What is Signs of Safety?
Signs of Safety is an internationally recognised way of working with children and families. It is an accredited model of social work practice that was developed in Western Australia during the 1990s within the field of child protection.
Signs of Safety is used by around one third of the local authorities in England, including most of the council's in the North East. It is recognised as an example of best practice and is applicable to all the work that we do with children, young people and families. This includes our preventative 'early help' work with families, the work our social workers do to keep children and young people safe, the support we provide to children with a disability and the way we work with the children and young people in our care.
The Signs of Safety model of practice includes:
- An assessment and planning framework to determine what the social worker and other people involved are worried about, consider what is working well and develop a plan to address any worries.
- A range of tools to help children and young people tell us what they are worried about and what they want to happen.
- A clear and consistent way of working for families, social workers and partner agencies.
Why is Signs of Safety better for children, young people and families?
- No professional jargon - our social workers and early help works will always use plain everyday language so that everyone involved is clear about what we are worried about, what's working well and what needs to happen.
- Listening to children and young people – As part of the Signs of Safety approach we do lots of work with children and young people to help them to tell us about their worries, all the good things in their life and what they want to happen. This becomes a key part of their assessment and plan.
- Working with families - we work closely with families to understand what is already working well and to find solutions that address our worries. When we develop a plan to keep a child safe, this is done with families so that we can all work together to make postivie and sustainable changes.
How does Signs of Safety work in Redcar and Cleveland?
All, our social workers and early help workers started using the Signs of Safety approach in July 2019, you can find out more about our Signs of Safety implementation by clicking here.
We are using the Signs of Safety approach across all our services to support children, young people and families, although the approach is the same the language changes depending on the area of practice.
Signs of Safety – Is used by our social workers where there are concerns about the safety of a child or young person and by the social workers that support children and young people with a disability. The assessment focuses on 'danger' and 'safety'
Signs of Wellbeing – Is used by our early help workers that provide help and support to families at an early stage to prevent their needs from escalating to the point where they need a social worker. The assessment focuses on 'worries' and 'wellbeing.'
Signs of Success – Signs of success is used in all the work that we do with children and young people who in our care, including care leavers and our work with foster carers. The assessment focuses on 'worries' and 'success.'
You can find out more information on the Signs of Safety international website at https://www.signsofsafety.net