Devon’s child protection conferencing model ‘Stronger families: Safer Children’ is a strengths-based approach, intended to deliver a collaborative, outcome-focused approach to improving safety and increasing the skills and resilience of families.
Feedback from families since the launch in February 2017 has endorsed the importance and value of the new approach in improving the lives of our most vulnerable children. A consistently high proportion of families report feeling prepared, listened to and included in the planning and understood how they would be support and what they needed to change.
Strengths-based approaches concentrate on the inherent strengths of individuals, families, communities, groups and organisations, deploying personal strengths to aid recovery, change, empowerment and resilience.
The model balances a rigorous exploration of danger/harm alongside indicators of strengths and safety but is strongly focused on harnessing, developing and targeting those positive areas far more intensively and deliberately.
The model depends upon a collaborative approach in which families receive a strong and explicit message that we will try to develop a trusting and positive working relationship with them. We will help them identify their own strengths and resources and be crystal clear about what we are worried about and what we need to do together to bring about positive change. Parents, families and children must be central to and not a passive recipient of each stage of assessment and planning.
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