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Annual Review 2010/11 Growing





Childhood First healing hurt minds

Chairman’s message This year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Childhood First’s therapeutic work with emotionally and psychologically disturbed children and young people.

Our mission is to transform the lives of young people who suffer severe emotional and psychological difficulties, so that they can relate well to others, fulfil their potential and enjoy life.

The growing numbers of children taken into care, and the profound levels of psychological disturbance from which many suffer, sadly means that there is a growing need for our work. The past year has also seen increasing acknowledgement that residential care is necessary for the most troubled of children, and growing public recognition of the importance of therapeutic responses to social problems rooted in family dysfunction. Our renowned centres of therapeutic excellence achieve outstanding results with children and young people who have experienced multiple failed placements elsewhere, sometimes as many as 40 in a year. Many children are referred to us from psychiatric and secure settings. Almost all who leave us after the age of 16 go on to a job, a college place or university. Our younger leavers progress to foster care or adoption, or to less specialised residential settings. At the same time as continually improving the quality of our care, education and treatment, we plan to increase the capacity of each of our therapeutic homes in Kent, Norfolk and Northamptonshire and to expand our programme of therapeutic intervention with families in crisis.

In order to realise our vision for growth to meet expanding need, we must build on the success of this year’s fundraising, which culminated in a spectacular anniversary dinner at The Savoy. To this end, we are working hard to build local support for our therapeutic work and I have been delighted to welcome aboard six new patrons. In Kent, Peregrine Massey, the former high sheriff, his wife Deirdre, and Tim and Marylyn Bacon, have been instrumental in a highly effective campaign of awareness-raising and recruitment of support. In Norfolk, Viscountess Knollys OBE DL, the former high sheriff, and Richard Jewson JP, the lordlieutenant, have been unstinting in their support. I am proud to be part of an organization that has transformed the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK over the past 40 years. I am enormously grateful to our supporters, staff, patrons and my fellow trustees for their commitment to this uniquely difficult and complex life-saving work.

‘Celebrating 40 years of pioneering therapeutic work, and a unique commitment to healing through relationships’

Together, we can ensure that the lives of many more of our most troubled children and families will be transformed by the work of Childhood First over the next forty years.

John Harrison Chairman


Activities and achievements in 2010/11 Thornby Hall

Education, leisure, holidays

Our work focuses on four therapeutic centres of excellence, offering intensive residential treatment programmes for children plus family and carer outreach support:

In addition to their therapy, our children and young people all successfully attended our special schools, or were supported to attend mainstream schools and colleges. All had regular activities and organised holidays, and were supported to develop their skills and interests in whatever direction attracted them.

Northamptonshire for young people aged 12 to 18


Kent for children aged 5 to 12

Earthsea House

Norfolk for children aged 5 to 14

Merrywood House

‘We provide painstaking, expert, emotional and psychological care and education, 24/7 throughout the year’ 2

Therapeutic children’s homes

Norfolk for children aged 11 to 16 Year-round 24-hour intensive care The children we work with residentially need painstaking, expert, emotional and psychological care and education. This is provided for each child who comes to us, 24/7 throughout the year, every year. The children are typically with us for 2-4 years.

Family and carer support We established dedicated family support workers at two of our homes, and we are working towards this provision at all four homes. More effective work with birth and adoptive families, and with past or future foster carers, improves outcomes for the children, and for their families and carers.

We work with the most damaged children The complex and profound needs of the children and young people referred to us mean that we work with relatively small numbers. Clinical assessments showed that, of the children and young people we treated in 2010/11:


The economic value of our work were either ‘unable to function in almost all areas of life’ or ‘have a major impairment functioning in several areas of life’

Without access to Childhood First’s treatment programmes, the prognosis for these children would be bleak:


K continued high risk behaviours


K social services, justice and healthcare dependency throughout their lives

were known or suspected to have suffered significant neglect or abuse were known or suspected to have lived in a household with domestic or sexual violence

We have worked to sharpen the clinical focus of our unique therapeutic staff training programme, and begun seeking clinical accreditation in addition to the university accreditation currently offered. This will better recognize the clinical skills of our staff and enhance their authority in securing the therapeutic support that children and families need.

69% 43% 64% 50%

Clinical assessment, evaluation and research

The extraordinary achievement of a normal life

This year we joined the national Outcomes Research Consortium for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). We trained our staff to gather clinical outcomes data using standard validated clinical measures. This will enable us to:

All of our children demonstrated improved functioning in some or all areas of life during the year. All marked up successes of one kind or another and experienced adults and other children being proud of them. Simple everyday experiences for most people, but new for many of our children.

