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Click to edit Master subtitle style Signs of Safety Liverpool.

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1 Click to edit Master subtitle style Signs of Safety Liverpool

2 Imagine A couple, who have learning difficulties, ask to see the Duty Social Worker at a Civic Centre. They say, – “We’ve just moved into this area.” Mother says, – “I’m expecting a baby and we decided to tell you before anyone else does.” The Duty Social Worker asks, – “Why’s that?” The couple reply, – “Well, we’ve already had 7 children taken into care”

3 Question If you were the worker, what would you be thinking? Discuss in pairs

4 Actual outcome Careful assessment by Social Worker revealed the following. The first three children had been taken into care because of neglect and the parents’ inability at the time to meet their needs on a regular basis. When Mother became pregnant the fourth time, the baby was removed at birth, without a new assessment, because the previous three had been removed. When Mother became pregnant the fifth time, the baby was removed at birth, without a new assessment, because the previous four had been removed. And so on.

5 cont There had never been any concerns raised about the parents’ ability to meet the needs of one child. The authority agreed to meet the costs of the parents and the new baby being assessed in a residential setting This resulted in a positive outcome Two years later services reported that the child was “thriving.”

6 What had worked?

7 Interview with practitioner and carers revealed Practice founded “on a working relationship in which the parents felt understood and respected” Practitioner maintained a “purposive focus” including a rigorous focus on concerns balanced by recognition of the parents’ strengths and changes Honesty from the outset about the possibilities of the parents either keeping or losing their baby Hope and sense of opportunity for the parents Practitioner maintaining the working relationship at a time when the parents were highly anxious

8 Interview with Manager revealed Practitioner’s thorough reading of documentary materials to juxtapose risk and safety factors Practitioner’s use of team consultation using SOS as a shared framework; Practitioner ensuring her professional judgment was based on available evidence The manager’s encouragement of the practitioner’s confidence and competence balanced with a readiness to provide a safety net when necessary.

9 cont And throughout the work, at various stages, the engagement with the family, and the worker’s risk assessment was kept on track by using Signs of Safety Risk Assessment and planning tool

10 What are we Worried About? What’s Working Well? What Needs to Happen? Judgme nt

11 WHERE HAS IT COME FROM? Devised by Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards Grew out of practice in Western Australia Use is spreading in the UK and in various countries around the world

12 Why do each part of SOS matter?

13 Descriptions of past harm Details of incident (s) bringing the family to the attention of the agency Pattern/history Complicating factors Condition/behaviours that contribute to greater difficulty for the family Presence of research based risk factors Danger statement regarding the children Risk to child (children) Context of risk

14 What safety currently exists? Strengths demonstrated as protection over time Pattern/history of exceptions What are the strengths of this family? Assets, resources capacities within family, individual/ community Meaningful in relation to the identified danger

15 Safety scale 0 = reoccurrence is certain, 10 = there is sufficient safety to closed the case Context scale 0 = this is the worst case of child abuse your agency has ever seen, 10 = this is not a situation where any action would be taken

16 Defining the agency goals for safety – required outcomes Defining the family goals for safety – desired outcomes Building a safety plan

17 Key characteristics of SOS Designed to be used with young people and their families drawing on their resources and empowering carers to do more to keep their children safe Focuses on the key current issues Highlights what is already working well Can trigger immediate progress Developed from practice Only one page

18 Where is it used?

19 Around the world Sweden Netherlands France Denmark Finland UK ”tens of thousands of child protection practitioners have been trained in the approach” Turnell 2008

20 In the UK Gateshead West Berkshire Oxfordshire Brighton-Hove Coventry Notts County Solihull Bracknell North Yorkshire Newcastle Reading North Somerset At least 12 and spreading

21 What does the research say?

22 Data sets Data set, Olmsted County, Minnesota, US. Impact since 2000 Data set, Carver County, Minnesota, US. Impact since 2004

23 Data set, Olmsted County, Minnesota, US OCCFS have utilised their version of the Signs of Safety framework to organise all child protection casework since 2000 and all casework is focused around specific family- enacted safety plans Within context of major organizational reforms – Family Group Conferencing – Radical redesign and use of Case Conferences – Restructuring of SW teams to provide a Differential Response

24 results 1995-2007 number of children worked with has increase three fold, BUT, number of children removed has halved and number of cases taken to court have halved. In parallel the number of repeat allegations has reduced to 2% (Federal target is 6.7%)

25 Data set, Carver County, Minnesota, US Use of SOS since 2004 Termination of parental rights 2004/5 – 21 Termination of parental rights 2006/7 – 4 Number of children involved in new placement occurrences within 60 days of a child protection assessment. – 2006 – 57 – 2007 – 35 – 2008 - 26

26 The studies Turnell & Edwards 1999 Australia Sundman, 2002, Finland Westbrock 2006 Carver County Minnesota US Appleton and Weld (2006) New Zealand Turnell, Elliott and Hogg (2007) Gateshead. UK Keddell (2009) Australia Borough of Copenhagen Child and Family Services. (2009) Denmark North Yorkshire, (2009) UK

27 Westbrook results

28 Seven of the nine respondents saw positive differences between their first and second assessments. Workers were described as more caring taking their time explaining more not judging being more personable being warmer listening more being more patient offering more options being less intrusive

29 North Yorkshire preliminary findings SOS had encouraged the participation of children and families in the process of resolving difficulties in their lives. Outcomes for families appeared to have improved as a result of the utilization of SOS. There was some evidence that SOS helped agencies to work together, though there was a need to share the methods, goals and techniques of the approach more substantially with partner agencies. Children and young people did not understand SOS as well as adults and it might be useful to have a different template for them to engage with.

30 What is the research telling us? SOS provides child protections workers with a framework that helps them face the challenges of the work. When child protection workers are clear about concerns in a non-judgmental manner clients are more likely to work to increase the safety of their children. SOS contributes to this through the explicit naming of dangers. Actively seeking the views of clients improves engagement. SOS contributes to this through mapping information and keeping the work on track. SOS is not specifically targeted at eliciting the voice of the child during the course of child protection assessment and intervention. Ways of addressing this are emerging – “three houses”, “words and pictures”. When SOS is used in network meetings there is a greater likelihood of services being able to work together and in partnership with clients. When implementations put in place a parallel process it is much more likely that workers will develop and sustain the strengths-based practice with confidence and creativity.

31 SOS Gatherings :sharing and developing good practice


33 Discussion In pairs What do you like about what you’ve heard? What are you still wondering about?

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