‘This Shared Parenting is Difficult to get Your Head Around’: Experiences of Parents and Carers During Their Child’s First Year at a Residential Therapeutic Special School: A Qualitative Study.

Brief Description – The aim was to investigate the impact on parents and carers of having a child placed at The Mulberry Bush, including the relationship between parents, carers and the school. This qualitative study used participant-led semi-structured interviews. There were fifteen interviews with the parents and carers of seven children. Phase one interviews focussed on the reason for referral and the participants’ experience of the child, phase two interviews reviewed their first year. 

Key Findings 

  • Parents and carers looking after traumatised children had previously received little support to develop their ability to reflect on their parenting role and their relationship with their child 
  • Sharing the parenting of challenging children led to tensions between home and school
  • Parents and carers had little understanding of the approach of The Mulberry Bush 
  • Home and school often had different expectations about a child’s potential development during their time at the MB. 

Publication – Onions, C. (2018). Retaining foster carers during challenging times: the benefits of embedding reflective practice into the foster care role. Adoption & Fostering 2018, Vol. 42(3) 249–265.  Read the article in full here.



For a copy of the full report please email Caryn Onions [email protected]

Caryn Onions

Time span
2014 - 2017

The Mulberry Bush Organisation