Safety in Residential Youth Facilities: Staff Perceptions of Safety and Experiences of the "Basic Training Program in Safety and Security"
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionResidential Treatment for Children & Youth. 2021, sep . https://doi.org/10.1080/0886571X.2021.1978035
In inpatient and residential youth facilities, staff concerns over actual and potential aggression and conflict frequently affect both the quality of care and staff wellbeing. This study investigated 1) staff perceptions of safety at the residential facilities where they work, and 2) staff experiences with the Basic Training Program in Safety and Security, initiated by the Norwegian Directorate of Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir), to enhance prevention and management of aggression and conflict. We conducted three focus-group interviews at three different public residential facilities with a total of 18 staff members who work daily with youth. Findings show that staff regard safety as essential and perceive enhanced safety as linked to predictability, stability, team coordination, education and training, organizational support, and trusting and supportive relationships. They also indicate that staff regard the training program as having improved their feelings of safety, enhancing awareness of conflict situations before, during and after they occur, and contributing to more systematic work processes and cooperative and coordinated teamwork. These findings have implications for all facilities providing care and treatment to youth.