Within child protection cases, nationally there continues to be poor outcomes for children. This is underpinned by elements of ineffective practice and unsuitable child protection systems. To ensure that all outcomes are positive, the Signs of Safety (SoS) approach has been implemented across a number of countries and regions.
SoS is a strength-based, safety-orientated approach to child protection, which expands the investigation of risk. Focusing on strengths and signs of safety, within a family, it allows an overall judgement on safety to be made. The SoS framework enables practitioners to critically think through and analyse information gathered. This information can then be mapped in order to know if a child is safe, or if their needs are being met.
We worked with ten local authorities to develop a whole system model, that would support, monitor and build high-quality SoS practice. Our transformational framework covered the structural arrangements, learning strategies, leadership requirements and sustainability needed for the delivery of SoS.
Over the course of the innovation project we delivered: training for social workers and other professionals, coaching sessions for practice leaders, bi-monthly strategy and networking events and created subgroups, established to explore SoS in relation to key elements of child protection practice.
The Innovation Programme has awarded an additional £1.95m to the SoS project to further embed the initiative in the ten local authorities and to build on, and enhance existing learning.
Social Care Workforce Research Unit, The Policy Institute, King’s College London