Signs of Safety – resources for practitoners
Manchester is one of many local authorities implementing the Signs of Safety approach to help protect children, which means practitioners will see this approach used in many different parts of the safeguarding partnership, such as:
- Children’s safeguarding and protection
- Early Help services
- Children’s disability services
- Fostering and adoption.
What does it mean?
In practice this means practitioners asking the following questions:
- What are we worried about?
- What do we know has happened in the past that has caused harm to the child?
- What are we worried might happen to cause harm in the future?
- What are the things that make it harder for the family to look after their children?
Signs of Safety is a strengths-based approach, so practitioners will also be asking the following very important questions:
- What’s working well?
- What are the family or friends already doing that are keeping the child safe?
- What are the strengths in the family that might help to keep the child safe in the future?
As practitioners learn more about the family they develop a safety goal which outlines the best hopes for safety in the future.
Practitioners will work with the family and other professionals to develop a safety plan. Sometimes called ‘next steps’, these are the steps that the family and the people working with them will take to work towards the safety goal.
Signs of Safety in Manchester
Signs of Safety has been adopted by Manchester City Council Children’s Services as the overarching practice framework for all of its work with children and families. It believes this purposeful and collaborative way of working with families will secure the best outcomes for children and young people.
As part of its improvement journey, Manchester City Council is training all social work staff in Signs of Safety, the ‘strength based’ social work model.
Manchester City Council will be implementing the Signs of Safety framework within its MiCARE pathways and documentation.
To support staff through this transitional phase, briefings and guidance will be made available; along with a question and answer page on the MCC the intranet for any questions or suggestions staff may have to ensure the Signs of Safety implementation is a success.
For more information about the resources available to support the Signs of Safety framework see below; some resources are also available in the practitioner zone of the MCC Help and Support Manchester site hsm.manchester.gov.uk