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Hillcrest Children’s Home – statement of purpose
Hillcrest Children’s Home is managed by Devon County Council:
Devon County Council Children’s Services
This statement of purpose has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of Regulation 16 and schedule 1 of the Children’s Homes (England) regulations 2015.
Hillcrest Children’s Home is maintained as part of a range of provisions that enable Devon County Council to support families with children who have health, physical or behavioural needs and who may have other additional needs.
- The home and surroundings
Our home is situated in a village in East Devon, close to Honiton and amenities.
Hillcrest is a bungalow, with a large garden area. Hillcrest has three bedrooms: the Space Room, the Jungle Room and the Lego Room. These themes have been chosen by children who visit the home.
There is a homely lounge, with a television and touch screen computer, where children can relax and carry out play activities. There is a dining room area, with a family sized dining table and chairs, where everyone can sit and enjoy their meals; this can also be used for craft activities and games.
Our playroom contains sofas for quiet activities. There is a soft play area for relaxation, shelves of books and a variety of toys and activities. There is a bathroom equipped with a bath and wet room area for showering.
The kitchen provides an environment well equipped for children to prepare, with staff support, snacks, drinks, meals and baking activities. The facilities include a utility area which, although primarily used by staff for the running of the home, can also be accessed by the children, with supervision, to help develop self-help skills. Children are encouraged to participate in menu planning, shopping, food preparation and daily living skills.
Hillcrest has a large garden overlooking the countryside, with swings, a castle climbing frame, trampoline and track for go-karts and bicycles. There is a summer house for children to relax in the shade in summer and sit cosily in the winter.
The garden contains a covered picnic table, and a wildlife area with raised beds for growing produce of the children’s choosing. There are apple and plum trees, and other soft fruits, which are used in baking cakes and desserts.
Outdoor sheds contain sporting equipment including badminton equipment, boules, hoops, skipping ropes and various activities for the garden.
There is a sensory area at a quieter corner of the garden with textured grass matting and bean bags, sand and water play, a play house and musical chimes and toys.
We have an abundance of wildlife visiting the garden and adjacent fields, animals and birds, which the children are encouraged to talk about and feed.
The grounds are secured by a gate and fencing to protect children’s privacy and ensure their safety when accessing the front of the home and the garden. There are local restaurants in the villages surrounding the home. Children can enjoy a walk, with a meal or snack and a drink afterwards. Children benefit from amenities that are accessible by car such as cinemas, restaurants, country walks, beach activities, swimming and sports activities.
In the wider area there is access to amusement parks and theatres. The home has its own vehicle to enable children to access the community such as shops, cafes and play parks.
Honiton has access to a wide variety of places of worship for many faiths, and within a 30-minute drive, there are further religious establishments. We will support all children’s religious, cultural and ethnicity needs within the local community, where preferences have been expressed.
At Hillcrest Children’s Home we support children from birth to 18 years who have learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and medical and sensory needs. Referrals are made to Hillcrest via a child’s social worker. We undertake comprehensive assessments of their needs and introduce children to the home in a way that is right for them. The support is provided within a framework agreed through the child’s annual review and care planning process. We provide short breaks and shared care support.
We support children and their families to visit and view the service – The Children’s Guides and Family Handbook support these visits.
Emergency placements will be considered on an individual basis where a risk assessment will be carried out. Full time placements may be able to continue whilst a suitable long-term home is found. In these situations, the best interests of all children involved will always be at the forefront of any decisions made.
The home is open for 52 weeks of the year, but may close on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and staff training days. On rare occasions there may be a need, by consulting with parents, to re arrange a child’s stay due to extreme weather conditions.
There may be times when, through joint planning and mutual agreement, a child may be able to stay beyond their 18th birthday. This will be evaluated on a case by case basis to ensure we are able to meet the needs of the young person at all times. If this was to occur, there would be a review of plans in place to support the young person to ensure we meet their changing needs as they move into adulthood.
We can be commissioned to implement clinical assessment and treatment plans for individual children, as appropriate, in liaison with other relevant persons; ensuring a multi-agency approach that values the child and puts the child’s welfare at the centre of all decision-making processes.
