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LVU – assessment and treatment in special residential homes for young people

Every year, social services place just over 30,000 children and young people in care away from their own homes. Just over 1,000 of them are admitted to one of SiS’s special residential homes for young people. Many of these youngsters have already received non-residential care in their home communities, or care in a foster home or an open residential home (home for care or residence, or HVB home). Only when such interventions prove insufficient do young people come to SiS.

Common reasons for placements with us are substance abuse, criminal activity and violent or disruptive behaviour.

Most of the young people concerned are taken into care on an emergency basis, to break a destructive pattern of behaviour. They subsequently receive further treatment, either from SiS or in some other setting, for example at an HVB home.

Sometimes social services want the special residential home to assess a young person’s problems prior to their reaching a decision on subsequent care and treatment. This assessment is carried out by treatment workers, psychologists and educationalists, who map out and appraise the young person’s needs and make recommendations regarding further treatment.

Every young person is given a treatment plan based on their individual needs and potential. Treatment is planned together with the young person, their family and social services. The young people in our care always have the right to be involved and are given the opportunity to say how they feel and what they want.

The methods we use are backed by scientific research. The commonest therapeutic approach is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Methods of treatment include Aggression Replacement Training (ART), Relapse Prevention (RP), Motivational Interviewing (MI) and individual psychotherapy.

The average time spent in our care is around five months. Just over half the young people placed with us are discharged within three months.

In the interviews we conduct with young people on discharge from our homes, the majority say that they have received help with the issues they wanted help with.

Many young people want help with educational problems

The interviews conducted when young people are admitted to an SiS home show that many of them have had problems at school, resulting for example in their receiving special support teaching on a continuous basis, being suspended for long periods or having to retake at least one year of compulsory education. Many report difficulties keeping up, or problems with mathematics or reading. A majority say that they have played truant, disrupted classes and had problems with teachers.

SiS’s role includes providing education for young people of school age who are in our care. We also offer education to young people above school-leaving age. The schooling provided follows the Education Act and other legislation governing compulsory and upper secondary education and education for students with learning disabilities. Students who achieve the goals set for their education are awarded grades. The Swedish Schools Inspectorate is responsible for supervision and inspection.

Almost seven out of ten young people say that they wish to be given help with their educational problems. When they are discharged from our homes, three out of four feel that they have received help with their schooling.