Our Approach

Historically the young people at SWAAY have experienced significant adversity in their lives; they may have come from chaotic, unpredictable and abusive environments. They typically present as having experienced complex trauma, and as needing individualised therapeutic care that considers the role early trauma exposure plays in their development and functioning. It is widely recognised that a principal need for a young people who have experienced trauma or neglect is to develop a primary attachment with a care-giver in order that they may gain the skills for building future relationships. The capacity to form satisfying relationships and achieve inter-dependence with others is crucial to the future well-being of young people; yet typically care-leavers are at increased risk of social isolation compared to their peers who have not been in care. Furthermore, insecure attachment has been linked with increased likelihood of perpetrating sexual harm, as well as vulnerability to further victimisation.

Thus SWAAY provides an attachment and trauma informed therapeutic milieu to enable the young people in our care to develop secure and healthy relationships and to build resilience and developmental competency. This in turn aims to change their internalised perceptions of past experiences and embed new experiences that will increase their abilities to form rewarding relationships in the future.

On referral to SWAAY each young person is allocated a ‘Core Group’ consisting of:

  • a Residential Key Worker (within the home)
  • an Education Mentor (within the school)
  • a Therapy Individual Worker (from the therapeutic team)


 The young person is encouraged to have primary relationships with the representatives from the Core Group, as well as having secondary relationships with other staff across the wider organisation. Essentially the Core Group provides the secure base from which the young person can develop a strong network of attachments, which in turn allows him to acquire relationship building skills for his future.

Placement Planning>

The Core Group works closely with the young person to write a Placement Plan that, through careful assessment of needs and strengths, identifies goals and targets in the following areas:

  • Diagnoses & Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • Speech & Language Needs
  • Emotional Development & Identity
  • Behaviour Management
  • Sexual Behaviour & Risk of Sexual Exploitation
  • Family, Relationships & Attachment Style
  • Independent Living Skills/  Discretionary Independence Steps
  • Education, Training & Employment
  • Transitions (housing, education, employment)
  • Therapy

The Placement Plan is reviewed every three months in order to measure and recognise progress and make adjustments to the goals as required.

We believe that what works for the young people at SWAAY is our provision of individually tailored evidence based therapeutic programmes. We understand that what matters for the young people is that they are provided with outstanding care and education to maximise their chances of leading an offence-free life and achieving their personal aspirations.