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Why Signs of Safety?


“I haven't felt there have been doors closed, every experience I ever had before with professionals made me feel like I had been talked about before I walked in the room. I haven't like that through this whole process. I love the fact that no decisions have been made without me being included, things have been run past me and my family first...I haven't had any surprise letter because I have always known what is happening next, I have been listened to. Normally people think that Social Services would be the last people you would ask for help, but my whole opinion of that has changed.” Cornwall’s Children’s Early Help, Psychology and Social Care Services are making a major investment in training front line staff to deliver evidence-based interventions to improve outcomes for children.

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Our mission is to help and protect the most vulnerable children and young people living in Cornwall from significant harm, to support the educational inclusion of those children and to close the gap in outcomes between them and their peers. The focus of our work is on putting the child’s lived experience at the heart of assessments and plans so that their views and feelings are clearly understood, taken into account and represented,irrespective of the child’s age, developmental stage and method of communication.

We have introduced Signs of Safety as our core, multi-agency approach to working with families and managing risk where children are in need of help and protection. Signs of Safety provides an evidence-based approach to assessment, planning, intervention and review that is based on a genuine partnership with children and families, one in which practitioners balance needs and risks with family strengths. 

Alongside Signs of Safety training, our core curriculum for front line staff focuses on developing professional expertise for purposeful direct work with children to enable change. Training includes Motivational Interviewing and “In My Shoes”communication training. 

“I feel that the Signs of Safety approach helped me to feel that I was respected as a person and as a mother. I really liked always being asked first what my worries were in meetings, this helped me to get across to professionals that as a mother I was also worried about my own situation and children. I was also always being asked first what was going well for us and this made me feel that I was being seen as having strengths and not just seen as having issues. I like the way that myself and my family were asked, what our plan was to change things and keep my children safe.”