- Quality and purpose of care
The staff team at Hillcrest Children’s Home are skilled in adapting their approach to suit the particular needs of the children they support, and the staff training is provided to develop and maintain individual’s skills. Staff listen and respond to the voice of the child.
Our aims are to provide enjoyable breaks, which expand the opportunities available for children, whilst supporting them to learn skills appropriate to their age, ability and understanding, encouraging natural progression, within a home environment. We do this by working closely with the child, families, key professionals, schools, and others that are important to the child, to provide consistency and support in ways that are in the best interest of the child.
Children are encouraged and supported to have as much involvement in decisions regarding their care as possible. Link Workers will act as advocates for children within the home.
At times due to the nature of a child and the display of behaviours of concern, it may be identified the best way to support the child, will be to have “Team around the Child” for a consistent and stabilising approach. Each child will have an individual Support and Outcome Plan that is reviewed at least annually or when their needs change, the plan needs to be a “living” document.
The ethos of the home is to provide a home from home environment where children can grow and develop through a nurturing process that caters to their individuality. We are committed to providing a caring environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
We provide activities and opportunities to enhance the childrens experiences and outcomes. We will complete a “My Story” with each child to celebrate all their experiences and achievements.
- Caring for children
The team at Hillcrest Children’s Home value the feedback we receive about the service, this is sought from a variety of sources and any learning is embedded into our practice.
We are committed to gathering feedback, in ways that suit the individual’s preferred communication methods, which may include verbal, written, pictorial, behavioural or making use of technological aids. Children are supported to complete feedback forms which enables children to be involved in the shaping of the care they receive and the development of the service as a whole.
Children are given the opportunity to express their views in a way appropriate to their individual communication abilities and needs. They are encouraged to participate in the review and development of services, both in general and in relation to themselves.
We work in a child-focused manner to provide a safe environment for children where they are supported, offered a variety of stimulation and benefit from life experiences and opportunities, to access a variety of in house and community-based activities. Children’s wishes, hobbies and interests are therefore supported in this way.
Our staff support and respect the child’s individual beliefs and wishes. We treat each child as an individual and in so doing we recognise that religious beliefs may influence every area of a child life from philosophy, morality, to diet and preparation of food and mode of dress. These beliefs and wishes will be incorporated into an individual’s Support and Outcome Plan and will shape the support and care they receive whilst at Hillcrest.
The children come in for each stay with their own clothes, personal items, and equipment / medication, which are returned when their visit has ended. Children are encouraged to bring from home personal items such as photographs and items that have a significant meaning to them. This, alongside personalising their bedroom, ensures that they feel at ease whilst staying at Hillcrest.
In general, children do not stay at the home with pocket money, although when they do we ensure they are aware of how to keep this safe and will support them in accessing shops if required. During a child’s stay access to a variety of activities, both within Hillcrest and in the local community, are supported and funded by the home.
Children thrive when their experiences are positive. Staff spend quality time creating positive relationships, through meaningful interactions. Children are also encouraged and supported to form friendships with each other.
- Safeguarding children
It is the aim of the home to ensure that every child feels relaxed and safe at all times. Any safeguarding disclosure will be treated sensitively and supportively, as per Devon County Council and South West Child Protection Policies and Procedures. All disclosures will be treated seriously and reported as appropriate.
A robust Locality Risk Assessment containing information from both the Local Police and Devon and Cornwall Police website is produced annually, the crime rate for the immediate area around Hillcrest is low.
All those involved with the provision of services for children in the children’s home settings, must be alert to the possibility of abuse by other children, visitors and members of staff. Staff attend relevant training, in line with the Devon County Council policies. Staff are able, if they have a specific interest, to request training in specific areas of Safeguarding through the appraisal process. The staff team working at Hillcrest have access to the Management Team On-call for advice and guidance, as well as regular supervision in which they can discuss any concerns they may have. We have an “Open Door” Policy whereby staff can seek support from the Management Team whenever they feel this is required.
