Where WhiteTrees – SureCare started

Back in 1990, a 13 year old boy was placed in care and it was his experiences during his time living in residential care which started him on a life-long journey to make sure that young people in similar circumstances today get a far better start in life than he did himself.

Without the love and support of just a few kind and caring Individuals, SureCare may never have been born. Out of hundreds of professionals who passed through his life during his time in care, only a very few of them succeeded in engaging and motivating him. Over the years, he asked himself so many times why, and the answer that kept coming back to him was that it was these few who truly cared about him and succeeded in building a strong bond and relationship.

This young boy was the original founder of SureCare Residential Simon Barr, and it was his experiences that formed the ethos behind SureCare which are still very much in place today. In December 2008 SureCare opened the door of our first home with the aim of accepting every young person for who they are and starting the process of building relationships based on trust and honesty with every young person that would come into our care.

One factor that we really struggled with was how a lot of the organisations that as now directors we had previously either worked in or come into contact with seemed not genuinely child-focused. They were constantly talking about being so but, somewhere along the way, it was being lost in translation. It was difficult to see whether the problem was down to the severity of the children’s behavioural problems or whether it was the actual care environment that was not quite right. This was the driving force behind our model and how our homes were staffed and maintained to feel and look like family homes.

We felt that low staffing ratios, insufficient input from appropriately qualified professional and an absence of proper programmes evolved for the particular needs of the young person were all largely responsible for the lack of success in turning around the lives of these young people.

We also knew that perhaps the biggest factor in achieving success was to ensure we cared as much about the staff as much as the young people. They need to learn just as the young people do. They need support and encouragement in just the same way. They too need appropriate facilities, tools and support to be able to achieve the outcomes that we strive to give our young people.

We truly believe that to work successfully with challenging behaviours the psychology behind them must be understood and as such we quickly made links with a remarkable psychologist who not only began providing our staff with training and clinical supervision but collaborated with us on our outstanding clinical assessments and treatment plans for our young people.

In the time that we have been running, SureCare have five successful well-appointed homes in Hertfordshire and Essex, a well-trained and enthusiastic staff led by a team of top home-grown professionals who share our ethos, and a fine record of young people moving towards a fulfilling adulthood.

Further to this we have an Independent school ‘White Trees’ which provides an individual tailored programme of education to our students but first and foremost nurtures them as individuals who have had little or no success in schools previously.

Our plan in moving forward is to scale what we do and acquire more homes and develop our educational facility more and along the journey improve our specialist services, therefore creating the WhiteTrees Group as part of our natural and organic progression.