Unique therapeutic training

Young people of 16-18 years of age who completed their placements during the year all took with them evidence of educational achievement. Some went on to employment, and others to college, having been carefully prepared via our leaving care support programme. One ex-resident who graduated from university in 2010/11 obtained a first-class honours degree.

had parents known or suspected to be abusing drugs or alcohol had parents known or suspected to have a mental disorder

had had no contact with their birth father had contact with their birth mother less than once a year

K disruption within their communities

K passing on similar needs to their children. We recognise that the social and financial impact of our work with some of the most troubled of the UK’s children may be of national significance. This year we have begun to investigate, in discussion with social economists and relevant agencies, how our work could be economically evaluated.

Influencing national policy During the year, we served as co-chair of the national Independent Children’s Homes Association and shared in the leading of several initiatives aimed at influencing national policy on behalf of children who are taken into the care of the state.

We worked with

103 71 26 children and young people

parents and carers

local authorities

K Evaluate our clinical effectiveness against mainstream NHS provision K Improve clinical assessment and treatment decisions K Better support children and young people in obtaining the treatment they need K Facilitate discussions with health and social services who have sought our help.


Fundraising and development In addition, we developed stronger support networks in Kent, Norfolk and Northamptonshire. Pioneered in Kent, the formation of local Friends groups will raise awareness and support fundraising. In their first year these groups raised over £25,000. Voluntary income raised in 2010/11 has enabled a range of new developments, including the following:

Therapeutic Performing Arts In partnership with the Variety Club and other supporters, we are developing a therapeutic drama workshop at Thornby Hall and a therapeutic performing arts programme. This programme will offer music and drama education for the vulnerable children in our care, offering a safe, therapeutic space for creative learning and expression.

Planned developments needing funding We currently turn away as many children as we can admit, so we are planning to grow our work. All such developments must be funded by voluntary and corporate donations and trust grants. Current developments for which funds are urgently needed include:

K Two new therapeutic family and carer support workers

K An Assessment, Respite and Crisis (ARC) provision for children and young people unable to cope even in our specialist therapeutic communities

K Strengthened clinical assessment, evaluation and research

K Extensions or new therapeutic homes to increase the number of children we can treat

K An innovative therapeutic fostering scheme K Improved therapeutic education facilities

K Development of our unique therapeutic training programme to establish wider clinical recognition

‘We are planning to grow our work, so that we do not have to turn children away’

Leaving Care

‘Our 24-strong London Marathon team raised over £65,000’


During the year we invested in fundraising development and grew our voluntary income by 182%! We restructured our fundraising team and refined our strategy to focus on trusts and corporate fundraising, individual donors and challenge events. Amongst the highlights of this 40th anniversary year were a black tie event with over 300 guests in the ballroom of The Savoy which raised over £166,000 (after expenses of the event), and our 24-strong London Marathon team who raised over £65,000.

In partnership with the J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust and The Bernard Sunley Charitable Trust, we are further developing our Leaving Care Programme, an innovative project that provides transitional support for those children and young people who leave Childhood First for independence or less specialised forms of care.

Non-residential Outreach Services In 2010/11, we completed a 2-year pilot of therapeutic outreach services that can be delivered to children and young people who suffer severe emotional and behavioural difficulties, but are not resident in our homes. In the new year, these family and carer support services will be available for all children and young people who need our help across Norfolk and Northamptonshire.


Finance 2010/11 has been a year of growth

Our financial track record is one of steady growth

‘Fundraising development enabled us to improve our facilities and develop innovative projects’

7 6 5



Year to March 2011

Spent £m

Received £m

Net £m

Looking after children in the community








3 2

Other – unrealised gains


Total surplus


1 0 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Total Income 2001-2011

‘88% of our income is spent on front-line care’

Over the last ten years we have grown steadily through fees and donations. This has allowed us to build our reserves to sustain our work in difficult times.

This year, our four main facilities helped 103 children. We invested in fundraising development, which raised voluntary income by 182%, enabling us to improve our facilities and develop innovative new projects. Together with unrealised gains on our investments and pensions, we achieved a surplus of £1.6m. For more details see our latest annual report at

We have worked hard to improve our efficiency

And we have plans to expand further







90% 100%





4 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011








Ratio of Cost to Income

Projected Income to 2016

We have worked hard to ensure that we spend the charity’s money well. Around 88% of our operational income is spent on front-line care, education and treatment. We have continued to strive to maximise the use of our facilities in each community.

From this solid platform we want to help more children by expanding the number of residential placements and developing innovative non-residential treatment approaches. This will require significant investment, and we are planning to launch a major appeal.


