Workshop: Leeds Family Valued – Balancing protecting children with support for families
Tuesday 14 September 2021
Theme: Balancing protecting children with support for families
As a part of a week-long Strengthening Families, Protecting Children event that took place in September 2021, Leeds Family Valued lead and facilitated an online. An overview of the workshop and the key messages and themes are explored below.
- Steve Walker, Director of Strengthening Families, Protecting Children Improvement Programme at Leeds City Council Leeds, opened the workshop with a presentation that highlighted the importance of relationships and relational practice at the heart of Family Valued.
- A key theme was the importance of understanding the context and history of children, young people and their families as part of growing mutual trust and respect.
- There was a particular focus on doing WITH the family, rather than TO or FOR, and involving families in discussions and decision-making at every stage. Coproduction like this empowers families and builds trust between families and social workers.
- Insights developed through this workshop fall under three themes, which are explored in further detail on the next slide: Reframing the way we think about families; Talking the talk versus walking the walk; and Ways of working and/versus models of practice.
Key themes from local authority participant feedback
Reframing the way we look at and think about families
- Family Valued encourages frontline staff to spend time to getting to know and understand families and their unique context.
- Understanding the value of love in families is helping social workers to reconsiders what ‘good enough’ parenting looks like.
- Family Valued has encouraged social care professionals to reframe social worker interactions with families as a two -way relationship, based on respect.
- Many families are struggling with social issues such as poverty, which can have a huge impact on other areas of family life such as health, employment, mental health and education.
- Family Valued is changing the language used to talk about families, how we talk to families and how we report families’ progress.
Talking the talk versus walking the walk
- Implementing Family Valued challenges practitioners to bring the values of Family Valued into every aspect of their practice.
- Leaders have a role in creating permissions, modelling values and creating enabling conditions to empower practitioners to make the best choice for families.
- The model has encouraged greater alignment in session management, which encourages accountability. Social workers feel that the restorative approach is permeating all levels of the organisation, making it a way of being.
- Patience is required to allow time to implement the model and embed new practice; authorities need to be committed to the long haul.
Ways of working and/versus models of practice
- Relational and restorative practice underpins every aspect of Family Valued.
- This approach supports adaptation in different local contexts, giving rise to nuances. It supports practitioners to consider what matters to the families and children in their local context.
- Adopting authorities have had to assess the relationship between relational practice and pre -existing models of practice (e.g. Signs of Safety).
- From a workforce perspective, it is important to ensure time is given to social workers to ‘retrain’ how they see and work with families.
- Over the years there have been lots of ‘new ways’ of doing things, so communication and consistency that Family Valued is the approach is key.
Total number of attendees: 62
Fantastic workshop/session to share information and to learn what’s happening across the other LA’s.
A really helpful programme to learn from other LA’s and to travel the journey together.
It was all really useful.