Geneva Ellis's Story
Geneva Ellis's Fellowship allowed her to develop new care models for children and young people living in children's homes.
Geneva works as a Corporate Services Manager for St Christopher’s Fellowship, a charity that provides care and accommodation for looked after children in children's homes and foster families. In 2012 she travelled to Norway, Sweden and Germany to explore best practice in the management of children’s homes.
Geneva noted significant differences in the way that children's homes were run. These included a broader, less rigid range of homes; fewer but more highly qualified staff; more developed work with families and closer relationships between children and staff.
Geneva used her findings to work with colleagues to develop new models of care. One of these models was to provide children’s homes specifically caring for children who had experienced child sexual exploitation. With support and £1.19m funding from the government’s Innovation Programme, St Christopher’s was, in 2015, able to develop and pilot two new children’s homes.
The pilot homes for girls aged 12 to 17 provide a nurturing environment which focuses on helping girls learn skills to keep themselves safe from exploitation while the staff develop new best practice to protect them at times of greatest risk.
Children's Minister Edward Timpson said, "This new service will make sure that troubled teens in London get the help they need, when they need it most, and I'm looking forward to working with St Christopher's Fellowship on this innovative venture." Positive early indicators from the pilot’s evaluation have led to the pilot being extended and further funding awarded.
In 2015 Geneva was seconded as a research expert to support Sir Martin Narey’s national review of children's residential care.