1 January 2016

Postcard from Leon Fulcher

Leon Fulcher, Child & Youth Care Consultant and Chairperson of The International Child & Youth Care Network Board of Governors, wrote this postcard in CYC Online about his recent visit to Cholmondeley.
Leon is working with us to measure outcomes for the children and their families and whānau, a key strategic focus for Cholmondeley in 2016.

LF 1Kia Ora everyone! Warm greetings for the New Year from Cholmondeley Children’s Centre (Chum-lee) at Governor’s Bay, situated at the top of Christchurch’s Lyttleton Harbour on New Zealand’s South Island. On 7 March 1925, in memory of his beloved Margaret – Mary she was called – the Cholmondeley Children’s Home was opened in Governor’s Bay. Hugh Cholmondeley and Mary had been unable to have children of their own but both were extremely fond of children. When Mary died, Hugh purchased Governor’s Bay land previously owned by nuns and built a Children’s home.

LF 290 years later, Cholmondeley provides short-term emergency as well as planned respite care and education for children (aged 3-12 years) whose families are experiencing crisis, genuine stress or recovery from trauma. Cholmondeley provides opportunities for children to experience short (2 to 5 day) breaks where they can experience resilience-building activities whilst giving families a break to address issues at home and briefly re-charge. Social pedagogy practices are embraced with Danish and German students on placement supporting activity-oriented child and youth care social workers!

LF 3Cholmondeley Children’s Centre is the only community-based short-term and emergency respite care provider for at-risk children in New Zealand. It offers a unique international example of how re-spite care and education can be provided on a short-term basis for young children and their families using activity-based learning strategies and methods (check out www.cholmondeley.org.nz).

LF 4The 2011 Christchurch Earthquake left historic Cholmondeley Children’s Home a ruin which had to be demolished. The post-earth quake rebuild created a new child and family-friendly facility, architecturally-designed to be welcoming for children. Cholmondeley now provides emergency and planned short-term respite care and education for up to 20 children whose families are experiencing personal and relationship challenges. Cholmondeley services are guided by a family preservation philosophy, providing early respite care intervention within the continuum of services available for children and families in the Greater Christchurch Region.

LF 5Cholmondeley goals in their new facility are to pro vide services that are immediately accessible to children and families whilst being flexible to individual needs. Cholmondeley also seeks to increase collaboration and partnerships with other health, education and child welfare service providers in the region, as well as nationally and internationally through student placements.

Key out comes sought by Cholmondeley include: (i) increased resilience for each child; (ii) improved capacity of each child to continue achieving in home and school settings through enhanced wellbeing;(iii) strengthening families and family net works through shared parenting that reduces family stress and tension while offering solution-focused opportunities with their children; (iv) decreased risk of family disintegration and child placement in statutory care; (v) restoration of family after disintegration has occurred; and (vi) long-term maintenance of resilience for each child as she/he transitions through secondary school into adulthood.

LF 8What a great idea to decorate Cholmondeley Centre walls with different arrangements of self-portrait art work — all created by the children! Children have a sense of Belonging at Cholmondeley.

I feel certain that Cholmondeley will make greater and greater use of their new purpose-built respite care facilities in coming months – a Centre with a proud tradition and with a new purpose, built into a new purpose-built facility, 90 years later! This is respite care with a difference!

Kia Kaha! Stand Tall! Let’s hear it for the purposeful use of activity in the respite care and education of children!

LF 9LF 10




Read the entire January Issue of CYC Online


More about Leon

Leon Fulcher qualified as a psychiatric social worker with a PhD and has accumulated more than 35 years cross-cultural practice and educational experience with children, young people and their families; embracing health, education, justice, welfare and indigenous services. He has published extensively in relation to social work, child and youth care, and student affairs practices. His research interests have focused primarily on the development of responsive child, youth and family services, with particular consideration given to teamwork and care for the caregivers in foster care, group care and residential education.