Identified staff have involvement in local safeguarding forums, which enables us to have a knowledge base of the most recent developments and practice. This information is then cascaded down to the Team.
All children have a Fire Evacuation Plan, and the home has an annual Fire Risk Assessment completed.
All compliments, concerns and complaints are taken seriously. Children are encouraged to share compliments, concerns and complaints with their parents and carers, staff, managers or the Service Manager for Countywide Services. Hillcrest Children’s Home adheres to Devon County Council complaints policies and procedures.
Children, parents/carers, members of the public, agencies or professionals are able to raise compliments or concerns to staff, lead professionals, or go directly to MASH, LADO, Disabled Children’s Service, or Ofsted. Requests to see the homes policies and procedures can be made to Hillcrest or Devon Children’s Homes. Compliments, Concerns and Complaints can be made to:
Glenn Lobb – Service Manager for Countywide Services
One Capital Court
Telephone: 01392 38 3000
The home promotes an environment in which bullying is not acceptable. If bullying is found to occur, effective strategies will be implemented to manage the situation safely and promptly. We support children to actively come forward with their concerns in any area.
Staff at Hillcrest are aware that children need privacy. However, this must be balanced with issues of protection and safety. The privacy and dignity of the children are respected at all times. There may be exceptions to this if monitoring is required due to individual needs for health and safety reasons.
All children who stay at Hillcrest have their own private bedroom, of their choice wherever possible. They have the option of locking the bedroom door if they wish to, although staff do carry a key to the door, and will use it to unlock a door if they deem the child to be at risk.
The need for supervision, checks, and the use of audio or visual monitors during the night, is assessed on an individual basis. Night time monitoring will only take place where there is an identified need which will be detailed in the individuals agreed Support and Outcome plan and consented to by the child, Parent and/or their Placing Authority. Any night time monitoring will be reviewed and discussed at the Good Practice Committee.
Access to the home is via a main front door with a key lock, and exit is via a key pad. All children are assessed individually as to the safety of them knowing the code to exit the building. Visual Identification is required and the signing of the visitor book.
At Hillcrest we support multi-disciplinary working with professionals and are happy to facilitate visits from known education, health and social care professionals. There are procedures in place to ensure the individuals identity is known and recorded. Any visits that take place will be organised by the parents or carer and/or lead professional for the child except in an emergency situation.
In the event of a child going missing from the home (or during outings away from the home) immediate action will be taken to locate the child. The member of staff supporting the child will carry an emergency card, which holds emergency contact details, and a photograph. The Police will be informed, and contact will be made with families and lead professionals, as appropriate. Full Risk Assessments are put in place for children who have behaviours that increase the likelihood of them going missing from care – we will link with the local police where necessary.
- Children's behaviour
At Hillcrest we promote positive behaviour and relationships. Children have staff members supporting them that they are familiar with. Wherever possible the child will be supported by their link staff member.
We are aware that, at times, children may present behaviours of concern. This may be due to their disability, environmental factors, medical conditions, or as part of growing up. We support children with behaviours of concern using the Positive Behavioural Support Management Ethos. The valuing of individual rights, opinions and wishes of children and working in partnership with them and their families is seen as paramount.
The management of physical and emotional, harmful behaviour is based on positive encouragement, diversion, and distraction to change or deflect behaviour.
Hillcrest has close links with external professionals who can provide support and advice for the staff team, and the child. We aim to minimise the behaviours of concern and work with the child in order to ease out their frustrations in a safe manner. The staff team have regular meetings in which they can discuss strategies to positively support children.
If behaviour becomes dangerous for the child or others, staff may, as a last resort, need to use a physical intervention to support the child. Hillcrest staff team receive behaviour management training which incorporates training and assessment of competence of physical guides and holds. Any use of a physical intervention or restraint will follow the guidelines set by the Department of Health and Devon County Council. This is used only as a last resort and reflects the presenting behaviour, using the least restrictive intervention for the shortest time possible, to keep people safe. All children who use our service will have a Support and Outcome Plan which includes a Risk Assessment, Behaviour Plan (if required), and a Positive Handling Plan where applicable.
