Putting children and families at the heart of a brand new approach to the way we work has become real with the launch of Liverpool’s ‘Signs of Safety’. I was delighted to join our partners – in education, health and Merseyside Police – as we pledged to use this renowned, evidence-based way of working with children and families.
‘Signs of Safety’ is an internationally-recognised model, which focuses on building up a strong bond and partnership with parents and children. It has already been successfully rolled out in ten Councils in the UK and will transform children’s services in Liverpool. There are real benefits from embracing this approach – it should dramatically improve outcomes, drive down the demand on services and strengthen the quality of practice.
Liverpool has one of the highest levels of children in care in the UK and demand has only escalated in recent years. Set against the backdrop of our city constantly battling to provide services while ravaged by corrosive cuts, we will do all we can to protect the most vulnerable groups in our society. Our vision is that this investment in social care, and better planning will result in a seismic change to benefit thousands of families across the city.
Investing in our children and young people is a key agenda for us in the Inclusive Growth Plan, and one of our priorities is putting the voice of children at the centre of all that we do. This is exactly what this new approach does, moving away from a culture of targets and compliance to giving families the power to find their own solutions where possible.
This solution-focused approach recognises that all families – despite their challenges – have real strengths which we can support and develop. Children play a central role in every family and should be just as important in this process, so we will give them the opportunity to tell their own story. Families are far more likely to engage when they have a clear understanding of the cause for concern, so clear and simple language is a key feature of our approach.
Through fostering partnerships and providing a consistent service across all partners, we can work together to reduce re-referrals into social care and ensure more children remain in loving family homes.