SIGNS OF SAFETY
The Signs of Safety is an innovative strengths-based, safety-organised approach to child protection casework. The model of its approach was created in Western Australia by Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards, who worked with over 150 front-line statutory practitioners and based it on what those practitioners know works well with difficult cases. The Signs of Safety approach has attracted international attention and is being used in jurisdictions in North America, Europe and Australia.
The Signs of Safety Approach to Child Protection Casework
The Signs of Safety approach to child protection casework was developed through the 1990s in Western Australia. It was created by Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards, in collaboration with over 150 West Australian child protection workers (CPWs), and is now utilised in jurisdictions in the USA, Canada, the UK, Sweden, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Japan. The approach focuses on the question “How can the worker build partnerships with parents and children in situations of suspected or substantiated child abuse and still deal rigorously with the maltreatment issues?”
This strengths-based and safety-focused approach to child protection work is grounded in partnership and collaboration. It expands the investigation of risk to encompass strengths and Signs of Safety that can be built upon to stabilise and strengthen a child’s and family’s situation. A format for undertaking comprehensive risk assessment — assessing both danger and strengths/safety — is incorporated within the one-page Signs of Safety assessment protocol. (This form is the only formal protocol used in the model). The approach is designed to be used from commencement through to case closure in order to assist professionals at all stages of the child protection process, whether they be in statutory, hospital, residential or treatment settings.
Notes on Signs of Safety (PDF)
Practice Diagram Depth (PDF)