There are several tools a practitioner can use to engage with and partner with a parent in decision-making processes and help them to actively participate in matters that relate to their child’s care arrangement.
The Immediate Story
The Immediate Story is a great tool to use when children are entering care to help reduce the impact of trauma and share information in a simple yet meaningful way so they understand as much as possible about what is happening.
The Immediate Story is a clear, simply worded story that is developed by the practitioner and the child (if age-appropriate), at the point when the child is removed from the parents’ care. It provides a simple explanation to the child about the reason for the child protection intervention, about what is happening now or has just happened (for example, the child being removed from their parents’ care and going to stay with other family members or foster carers), and what is going to happen next.
If you are able to partner with the parents so they are there to help draw and tell the story, it may be therapeutic for the child and the parent to share the story and may help reduce the trauma experienced by both parties.
Circles of safety and support
The Circles of safety and support tool may be helpful in exploring the safety and support network. It is a great visual exercise to help explore those people closest to the parents who may be able to help them.
The people identified in the circles may become network members and may be identified as potential kinship carers.
Safety and support networks
A core component of a strengths-based, safety-oriented practice approach is the development and strengthening of a family’s safety and support network. The safety and support network may help identify potential kinship carers for the children, and further identify important family members who can help the parent maintain their relationship with their children while they are in care.
For further information refer to the practice guide Safety and support networks and high intensity responses.
A safety and support network is made up of a range of people, and could include family members, professionals, carers, and community members. These network members will support parents, children and young people in developing and maintaining safety through case and safety planning. The network is crucial in working with parents to help provide for their children’s safety, wellbeing and belonging needs.
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