Article type: Original Research

PUBLISHED 1 January 1979

Volume 4 Issue 3

The Feasibility of Behavioural Assessment and Treatment in Residential Homes for Children

Derek Jehu

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Derek Jehu


1 Department of Psychology and School of Social Work, Canada, and Department of Social Work, Monash University, University of Manitoba

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In two recent articles in this journal, a behavioural approach to childhood problems is discussed in the context of natural family situations (Griffin 1978, Herbert and O'Driscoll 1978). This paper extends the discussion to Residential Home settings, and can usefully be read in conjunction with the two earlier articles. It is based on our experience of implementing behavioural programmes of assessment and treatment with individual children living in the type of Residential Home that is administered by Social Services Departments in Britain, which I am told are very comparable to similar establishments in Australia. These Homes care for between 6 and 50 or more children, ranging in age from a few days to 18 years. The problems we have treated in such settings include nocturnal and diurnal enuresis, encopresis, self-care deficits in the retarded, and various forms of conduct disorder. The efficacy of this treatment is reported elsewhere (e.g. Jehu et al 1977), and the present discussion is restricted to its feasibility. Generally speaking, it appears to be a practicable and acceptable approach for the staff and children concerned, but inevitably there are certain obstacles and limitations which are outlined below. This concentration on sources of difficulty rather than strength, should not lead to an undue emphasis on the problems likely to be encountered or to any implication that these are insurmountable.

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