Hidden Lives Revealed. A virtual archive - children in care 1881-1981 * Image of handwritten text

St Luke's Reception Centre, Balham

Photograph of St Luke's Reception Centre, Balham

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St Luke's Reception Centre, Balham

Balham, London

(1949 - 1976)

The Home was originally intended for children who were then termed 'maladjusted'. However, there was a change of plan and when it opened St Luke's was a reception centre (reception centres were effectively the post-War equivalent of the receiving homes).

In 1963 the Home is described as a special Home for children who had just left their own home. It was possible to accommodate 20 residents for a period of up to three weeks, and ages could range anywhere from young children to teenagers.

In October 1960 approval was given to provide 10 places for children who would be 'semi-permanent' - in other words needing longer term specialist help than the short term stays currently provided. A change over of staff meant the scheme was delayed until the mid 1960s. The reception centre work was to continue and was for children new to the Society's care, those whose boarding out [fostering] placements had broken down, and those already at other Homes who needed more specalist help.

In 1973 the Home functioned as a therapeutic unit for children who at that time were diagnosed as being 'emotionally disturbed'. The centre provided remedial education, a psychiatrist, residential social worker as well as a field social worker who would find suitable long-term foster homes for the residents.

In 1975, owing to the problem of recruiting suitably qualified staff (both administrative and social work), the decision was taken to move the long stay residents from Balham. Some went to Caerleon accompanied by the Resident Social Workers in Charge and some went to other Homes. Other residents were also moved to new foster placements. This all happened in June 1976.

The building reopened later that year, as a residential Home and day care unit.

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