John WhitwellThis site is a way of making papers available and sharing other materials from my work in child care.

I have worked in the child care field since I graduated in 1969. By far the longest period and most formative was at the Cotswold Community from 1972 – 1999. I joined ISP – Integrated Services Programme – in 1999.

During my period at the Cotswold Community, and especially after 1985 when I became Principal, I wrote several papers which were mainly published in the journal, “Therapeutic Communities”. This meant they had a pretty narrow readership, hence the wish to make them accessible here.

I have also gathered a variety of material which can be found in the “Scrapbook” section. The Cotswold Community used to have a library of papers which were used extensively in staff training. It was an invaluable resource and so I have tried to create an electronic version of this library. I have had the privilege of working with, and learning from, some amazing people and I hope that this personal archive will be of interest to others and give a flavour of a way of working and thinking which is less prevalent now.

I am conscious of the fact that there is less material from my time with ISP, which ended when I retired in 2014. I have written about different aspects of therapeutic care in family settings and became even more interested in the importance of food and feeding experiences in the recovery of emotionally damaged children. This is an evolving website and will be added to as I come across articles, videos etc, which enhance our understanding of therapeutic care.

“John, I’m just writing briefly in appreciation of your website. I use it frequently to remind and challenge my own thinking and practice as a consultant to children’s homes. It’s a superb resource for me and I worry that I may sometimes be guilty of plagiarism when I’m writing notes to managers and staff teams. I particularly like your “Therapeutic Child Care” and its sharp comment about “external advisors – consultants” being “seduced by the ‘we’ feeling” and being “a constant source of irritation in their quest to help the therapeutic community stay on task.” Although you say you’ve retired, you’re still working well through your rich and challenging website.”
John Burton, author of, “Leading Good Care: the task, heart and art of managing social care”. (Jessica Kingsley, 2015).

“Congratulations on the impressive collection of papers on your website. It is an extraordinary archive and resource, particularly for those of us who shared some of the experiences that you write about. Your diligence to documentation is extremely valuable.
Graeme Kerridge.

“Your superb website continues your contribution to goodness knows how many practitioners and as you know I have taken wisdom from it to use at Kitezh.”
David Dean OBE, Therapeutic Education Consultant to Kitezh, a Russian therapeutic residential community for children.

From John's Blog

  • Somerford Keynes Parish Council’s Report.

    You may wonder why I’ve included a report about Somerford Keynes Parish Council on this website. I have just completed six years on the council, the last few as Chair. …
  • Windsor Conference 11th Nov ’19

    When I was Principal of the Cotswold Community I regularly attended the Association of Therapeutic Communities annual residential conference held at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, usually in mid-September and …
  • The story of the Cotswold Bruderhof (14 October 2018)

    On my website there are various items about the Cotswold Bruderhof, which occupied the site that later became known as the Cotswold Community. These were obtained in piecemeal fashion over …
  • The early days of the Cotswold Community (5th October 2018)

    One of the bonuses of having this website is that I occasionally receive an email from an ex-staff member or young person (who would now be middle-aged) who once resided …

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