2How Signs of Safety came about It is an approach to child protection caseworkBegan around late 80’sExplosion of interest in last couple of years, from all around the worldDesigned to help everyone think their way into and through the case from the ‘biggest’ to the ‘smallest’ person
3Solution Focused Brief Therapy Jo to talk through this in brief!
5Scaling QuestionsA way of setting goals, monitoring progress and identifying achievementsThe skill is in the ‘naming’ of the scale and in the follow-up questionse.g. Depression:On a scale of 0 – 10 where 10 means that you are trying you are coping really well with life and 0 means you want to kill yourself …..Safety:On a scale of 0 – 10 where 10 means you feel completely safe at home and 0 means you don’t feel safe at all ……….And the follow upWhere are you on the scale?How did you manage that?How will things look when the number is higherWhen is the last time things were better?How did you do that?What small step do you think you could do?
6ExceptionsThe practitioner encourages the client to search for exceptions to the problem i.e. times when the problem does/did not happen or happened in a different way. Lots of detail is then asked for by the practitioner.Doing this can draw the client’s attention to positive aspects of their lives which they may not be noticing so muchThis creates hope for the client and the worker that the problem does not always existExceptions may indicate solutions that have worked in the past and can be reapplied or adapted in the present.
7The Miracle QuestionTypically (although it can be adapted and varied) the question is worded as “Imagine as you sleep tonight a miracle happens and the problems go away, but because you are asleep you don’t know it has happened. When you wake in the morning what would be the signs that the miracle had taken place?”Can help to clarify goals;Can lift the conversation out of ‘problem-talk’; and into ‘solution-talk’
8Four domains of inquiry What are we worried about? (Past harm, future danger and complicating factors)What’s working well? (Existing strengths and safety)What needs to happen? (Future safety)Where are we on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 means there is enough safety for child protection
910 STEP THREE STEP TWO: JUDGMENT What are you Worried About? Thinking about a child/teenager in your life that you feel a worried about:What are you Worried About?What’s Working Well?What Needs to Happen?STEP ONE: START HERE, BACK AND FORWARDSSTEP THREEWhat has happened, what have you seen, that makes you worried about this child/teenager?What do you like about ___ what are his/her best attributes?Having thought more about this problem now, what would you need to see that would make you satisfied the situation is at a 10?Who are the people that care most about ___? What are the best things about how they care for ____?What would ___ need to see that would make them say this problem is completely sorted out?When you think about what has already happened to ____ what do you think is the worst thing that could happen to ____ because of this problem?What would ___ say are the best things about his/her life?Who would ___ say are the most important people in his/her life? How do they help ___ grow up well?What do you think is the next step that should happen to get this worry sorted out?Are there things happening in ____’s life or family that make this problem harder to deal with?Has there been times when this problem has been dealt with or was even a little better? How did that happen?On a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 means this problem is sorted out as much as it can be and zero means things are so bad for the young person you need to get professional or other outside help, where do you rate this situation today? (Put different judgment numbers on scale for different people e.g., you, child, teacher etc).10STEP TWO: JUDGMENT99
10Local context….. Strategy discussions / meetings January 12 Initial CPCs April 12 - rationale
11Child protection Conferences What are your views on the ‘traditional’ system?Ask colleagues to discuss in school groups
12What does research say about traditional Child Protection Conferences? a valuable forum for professionals from a number of agencies to come togetherprofessionals often talk about the information-sharing that takes place between agenciesthe development of an action plan and the positive work of Core Groupsthe child protection conference as a forum is taken very seriously.
13What are the weaknesses? Insufficient time spent on planning, therefore plans are often of a poor qualityParents usually take a fairly passive role at conferences and have little impact on decisions made.Once particular decisions are reached at a conference, they often go unchecked at subsequent meetings/reviewsThe Child Protection Process is often seen by parents as a test of their 'willingness to co-operate'.
