Implementing Signs of SafetyOct 01 2014

Implementing Signs of Safety
What it Takes
Leadership shared throughout the
• Leaders as learners; a different perspective.
• This is all about the parallel process. If we
want workers to truly engage families, helping
them to think their way into and through their
own problems toward solutions that they
own, this must be modeled throughout the
organization, beginning with the top leader.
Create and empower an
implementation team/committee.
• The implementation team should include
representatives from throughout the
organization as well as key stakeholders,
including parent and youth representation.
• The implementation team measures progress
along the journey of implementation, but also
identifies challenges/barriers and presents
proposed solutions to those with the power to
resolve them.
Contextual Factors for Practice
• 1.) Does the agency have core family-centered
values and principles? How do you know?
• Learning organizations continuously and
objectively assess alignment of actual practice
with the organizations core values and
• One of the best ways to do this is by asking
service recipients, families and youth.
Contextual Factors for Practice , cont..
• 2.) Is the agency’s overall practice and policy
framework aligned with those core values and
principles or are there contradictions or conflict
• 3.) Are adequate administrative supports in place
for the practice framework and core values and
principles? For example, training, coaching,
information system and orientation of key
partners, e.g., Judges, agency attorneys, GAL’s.
The critical role of supervisors.
• Effective supervision means asking solutionfocused questions, vs. prescribing solutions.
Keep asking questions and resist the urge to
give answers.
• Organizations must recognize the challenge of
changing the approach to supervision and
support supervisors in this change process.
• Use existing supervisor forums and create new
ones to develop a team case practice culture.
Supervisors and practitioners as
practice leaders.
• Practice leaders are “early adopters” who
develop an in-depth understanding of the
approach and lead others along the learning
• Practice leaders use the Signs of Safety map to
help others think their way into and through
their cases.
• Group/team processes offer the best learning
Building a team case practice culture.
• Supervisors/practice leaders use the map to
consult on a case brought forward by a team
• Requires careful management of group
dynamics and focuses the process on the
worker in question.
• Leader involves other team members by
pausing and asking for input, such as next best
question or danger statement wording.
Appreciative Inquiry (AI)
• “Competency is quiet; it tends to be overlooked
in the noise and clatter of problems” (William
Madsen, 2007)
• AI "advocates collective inquiry into the best of
what is, in order to imagine what could be,
followed by collective design of a desired future
state that is compelling and thus, does not
require the use of incentives, coercion or
persuasion for planned change to occur.“ (Bushe
Creating a culture of appreciative
• Managers, supervisors and practice leaders learn
the process of appreciative inquiry and look for
opportunities, i.e., good pieces of work.
• By “unpacking” the details of what went into a
good piece of work the individual, team and
organization can learn about and replicate
• Best done in front of or with teams or small
Appreciative inquiry, cont..
• The child welfare field has focused on the
problem solving model for so long, it becomes
challenging to shift the focus on what went well.
• Like any change or new skill using appreciative
inquiry takes regular practice and support of
• “Practice gems” gleaned from appreciative
inquiry can be documented and shared
throughout the whole organization through email
Using the three-columned map to
track and drive implementation
• An effective strategic planning tool.
• Used regularly with the implementation team,
as well as senior management team.
• Also an effective CQI framework.
• Remember that implementation is a journey
and like any journey, we need to pay attention
to our map.