Afon Goch


How we work

Children placed at Afon Goch have previously suffered damaging life experiences and are 'looked after' by children's services. Afon Goch offers an intensive therapeutic programme within a warm and supportive environment.

Up to 3 children are in placement at any one time. We offer each child an individually tailored therapeutic programme of support, supervision, guidance and activities; with the aim of helping them make sense of negative life experiences, learn better ways of coping, and equipping them to face the challenges of adult life.

We help them to overcome the limitations of their past; to experience and embrace choice; and to learn to live in hope.

Typically, children come to us with a cynical and distorted world-view. We show them that ‘it doesn't have to be that way'. During their time with us, each child is supported in learning and appreciating their own value; overriding limiting beliefs; and setting and achieving goals for the future.

We do this by:

  • Individual placement plans and risk assessments that are reviewed at least weekly

  • A keyworking team for each child, with regular keyworker sessions

  • High levels of staff supervision; usually 1:1; but higher levels if this is in the interests of the child

  • A Therapeutic Programme of activities for each child, reviewed at least weekly

  • at least weekly sessions are offered with our resident Art Pyschotherapist

  • A ‘points' system, where specific behaviours are encouraged by reward

  • Daily discussions with each child about their progress

  • A therapeutic team approach. All staff are trained in, and work consistently to, the Therapeutic Crisis Intervention model of interventions; and are also trained in understanding attachment disorders

  • We are AALA registered. Adventure Activities are provided by members of our core staff team (rather than ‘outsiders') and are an integral part of the therapeutic programme for each child.

  • We provide 1:1 tuition from qualified teachers where that is indicated in the child's PEP. (Please note that we do not provide full-time education.) Our aim is that all children should leave Afon Goch functionally literate and numerate; and, as individuals, maximise their educational potential.


We have had marked successes with children from urban environments who need support in breaking delinquent links; or simply need respite from the limiting experiences they may face in their home environment. Our experience has shown that we can maintain positive familial and peer links in the child's ‘home' locality, whilst supporting the child in learning better ways of responding/acting in the future; in the calm that is Afon Goch.

We have also had significant outcomes with Welsh children needing to be placed ‘near home', but also needing intensive therapeutic input and the security of hearing the Welsh language. (A proportion of our staff are fluent in Welsh.)

Placements at Afon Goch can be of unlimited duration. Initially, we prefer a three-month referral to enable us to complete a comprehensive assessment of the child's therapeutic needs. Once that is in place; we can offer a placement as indicated by the referring authority's Care Plan. (Including up to the child's 18th birthday.)

Our current practice is to offer free post-placement support to all children who have been placed with us. (Subject to the child's own wishes and the overall Care Plan.) As an example; a child who left us at age 18 last year still has allocated keyworker support, as and when she wishes.

Emergency placements can be accepted; but only with a view to a comprehensive assessment of the child's needs; and only after carrying out a full risk assessment relating to the child; and a compatibility risk assessment relating to other children in placement.

We work in a structured professional way; with a consistent focus on the changing needs of the child. We recognise the importance of our work. This work is carried out within an atmosphere of great warmth and support: we never forget the importance of fun; and feeling loved and cared for.