14How does the ‘Signs of safety approach’ build on these positive features? CollaborativeStrengths basedProspectiveRelationship focussedCollaborative: Whilst some power imbalance is unavoidable in the context of child protection, the 'Strengthening Families' model aims to foster as far as possible a spirit of collaborative working between professionals and families. The model incorporates a stage of information sharing in which all of those present (including family members) are invited to participate. Family members are asked to put forward their views, to talk about their own strengths/concerns and to contribute ideas about the best way forwards. By the end of the conference, there should be a mutually agreed set of goals that both the family and professionals agree to work towards.Strengths-based: Information that is shared within the context of a 'Strengthening Families' conference is organised using a specific framework, that also acts as a tool for risk assessment. By completing the framework in full, conference members are made aware, not just of the risks and concerns within a family, but also of their strengths and protective factors. It provides a balanced picture of the family, and an awareness of some of the positives that already exist, and can be built upon.Prospective: Although it is important to be aware of the events that precipitated a particular child protection conference, the 'Strengthening Families' model should assist professionals to look beyond specific incidents. By listening to family members and by completing the framework, conference participants should build up a full and balanced understanding of the family and its needs. This knowledge can then be used to develop a realistic and meaningful set of goals for the future.Relationship-focussed: One of the consistent messages from social work research is that the quality of relationship between worker and client is one of the best predictors of outcomes. Relationships can have an impact on outcomes even when clients are mandated to work with us. The 'Strengthening Families' model seeks to achieve positive outcomes by developing partnerships between professionals and families, by establishing a sense of equality within these relationships and by ensuring that families are listened to, respected and actively involved.
15Who is important in your family? GenogramWho is important in your family?We are the experts on our families!
16STRENGTHS +PROTECTIVE FACTORS DANGER / HARMSAFETYCOMPLICATING FACTORSSTRENGTHS +PROTECTIVE FACTORSThis will be displayed in the conference room and each part will be visited by the IRM.Next slides go through each part in more detail
17Danger/Harm Descriptions of past harm Why are we here?How do issues impact on the children?Descriptions of past harmTHE BEST PREDICTOR OF FUTURE HARM IS PAST HARMOther things that are currently happening that represent danger to the child/renComplicating factorsConditions/behaviours that contribute to greater difficulty for the familyAsk what is the danger / harm regarding the childrenAlways ask how the issues affect the children e.g. so mum is depressed, what is the impact of this upon the children?e.g. poor school attendance – what % of the time do they get thereCheck with worker if this is written in family friendly languageWhat makes these worries/probs more complicated?Avoid ‘shopping list’ of what is wrong in this familyUse danger/harm for CP and worries/working well for CINComplicating factors – literally factors that make the case more complicated – isolation, poverty, addiction, history of fighting with social services etc.1717
18Safety/Strengths What safety currently exists Strengths demonstrated as protection over timePattern/history of exceptionsWhat are the strengths of this familyresources and capacities within family, individual/ communitySafety/Strengths need to relate to the list of dangers etcWhen information is deemed to be important – check out with the worker if they feel this represents danger or safety.In checking out if it is important ask – is this something that you think contributes to things being better for the children in this family?Eg questions –What do you like about these parents?What are their best attributes / what do they do well (or even well enough) as parents?Tell me about times when the kids are looked after OK?FAMILY NETWORKWho are the people in the network who are most helpful to the children?Who would parents/children say help/support them – then look for detail of that supportRELATIONSHIP QUESTIONSWhat would the children say they like about their parents?What would parents say is positive about the children?What would dad say he thinks mum does well as a mum?EXCEPTIONSWhen has mum attended to child’s needsWhen has dad restrained his angerThe house is a mess – how do they manage to keep the kids reasonably clean and healthy?Has there ever been a time when one of the parents have acknowledged even a little bit that the violence affects the children?SCALE10 = you can talk openly with them about the problems, the good stuff and work on ideas together and 0 = they won’t even talk to you. 10 does not mean that people have to like each other!!If the rating is low, talk about when it has been highest – use the EARS process.STRESS – a good relationship is key to good outcome – no relationship means no change so spend time on this area.Scale parents capacity to care – usually gives new informationScale safety – amplify/inquire for positives on any number above 0
19Risk StatementIf things were to carry on as they are now, what will happen to the child/children/young person?Social worker will come with a draft risk statement written, which will be shared with everyone and amended accordingly with input.Importance of clear languageIRM may explain what the concerns are (using their expertise)This may be recorded as bullet points or as a paragragh.
20SAFETY PLANA detailed plan that describes how the family will live everyday life, that shows everyone the child/children will be safeInvolves skilful authoritySafety networks-Safety networks -may involve identifying a key safety person who the child can contact if any concernsMay identify people to support the parents and someone to monitor child’s safetyPeople the family need to avoid
21CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TOOL It is a questioning approachKeeps the child at the centre - ImpactDesigned to be used with young people and their familiesFocuses on the key current issuesHighlights what is already working wellCan trigger immediate progressCollaborative workingFeedback from families who have taken part so far…very positive, felt much more involved.Professionals say that plans are far more effective and clear, not as broad as previouslySometimes previously could just have been a list of services for parents to attend….this is not a safety plan, this is a service plan!