Signs of Safety® (https://www.signsofsafety.net/what-is-sofs/) is a strengths-based approach to child protection casework. It is a specific way of working with families that allows everyone to have a voice and work together to keep a child safe.
The Signs of Safety® method was originally created in Australia by Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards and is now a practice used by most child welfare agencies across the province of Ontario.
When using Signs of Safety® there are four domains continuously assessed: “What are we worried about? (harm, danger complicating factors)”, What is working well? (existing strengths and safety), “What needs to happen” (future safety), and Scaling (how confident is everyone with the plan for the child/how safe is the child?).
Signs of Safety® work is also rooted in partnership and collaboration. It is a practice that uses networks to support the ongoing safety of the child by ensuring that those closest or most important to the child and family know what the worries are and what each person can do to support the parent and/or child as well as decrease the unsafe things that are happening, even when the worries still exist.
Once a worry is identified, workers, parents and their networks develop a safety plan in hopes of reducing future risk or harm to the child. When a safety plan is developed, FCSLLG, parents and networks test monitor and assess the plan to ensure it is working. We check and adjust as needed until such time that everyone feels confident that the worries have been addressed and FCSLLG would end our service and the parents/caregivers and network would continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child.
The Signs of Safety® approach is a relationship-grounded, safety-organized approach to child protection practice, created by researching what works for professionals and families in building meaningful safety for vulnerable and at-risk children.