De-escalation of behaviours is supported with positive strategies. Details of any physical restraint and/or intervention will be recorded, and details shared with parents or carers and relevant professionals. Health Monitoring forms are available for use if required. The Department of Health Guidance 2002, ‘Restrictive Physical Interventions: How to provide safe services for people with learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder’, will underpin and support good practice.
At Hillcrest we support children to make progress towards achieving their educational potential. EHCPs and Individual Education Plans are incorporated into the care plans where applicable. We provide suitable facilities and support to enable children to complete homework tasks where needed.
The staff team at Hillcrest have close working relationships with the schools that the children attend. We are able, by arrangement with school and home, to visit the children and see them in their school environment. Staff are able to liaise with the class teacher and teaching assistants to provide continuity of care with regard to any educational and behaviour plans. Hillcrest staff members consult with the Speech and Language Team so as to provide the children with necessary resources to aid communication – Makaton, sign language, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication Systems) books and symbols, photographs, yes/no symbols and Objects of Reference.
A representative from Hillcrest will attend the child’s annual EHCP review and provide a written report where required. The “My Stories” that are completed can be taken to the reviews. The staff complete Hillcrest/school/home books to maintain effective communication with families and Education.
At Hillcrest we aim to provide a good level of educational support to all the children that attend the home. We promote life skill development and learning through play, fun and new experiences, in a safe and supported environment.
We make necessary adjustments to ensure we meet the additional responsibilities for Children in Care. We do this by liaising with key professionals and families, and by adjusting the support we provide as required to meet the individual’s needs.
As part of the individual Support and Outcome Plan at Hillcrest each child has identified outcomes that are regularly monitored identifying progress and adaptations to support that may be required for each individual. These will be evidenced in the childrens own ‘My Stories’ so that the children and family can celebrate their achievements.
When a child is in the process of transition to adulthood, the staff team will support in whichever Child Focused way is required.
- Children's health
The health needs of all the children are determined in consultation with the child, their parents or carers, and lead professionals prior to admission and throughout their time at Hillcrest Children’s Home.
Where the children have long term health conditions, staff are trained in the clinical skills necessary to deliver the care safely. The Children’s Home has responsibility for ensuring correct and appropriate training of staff. Where it is necessary to utilise the skills of other individuals, their credentials and identity will be checked thoroughly and, if they require access to the child, it will be with parental consent and supervised.
Some of the children may require specialised equipment and follow specialist Physiotherapy programmes. Staff members liaise with the relevant professionals to provide these services, if identified. Consultation takes place with parents, carers and the school, to provide continuity of care for the child during their stay.
Some of the children have specific dietary requirements. Regular discussions with the parents or carers and the dietician, Paediatrician and GP are necessary in order to meet the health needs of the child, whilst also taking into consideration the child’s wishes.
Families will retain parental responsibility and take their children for regular health, dental and optical checks. Families should inform the home of these so a record can be kept. Where a child is a Child in Care, we recognise our increased responsibility and will provide support for individual children and their families where required. Staff will support parents at visits, if requested. If any concerns arise about the health of a child during their stay, parents or carers are contacted and, if necessary, the child’s GP or Devon Doctors. If necessary, we will either call an ambulance or take the child to the local accident and emergency department for medical attention. The local Hospital is within five miles of Hillcrest, this is a Minor Injuries Unit. After 10pm, if children require treatment, the nearest Hospital is in Exeter 10 miles away. If this occurs, families will be required to meet and support the child at the hospital unless specific arrangements have been agreed prior to the child’s stay. The staff team have awareness and understanding to support children with their Emotional Wellbeing. Consent forms regarding children receiving medical treatments will be completed prior to accessing the home.
Parents and carers are required to supply the correct dosage of medication, for the child’s stay, in pharmacy labelled containers. These labels require all information to enable administration of the medication by staff. Any changes in medication should be in written form on the medication authorisation sheet, signed and dated by the parents and by a staff member of the home.
