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RCCP retreat plots new directions for residential child care

September 5, 2014

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Martha Holden speaks at the 2014 Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) Retreat.

RCCP Director Martha Holden addressing the group.

In August, the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) hosted its bi-annual, four-day International RCCP Retreat. In attendance were over 50 colleagues from the United States, Europe, Israel, and Australia. The group included RCCP staff, instructors, researchers, staff and faculty from other BCTR projects, as well as staff from nearby agencies. The RCCP’s mission is to develop and disseminate model techniques and systems to improve the quality of care for children living in out-of-home care and to prevent institutional child abuse and neglect through its major programs: Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and Children And Residential Experiences (CARE).

Historically, the function of the retreat has been to evaluate and further develop RCCP’s outreach, technical assistance, and training programs in an effort continually improve those programs, as well as to re-certify RCCP instructors so they best facilitate the RCCP’s programs. The 2014 retreat fulfilled its traditional function, and achieved much more. Using a collaborative format, the retreat began by focusing on trends in the various countries represented. Specifically, attendees explored trends in policy and regulations, economics, research, and evidence-based practice, as well as patterns in the RCCP representatives’ daily practice experiences.

In looking at presentations about translational research, attendees examined the ways RCCP programs fit into the translational process. Discussions then flowed to consider what the RCCP is learning from its ongoing research, evaluation, and implementation of the TCI and CARE programs. The group then considered how their accumulated knowledge informs the possible future paths that RCCP could take in each of these areas. Finally, several small work groups were formed to look at the various options for:

  • Frank Kuhn speaking to the group.

    RCCP Senior Extension Associate Frank Kuhn speaking.

    a curriculum revision of TCI

  • the future direction of TCI for Schools
  • the future direction of CARE
  • training innovations
  • the status and direction of an RCCP web site redesign
  • the use of social media to keep the RCCP connected with its colleagues
  • and a fourth TCI/CARE conference for 2016

On the last day of the retreat the RCCP invited Dr. Junlei Li, from the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA, to present his work on developmental relationships. The core concepts of Dr. Li’s work directly connect with all of the RCCP programs. His work can be best summarized with a few quotes from Dr Li himself:

Fred Rogers often said to his colleagues and friends, ‘I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.’ This core conviction guided Fred Rogers and his colleagues to develop television programs, books, speeches, and curricula that reached out to millions of children, parents, and professionals for nearly half a century.


Today, as so many of us are striving to serve more children, work with less resources, and comply with an increasingly complex and demanding system of standards and regulations, the need to focus on “deep and simple” is ever more important.

I believe at the core of Fred Rogers’ work with parents and educators is this essential message – Enriching interactions with another human being is the most important ingredient in a child’s development. Real and lasting change can start with finding what ordinary people do well with children in everyday moments.

The RCCP looks forward to forging ahead in the new directions discussed in this dynamic retreat, as well as continuing to provide the best programs, support, innovations, and practices to its colleagues around the world.

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