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Practice Tools

The Framework for Practice tools can be adapted to help engage carers and the carer household. Some tools are listed in the following paragraphs, along with a description of how and when you may find them beneficial.     

The Safety House

This is a great tool for influencing placement agreements and identifying what the child needs from their carers to feel safe in their placement. It may also be beneficial for including the child’s voice in safety plans.

This particular tool may be helpful to complete with the carer’s own children, when they may be feeling unsafe or unsettled in their home when a child in care begins their placement. It may help them work out what they need to feel safe in their own home while children in care are staying with them. This could be an empowering process for the carers’ children to complete as they will feel heard and valued and have contributed to their family’s decision-making processes.

The Three Houses

The tool involves both drawing and words and is an effective tool to help children express in drawings their worries, what makes them happy and what they would like from their placement.

The children don’t have to use houses as a basis of this tool, and it could be any symbol or drawing that will help them connect, such as a teddy bear, a fairy or a favourite television or movie character.

Future House

The Future House tool can assist practitioners in finding out what carers think needs to be happening in their family for them to be safe and well in the future, in relation to the identified worries.

This tool is fantastic when future planning with a carer and their household, particularly if there has been a standard of care review and/or harm report actions.  

The Immediate Story

This is a great tool to use when children are entering placements, 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 provides an explanation to the child about the reason for the placement, about what is happening now or has just happened (for example, the child being moved from their parent’s care and going to stay with other family members or foster carers), and what is going to happen next.

This tool is also beneficial for the carer’s own children when new children are entering their family home at the start of a placement, or perhaps when a sudden placement change occurs and the carer’s children experience a loss.

Circles of safety and support

The Circles of safety and support tool may be helpful when exploring the social support network for carers. The safety and support network of a carer is just as important as a child’s safety and support network in that it forms the ‘village’ around the child in care.

It may be made up of people such as extended family, friends and community members who will work with the carers and involved professionals to develop and maintain a plan to ensure the child’s long-term safety, belonging and wellbeing are met during the placement.

The network also provides support to the carers, with people with whom the carer can debrief confidentially, as well as the network that provides babysitters for the children (among other support strategies).

The Family Roadmap

As discussed earlier, this is a great tool to use with the carer household and age-appropriate children. It may be useful when unpacking problems that may be leading to a placement change or even when children are refusing to return to placements.

It is used to engage the family—not just one person specifically. It identifies what family life is at its best and at its worst, and then helps the family to see what strengths and resources they already have in place to build the family up and work towards life at its best again.

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