…why don’t we like just get a dinner hall or something if we go for our breaks and lunches n shit, spend time wae [with] people that we like tae [to] at school…Even if we got supervised, its like gawny [going to] just like give a [us] bit a lenience and let us on facebook.” (girl, age 14)
  13. 13. Recommendations from the research • Careful management of difficulties presented by individual young people • Promote healthy peer relationships • Promote options for girls and boys that allow expression of self • Foster positive staff relationships • Consult young people about rules and regulations • Carefully considered rules and regulations • Consistent use of rules and regulations
  14. 14. Future Considerations • Further research on outcomes of single and mixed- gender placements • Further understanding of the ‘needs’ of girls and boys within looked accommodation • Further understanding of biological and social impact on development
  15. 15. Questions/Comments
  16. 16. Thank you for listening For more information please contact jen.copley@kibble.org
  17. 17. References Abela, A., Dimech, R., Farrugia, R. & Role’, J. (2005). Children’s perceptions of their experience in foster or residential care. Department for Social Welfare Standards. Retrieved from https://secure3.gov.mt/socialpolicy/download.aspx?id=286 Audit Scotland (2010, September).Getting it right for children in residential care. (Prepared for the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission).Retrieved from http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/local/2010/nr_100902_children_residential.pdf Barth, R. P. (2002). Institutions vs. foster homes: The empirical base for a century of action. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC, School of Social Work, Jordan Institute for Families. Retrieved from http://www.dbhds.virginia.gov/documents/CFS/cfs1-9RefDocs-RPBarth-vs- FosterHome.pdf Copley, J and Johnson, D. (2013). Young peoples’ experiences of living in a mixed-gender residential placement. Journal of Adolescent and Youth. DOI:10.1080/02673843.2013.856801 Every Child Matters (2003). Presented to Parliament by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury by Command of Her Majesty September 2003. London: The Stationary Office (TSO). Retrieved from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/CM5860.pdf Gilburt, H., Rose, D., & Slade, M. (2008). The importance of relationships in mental health care: A qualitative study of service users' experiences of psychiatric hospital admission in the UK. BMC Health Services Research. 8, 92. Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/8/92 Little. M. & Kelly. S. (1995). A Life without Problems? The Achievements of a Therapeutic Community. Arena: Alderchot Scottish Government (2012). A guide to Getting it right for every child. Retrieved from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0042/00423979.pdf

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