At times, the child’s medication is changed on a regular basis and a repeat prescription with the new dose on it may be delayed: for example, if the medication is changed by the paediatrician, the same day as the visit. In these circumstances we will seek, where possible, confirmation from the child’s Paediatrician or GP over the phone. We request that a correct label is sent in on their next visit.
We may consult with the child’s Paediatrician with regard to medication; this is achieved via telephone and email and with full involvement of the parents or carers.
Hillcrest Children’s Home adheres to Devon County Council policies regarding food hygiene, follows the Food Standard’s Agency Registration and Compliance, and follows the local authority’s “Better standards, safer food” policies. The meals prepared take into account the individual needs of the children accessing the home, and their choices. The home supports the staff in accessing basic food hygiene training, and training in areas such as Health and Safety, and Infection Control.
At Hillcrest meals are prepared by children where possible. Children are able to plan, shop and prepare snacks, meals and baking items.
Hillcrest provides an environment, where healthy living is promoted. We aim to provide ingredients for a varied healthy diet. Opportunities for physical activities are offered, and we promote good personal hygiene and cleanliness.
Hillcrest is a non-smoking site. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the site by the children, staff, or visitors.
- Staff team and recruitment
Hillcrest Children’s Home staff team are recruited, according to Devon County Council Safer Recruitment Policies and Procedures, as recommended in the ‘Warner Report: Choosing with Care (1992)’. All staff meet the requirements of the Children’s Home Regulations 2015.
All our staff hold a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service, meet Schedule 2 requirements, set out in the Children’s Home Regulations 2015, and work-related references dating back at least five years are scrutinised.
The staffing is based upon the children accessing the home, and their individual needs. This is reviewed regularly. At night the home is staffed by one waking night member of staff, and a sleep-in member of staff, with the support of an On-Call Manager.
Hillcrest has a Manager, Deputy Manager, and a Team Leader, all of whom are Qualified Learning Disability Nurses. Assistant Team Leaders Care and Support Assistants, complete the team. The team has been consistent, and all hold a wealth of experiences, within Child Care Settings. The Manager is accountable to the Service Manager for Countywide Services. The Deputy Manager and Team Leader have responsibility for management of the Assistant Team Leaders and Care and Support Assistants. The Assistant Team Leaders oversee day-to-day tasks and activities whilst on shift and will support with staff management as required. Bank and agency staff are available, if needed, to support staffing levels during holidays and cover staff absence. This is minimal at Hillcrest.
The Manager regularly meets with the Service Manager for Countywide Services for supervision. The Management Team deliver in house medical training to the staff at Hillcrest. They also assess the individual staff members’ competence for each procedure they are trained in.
All the staff at Hillcrest are female, and it is acknowledged that there is an imbalance of gender role models. However, as this is a children’s home providing a short breaks service, the children will have opportunities to access appropriate male role models in their home, school and social life. Our recruitment of staff is designed to encourage a diverse workforce.
All staff members employed at Hillcrest complete mandatory and professional training in line with policies, procedures and appraisals. All staff receive regular supervision. Staff training is tailored and focused on the individual needs of the children accessing the home. A training matrix is available, detailing all the training needs of each role within the home.
Mandatory training includes areas such as Induction, Communication, Health and Safety, Seizure Control, Conflict Resolution, Medicines Management, Safeguarding Group 1-6, Equality and Diversity, Manual Handling, Paediatric First Aid, Mental Capacity Act, DOLS, and Information governance. All staff attend the required annual Fire Safety updates. Fire drills will occur at intervals throughout the year, for both children and staff, with details recorded.
Home Manager and Deputy Manager hold Diploma 5 or equivalent. Team Leaders and Assistant Team Leader have the opportunity to work towards gaining NVQ level 4 or level 5 Diplomas in relevant subject areas. Care and Support Assistants will be required to hold or be working towards a Diploma level 3.
The home complies with Devon County Council Human Resources Policies and Procedures. Devon County Council has Union Representatives, which are available to staff at any time, for advice and support. Devon County Council also provides occupation health support for all staff and this is a confidential process where required.
For further information please contact Tracey Wilson (Registered Manager)