Case study

People Companies and Trusts Childhood First would like to thank the following companies and trusts for their support this year: Awards for All; Bank of America; Barbour Paton Charitable Trust; BBC Children in Need; Carlin Music Corporation; Claire and Robert Beecham Charitable Trust; Covington & Burling LLP; de Zoete Charitable Trust; D&J Hunter Charitable Trust; Edington Charitable Trust; Fitch Ratings; G & M Wilson Charitable Trust; Goldman Sachs Gives (UK); Goldthree Ltd; HA.SH Foundation; Headley Pitt Trust; Hedley Foundation Limited; J.M. Finn & Co; J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust; Julia Mary Wood Charitable Trust; Kent Community Foundation (Kent Minds Fund); L Messel & Co Charitable Trust; Lilly UK; 1 Garden Court; Peter and Beverley Olsberg Charitable Trust; Philip and Sarah Howard Charitable Trust; Raymond and Blanche Lawson Charitable Trust; Rotary Club of Dereham; Rotary Club of Tenterden; Santander Foundation; The Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust; The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation; The Clover Trust; The Coutts Charitable Trust; The Dyers’ Company Charitable Trust; The Elizabeth & Prince Zaiger Trust; The Golden Bottle Trust; The Grand Charity; The H R Pratt Boorman Family Foundation; The Inverforth Charitable Trust; The Kitty and Daniel Nabarro Charitable Trust; The Millichope Foundation; The Mountain Trust; The Nirvana Charitable Trust; The Paget Charitable Trust; The Penelope Gluckstein Charitable Settlement; The Stephen Zimmerman Charitable Trust; T L Dallas & Co Ltd; Townhouse Hotel Investments Charitable Foundation; Tribal Foundation; Waitrose Ltd; Whitegates Children’s Trust

‘Nathan is now a happy boy, looking forward to senior school’

Nathan came to us at six years old, having suffered levels of parental neglect, abuse and violence that left him profoundly traumatised. He could not bear to have possessions or furniture in his bedroom other than his bed. He pulled down the curtains every evening. He was very thin and did not enjoy mealtimes. He said very little, and only if prompted and supported. He did not play with toys or other children. He would break things deliberately and at times try to hurt other children. He could not allow himself to be cuddled. Nathan’s cognitive functioning was impaired and he had never been to school. Over the four years he spent in our care, Nathan gradually learned to trust the adults and children around him. He learned to talk about his feelings and what had happened to him in his life. He realised that his experience was not unique and


did not make him unlovable. He slowly learned what he liked to eat and drink, and to allow others to nurture him. He learned to play and to join in with others, to make healthy relationships. Nathan was delighted to find that he was good at singing, football and computers, and his education started to catch up with the average for his age. His room gradually became decorated with Spiderman and Manchester United posters, and he shared it with his goldfish Boris. At 10 years old, Nathan moved back with his adoptive family and is now a happy boy, looking forward to senior school where there are more opportunities for football and friends. He still needs a bit of help at school, but his emotional understanding is greater than for many of his age and he knows how to keep himself and others safe.



The Archbishop of Canterbury The Earl of Stockton The Viscountess Knollys OBE DL The Right Hon The Lord Woolf Gen the Lord Ramsbotham GCB CBE The Right Hon the Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE PC Richard Jewson JP, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk Anthony Isaacs Dr John Byng-Hall FRCPsych, DSc, DEd (Hon) John Bird MBE Peregrine Massey Deirdre Massey Tim Bacon Marylyn Bacon

Childhood First has a workforce of 138 of which 65% are directly involved in the daily care, education and treatment of the children and young people with whom we work. We have committed staff many of whom have developed unique clinical insight and therapeutic skills for working with severely traumatised children, through their ‘apprenticeship’ and formal training with us. 53% of community staff have over four years’ service and many have ten years or more.

Trustees John Harrison, Chairman Sebastian Lyon Keith Miller Jan Pethick Patricia Phillips JP Elizabeth Szwed Penny Treadwell Simon Villette Margaret Wilson OBE

Chief Executive Stephen Blunden

‘Our staff have developed unique clinical insight and therapeutic skills’

Childhood First healing hurt minds

Childhood First 210 Borough High Street London SE1 1JX Tel: 020 7928 7388

Childhood First is a registered charity number 286909 and is registered in England number 1708301 as a company limited by guarantee

Childhood First Annual Review 2011  

2011 annual review of Childhood First. "Childhood First transforms the lives of children and young people who suffer severe emotional and ps...

Childhood First Annual Review 2011  

2011 annual review of Childhood First. "Childhood First transforms the lives of children and young people who suffer severe emotional and ps...