The Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) hosted an event this fall to provide leaders from residential child care agencies a forum to share experiences and improve practices at their agencies.
A total of 36 leaders from 22 residential care agencies in three countries attended the conference, which took place from September 18 to 20 on Cornell’s campus. Each of the agencies who participated in the conference is in the process of implementing or using the Children and Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, or CARE, model – an evidence-based program developed by the RCCP to improve the social dynamics in residential care settings.
The conference used an innovative model called open space technology, or OST, which allowed the participants to create the conference agenda and goals. Over the course of three days, the participants worked in groups with a focus on the theme “Developmental Leadership.”
“The goal of the two days was to explore issues of leadership’s role in implementing and embedding the CARE program in an organization,” said Martha Holden, director of the Residential Child Care Project and creator of CARE.
“Respecting the expertise, knowledge and passion that the participants brought to this event, the actual topics and content of the two days was decided by the participants. The discussions were led by the participants and the ideas and strategies generated came from the participants. They are the true experts about developmental leadership in a CARE organization.”
This innovative format was facilitated by Dr. James Anglin, professor emeritus at the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, BC. The event model allowed the participants to explore all dimensions of their leadership roles in implementing and sustaining CARE in their agencies.
“The Cornell team’s job was to provide a loose structure and hold the space and time so that the participants could focus on the discussion,” Holden said. “The rich discussions and the amazing energy and commitment of the group throughout the event was inspiring.”
Conference participants said the experienced helped them to learn how to improve the CARE model at their agencies. “The two days were an excellent experience for me,” said Fred Mohrien, chief program officer from Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference. “I very much appreciated the format of open space technology and I believe it brought forward the best in all of us.”