The care and education provided in reform schools puts emphasis on protective factors supporting young people’s mental growth which can foster the young person’s life management and prevent mental health issues in adulthood. The protective factors in a reform school include stable and rehabilitative daily life, safe interactive relationships, opportunities for participation provided by the community, and strengthening social networks. The employees of the reform school serve as an example of the regulation of emotions for the young people and support the young people in challenging situations. Goal-oriented family work aims to increase the effectiveness of care.
The employees responsible for the young person’s care familiarise themselves with the young person’s overall situation, care needs and objectives as well as plan the care provided in the reform school together with the young person, and his or her family and other network. In addition to jointly guided activities, the used approaches include different types of work in groups such as ART (Aggression Replacement Training). The approaches used in individual work include discussions carried out as part of personal key-worker work, different action-based methods, individual therapy as well as individually planned intensive care periods. The interactive relationship between a personal key-worker or other employee is often significant for the young person’s development and fosters the young person’s commitment to his or her care.
A young person in a reform school may have a care relationship with a youth psychiatry unit. Collaboration between the attending youth psychiatrist, the employees of the reform school and parents supports the young person’s care and its progress according to mutually set objectives. If the young person requires examination or hospitalisation in a psychiatric hospital, the reform school employees are involved in planning the treatment and the young person typically returns to the reform school after the hospitalisation.