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Child Care - Therapeutic Child Care

This programme was closely modelled on the course founded by Adrian Ward at the University of Reading originally to meet the needs of child care professionals seeking to work in a progressive and therapeutic way with very troubled children and their families.

The Carlow College version is a unique multi-disciplinary programme for experienced practitioners currently working with emotionally troubled children and their families in a wide variety of community and residential settings. The programme should be of interest to Social Care Workers, Play Therapists, Child Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Community Child Care Workers, and to Psychiatric Nurses and Teachers who work predominantly with traumatized children. It is taught over two years, one day a week and has a maximum intake of 18 students.

The programme has a strong focus on the therapeutic model of practice and its application in different agencies and settings. The programme is based on the 'Matching Principle', meaning that the training situation should be as close as possible to the practice situation, so it is conducted as much as possible to reflect 'best practice' in a therapeutic community work setting.

The emphasis is on cooperative rather than on competitive learning. There is continuous overlap between personal, professional and academic learning and opportunities are provided for personal and professional development.

Staff and students work together on a range of methods in therapeutic child care, including:

1. Milieu Therapy
2. Opportunity-led work in daily living
3. Anti-oppressive practice
4. Focused work
5. Group work
6. Management and Ethical issues

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements And Selection Criteria
In order to be eligible for this programme, applicants need:

1. An honours degree in Applied Social Studies or an equivalent academic / professional qualification to degree level in a relevant profession.

2. In very exceptional cases, a Diploma in Applied Social Studies or equivalent qualification will be considered.

3. To be currently and continually employed with young people and their families in a setting open to working from a therapeutic perspective.

4. To perform satisfactorily at interview.


2 Years

Further enquiries

For further information contact:
Damien McLellan
Course Leader

Subjects taught

Year 1

Advanced Child Care Practice I
Professional Workshop
Philosophical and Ethical Issues
Experiential Group

Year 2

Advanced Child & Social Care II
Management Issues in Therapeutic Child & Social Care
Research / Dissertation
Experiential Group

Enrolment and start dates

The next year of intake is 2018.

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