Jim Anglin, PhD, is Professor Emeritus a the School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria, Canada, and Project Director and Research Associate, at the Cornell / LWB ARCARE project. Jim has over 45 years' experience working with and around the residential child care community and in 2019 he delivered a keynote presentation to the SIRCC 20th anniversary conference.
The aim of Jim's keynote was to put into context the Independent Care review, which at the point of the conference, was at the Journey stage. One year later The Review has concluded and Scotland has moved into the next phase, The Promise.
Prior to his keynote, Jim briefly looked at around 100 international reviews, and considered them based on 9 different characteristics. He concluded that this was indeed, a review like no other, particularly with regards to its origins of the experiences of children and young people and the experiences of those working in the care system. In addition, it had a group specifically to look at love and its place within the care system.
The Independent Care Review, in Jim's opinion, puts love at the heart of what we do.
We'd like to share some key moments of Jim's keynote with a view to generating discussion and reflection with your colleagues.
Jim reflects on the cyclical nature of reviews and that often things that we know not to work continue to happen. That policies are non-reductionist and limit workers ability to truly support young people in care. He suggests that we need to view both ourselves and young people as 'whole people'.
Jim suggests that Scotland has put the notion of love on the table in the context of child and youth care. He explains that the Ancient Greeks had a variety of words for love with at least nine different concepts. In this clip he discusses four of these concepts; Agape, Philia, Storge and Eros.
Jim suggests that it is not possible to deny the existence of Eros within residential care, and the need for training, experience and supervision in order to maintain boundaries and a safe environment. He shares a reflection that the Independent Care Review has an opportunity to influence the policies and structures within which love can happen.
Jim offers caution around the notion of love within child and youth care, that this may be a difficult journey for some to learn to love and be loved. He considers this within the context of the Ubuntu sense of 'I am a person because you are'.
In this clip Jim discusses a study of retrospective reflections which evidenced a high correlation between young people living in a group home and a felt sense of an elemental or primal loss. The reflections highlighted the absence of feelings of love, family and connection, and the need for workers to find better ways of responding to pain and pain based behaviours.
Professor Anglin began his career as a child and youth care worker in a mental health centre in Vancouver, after which he developed a 6-bed group home for young people in Victoria. Following this, Jim pursued graduate studies and worked in social policy before joining the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria where he is Emeritus Professor and former Director. Jim's major research interests have focused on a re-appreciation of residential care for children and young people and he is currently involved in researching the implementation and impact of a principle-based approach to residential care.