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Signs of Safety Practice Model
Critical Analysis Practice Model Read Signs Safety text (Turnell, A. & Edwards, S. (1999). Signs safety: a solution safety oriented approach child protection. New York W.W. Norton. ) learn Signs Safety practice model, heavily relied Minnesota child welfare practice community.
The Signs of Safety child protection practice model was adopted as a policy to create better outcomes for vulnerable children. The purpose of the model was to deepen the practice by applying principles and disciplines which affect the assessment, management and safety planning when working with children. It was aimed at ensuring those who are new or relatively inexperienced to gain experience in working with children. It is grounded on improving the relationship between social workers and children and ensuring that child protection is done in a safety-organized fashion which helps families in building the safety of children. A major strength of the Signs of Safety framework is that it demonstrates the strengths of the families as units of protection. It uses a strengths-based and safety-organized approach to achieve this since it requires people to partner and collaborate with both the child and the family. The model expands the risk investigation to include the signs and strengths of safety which can be encouraged by stabilizing and strengthening the situation faced by both the child and the family. The central aspect of this approach is that it requires and enhances meaningful engagement between the child and the family since it allows the opinion of the child to be heard and implemented. It also has a specific format which helps to undertake a comprehensive assessment of risk factors in order to assess for any signs of danger and other strengths and safety.
Goals of Signs of Safety
The Signs of Safety model has several goals the first of which is to reduce the number of children exposed to child abuse. It also has the goal of reducing the rates of maltreatment of children. Another goal is to reduce the number of family disruptions and the number of children who are placed in foster care. It also aims at increasing the engagement between family and children in order to increase the amount of participation of children in the family, decision-making and child protection. Child welfare practitioners have also been acknowledged with the aim of improving their job satisfaction and retention rates.
The Signs of Safety practice model also has the aim of increasing the depth of practice instituted by child welfare practitioners and that they are able to grow the child protection systems into concrete structures that will grow both the practitioners and the practice itself. The model defines practice depth as the capacity of the practitioner to think deep and to make judgments that are transparent and that hold them with serious humility and to act compassionately to ensure more people are included in the child protection process no matter their status as lay people or professionals.
The creation of a shared language of risk assessment is another complex goal of the Signs of Safety practice model. This is because it contains a framework for ensuring culture in all responses regarding child protection is incorporated both in the statutory and non-statutory responses. This ensures that the family structure and the place of children in the family is understood and that they are easily accessible to all practitioners. The model states that this is critical as a result of it creating positive outcomes of the vulnerable children who depend largely on the existence of good working relationships between the family and the professionals.
Strengths and shortcomings of the Signs of Safety model
The major strength of the Signs of Safety model is that it revolves around continuous assessment of risk and case planning which makes it easy for professionals and the family to gain useful information. This, however, creates a shortcoming in the Signs of Safety model. The shortcoming is that the assessment of risk and processes involved in planning child protection do not envision the voice of the professionals and it also erases the perspectives and opinions of children and family. However, this is overcome by the model integrating professional knowledge alongside the local and cultural knowledge to create a balanced representation of the indicators of strengths and safety.
Another strength of the Signs of Safety model is that it offers a simple yet thorough format of conducting an assessment of risk to be used by the practitioner. The family members and professionals will be required to give their views regarding case planning and management of risk. This is done by incorporating a focus on the future of the child through the assessment. This deepens the practice and balances the saturation of problems that comes with most risk assessments.
Partnership is also another strength of the Signs of Safety model. This is because it ensures that family members, professionals and other consumer groups are involved in the child protection. Through this partnership, the voice and opinion of the various stakeholders in the child protection process are heard and incorporated in the final decision. One shortcoming of this is that though the partnership is created, there is no equality between the stakeholders. This is because the child protection workers are the only ones with the statutory capacity to conduct investigations on the intimacy of the family life and thus decide whether to place or remove children. They can also undertake other actions such as placing or removing parents or members of family from the child protection register. A second shortcoming is that consumer groups and other recipients of child protection services do not have the choice to enter into a relationship with the child protection worker. Therefore they also do not control the decision whether the relationship is concluded or not Seden, 2001()
Partnership is a strength of the Signs of Safety model though it has these shortcomings. In order to mitigate negative effects of the shortcomings, it is important for the professionals to be straightforward and frank and to understand that their statutory powers should not be used to ruin the partnership aspect of the model. This can be done through making the recipient of child protection service alongside other individuals to understand their role in the partnership and that there are limits which they cannot cross. Partnership can also be enhanced by the workers purposefully and skillfully working towards minimizing the power differences in the partnership through building trust, sharing as much information as possible and involving the partners as much as possible in the process. Fostering input of the partners at all possible stages of the planning process will also help to provide informed choices towards the success of the strategy.
Partnership-based practice will also help professionals to grow individually by allowing them to value their own knowledge and statutory powers alongside the professional knowledge and input of others. As argued by Dingwall, Eekelaar, and Murray (1983)
, risk assessment offers an extremely narrow focus through which judgments regarding child protection can be made. Therefore, it would be important to expand the map to create a process of risk assessment that actively responds to the perspectives of the service recipient and creates judgments based on the available information on family strengths, competencies, safety, goals and safety constructs.
Limitations of the Signs of Safety practice model
One major limitation of the Signs of Safety practice model is that it fails to find a fail-safe checklist which the practitioners can use to base their judgment. Therefore the practitioner's judgment is most important in assessing and mitigating risks to safety. This is because the Signs of Safety practice model has an unstructured professional assessment format which though is thorough, relies on the judgment of the professional. This approach is both benefits and harmful. The disadvantage is that decisions that are made depend largely on the qualifications and experience of the particular professional which leads to criticism on the basis on subjectivity and lack of validity and reliability of decisions. However, the advantage is that it allows risk assessments to take into consideration the circumstances in the situation and to create interventions that are tailored to the particular intervention. This approach allows the Signs of Safety practice model to take into consideration the unique set of circumstances facing the particular child or family through a flexible way of assessing and mitigating risks.
Signs of safety practice model and Minnesota child welfare practice model
The Minnesota public child welfare practice model helps to identify the specific outcomes, principles, skills and values that the child needs in order to be assured of safety and good well-being. The practices embodied in this model have evolved to increase the understanding of practitioners that positive results are achieved when there is increased partnership with parents and other stakeholders in securing the well-being and safety of the children. The model emphasizes the importance of engaging the community to build essential partnerships to secure positive outcomes for the children. Thus the Minnesota child welfare practice model…[continue]
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