Signs of Safety

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

NR  — Not able to be Rated
NR  — Not able to be Rated
NR  — Not able to be Rated
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About This Program

Target Population: Children and families where there has been suspected or substantiated child abuse or neglect

For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18

Brief Description

The Signs of Safety approach is a relationship-grounded, safety-organized child protection framework designed to help families build real safety for children by allowing those families to demonstrate their strengths as protection over time. This strengths-based and safety-organized approach to child protection work requires partnership and collaboration with the child and family. It expands the investigation of risk to encompass strengths and signs of safety that can be built upon to stabilize and strengthen the child’s and family’s situation. Central to this approach is meaningful family engagement and, in particular, capturing the voice of the child. A format for undertaking comprehensive risk assessment - assessing for 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 and to assist professionals at all stages of the child protection process.

Program Goals:

The goals of Signs of Safety are:

  • Reduce rates of child abuse
  • Reduce the rates of repeat maltreatment
  • Reduce family disruptions and the number of foster care placements
  • Increase children and family engagement and direct participation in child protection work and decision-making
  • Increase child welfare practitioners job satisfaction and worker retention
  • Increase practitioner practice depth (i.e., practitioner’s capacity to think rigorously, make judgments transparently and hold them with humility, act compassionately and bring all others involved in the matter, lay and professional, with them on this complex journey) and to grow child protection systems and structures that grow such practitioners
  • Create a shared language risk assessment and practice framework and culture across all child protection responses both statutory and non-statutory, government and non-government, that is also understandable and accessible to families and children, since good outcomes for vulnerable children above all depend on good working relationships between families and professionals and between professionals themselves

Contact Information

Dr. Andrew Turnell, PhD, MA, BSWk
Agency/Affiliation: Resolutions Consultancy
Bill Schulenberg, MA, LMFT
Agency/Affiliation: Connected Families
Phone: (952) 448-3625
Fax: (952) 361-4298

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2013

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: February 2012

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: February 2012