"Be the wind under their wings"

Andrew Turnell

Connect with Each other

About Signs of Safety

The purpose of Signs of Safety:

To enable child protection agencies to deliver all their services with a rigorous focus on child safety and wellbeing, and to set up their practice, policy, procedures and organisation so that the practitioners can do everything possible to put the parents, children and everyone naturally connected to the children at the centre of the assessment and decision-making.
To give the family every opportunity to come up with and apply their solutions before the professionals offer or impose theirs.
Full involvement of family and network is always pursued, whether the child lives within or outside their family and kin, so that everything is done to sustain the child’s lifelong connection with their family, culture and community of origin throughout children’s services involvement.

Signs of Safety is an approach to work together with everyone around vulnerable at-risk children. That means the professionals that are involved, the child, the parents and the natural network around the family.

It's an approach which offers a series of tools to do the work together in building meaningful safety and belonging for the children.

The Signs of Safety approach was developed trough the 1990s in Western Australia. It was created by AndrewTurnell and Steve Edwards, in collaboration with over 150 West Australian child protection workers.

In 2010 I first went to a training with Andrew Turnell. It that time I was working in vzw Sporen together with families and I recognized what I honoured and wanted to do in my work. Who I wanted to be as a social worker. From that time on, I was passionate about understanding the approach and using the tools in my day to day work. I was also very inspired by the fact that this is an "ongoing approach" , which means that is in a constant evolution and it demands a constant reflection and learning to use this in your work.

That's why I wanted to become a Signs of Safety trainer. To learn alongside families and practitioners world wide and keep on evolving my practice.

Today the approach is now utilised  across North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia and Japan. Today a new home is found for Signs of Safety in Elia. Elia is an organisation with the expertise of an international community which is aiming to help child protection agencies to put families and children at the centre of the work by offering a whole-system approach.

In 2015 the agency of child welfare in Flanders decided to implement the Signs of Safety approach. And the past 4 years I was able to be part of this change while working together with my colleagues of the MDO and the consulenten and families in Antwerp. As a trainer my day to day practice helped me to better understand and learn together with everyone in how we can all live and lead this change together.

As a signs of Safety trainer I find it very important to stay grounded in the practice and learn alongside parents and their family, networks , children and the workers.

"It's a journey", and we learn together along the way.

These drawings I use a lot in my work with the families and the workers to get a shared understanding about where we want to go and how.

You find more inspiration here (link naar sharing possibilities )