Practitioners can use several tools to bring the young person into the decision-making process and help them to actively participate in matters that directly affect their lives. These will help to ensure the engagement with the young person is meaningful and age-appropriate and will illicit the information needed.
These tools can help you to implement the vision of the Strengthening families Protecting children Framework for Practice—that Queensland children and young people are cared for, protected, safe and able to reach their full potential.
The Immediate Story
The Immediate Story is a clear, simply worded story that is developed by the practitioner and the young person at the point when the young person is removed from the parents’ care.
The Immediate Story provides a simple explanation to the young person about the reason for the child protection intervention, about what is happening now or has just happened (for example, the young person being removed from their parents’ care and going to stay with other family members or foster carers), and what is going to happen next in the collaborative planning process.
This is a great tool to use when you have removed young people, to help reduce the impact of trauma and share information in a simple yet meaningful way so they understand as much as possible what is happening when entering a placement.
The Three Houses
The Three Houses tool is intended to help bring the voice of children, adults, young people, and families more fully into information gathering processes, assessments, and plans.
It contains a simple graphic of three houses, which are used to help individuals and families externalise and explore what is happening in their lives, particularly in relation to danger and harm, safety factors, and their hopes and dreams. The tool involves both drawing and words and is an effective tool to help young people express in drawings their worries, what makes them happy and what they would like from their placement.
The Safety House
The Safety House is a practical, visual tool that has been designed to include children’s views and understanding of what makes them feel safe.
The Safety House creates a context for talking with children and young people about the collaborative planning process. It elicits their views on what would need to happen within their family/placement to ensure they are safe, in situations where they may have previously been hurt or were at risk of being hurt.
This is a great tool to influence placement agreements and clarify what the young person needs from their carers in order to feel safe in their placements.
The Future House
The Future House tool can assist practitioners in finding out what young people think needs to be happening in their life for them to be safe and well in the future, in relation to the identified worries.
Eliciting the young person’s goals is a necessary first step in working with them and their carer to develop a joint vision of what future safety for young people will look like, and of the specific day-to-day behaviours that can achieve this.
This tool is fantastic when future planning with a young person who is transitioning to adulthood and is actively thinking about their future. This tool is also great to use with young people who may not know what their future holds and need some help exploring this to help ease the overwhelming and anxious feelings transitioning to adulthood can bring about.
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