The recently published Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland have received a rapturous welcome – but what will they look like in practice? We’ve been reaching out to services and local authorities to help them prepare for the introduction of the Standards, with tailored workshops. Angelene Moan of East Ayrshire Council shares how her team worked with CYCJ to take the Standards on board, in order to implement them successfully with young people.
Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and respecting their rights is paramount in supporting children and young people through their experience of secure care; not only during their stay in secure care but also prior to and aftercare. With the recent publication of Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland, I wanted to share our experience within East Ayrshire in striving to implement these effectively within practice and across agencies in order to support our young people in the best way possible.
Secure Care Workshop
To help prepare for the introduction of the Standards, we asked our CYCJ colleagues to host a Secure Care Workshop within East Ayrshire. This was well received by a range of partner agencies within East Ayrshire, including Children’s Panel Members, Housing, Voluntary Services, Social Work, Education, Health and Police. Also in attendance were care experienced young people who helped provide insight into what improvements need to be made to best support our young people.
The discussion generated within this workshop was invaluable. Debbie Nolan (CYCJ) provided feedback sheets which allowed groups to discuss particular Standards and highlight what we are doing well in relation to these, and what areas we need to improve upon.
Interestingly, some of the main feedback we received from this workshop was that practitioners/agencies who had limited experience of secure care recognised that they play a vital role around secure care and the importance of early and effective intervention. Reviewing the Standards allowed practitioners and individuals to recognise that we all play a role in supporting young people prior to secure care, and the importance of looking at creative ways to reduce the likelihood of a child/young person experiencing secure care.
The main themes from the feedback we received was the importance of including children/young people and their families into all discussion and decision making – ensuring that their views are being heard and respected. Concerns around mental health was also highlighted, along with the importance of children and young people being able to access supports for this. The workshop also identified a need for further multi-agency training/advice around trauma informed practice, preventative strategies and alternatives to secure care. Suggestion was made to reviewing case studies in relation to experiences of secure care in order to develop understanding, knowledge and practice to help support our young people.
This half-day workshop also allowed us to recognise our strengths and the positive supports currently in place for children and young people. This was in relation to undertaking an effective multi-agency approach, regular Team around the Child Meetings/LAAC Reviews, development and implementation of Whole System Approach, Advocacy Supports, building positive relationships with children and young people and engaging young people in community based supports/diversionary activities.
Our initial plan within East Ayrshire is to form a short-life working group with a selection of participants who attended the Secure Care Workshop. We intend to form a multi-agency discussion, using the feedback we received to identify what we need to put in place to ensure that the Standards are being implemented effectively and that our children/young people are being fully supported and involved in the process.
The developments and ideas generated through this working group will allow us to make changes and improvements within our service to ensure that our practitioners and colleagues can incorporate and implement the Standards within their work practice.
On behalf of East Ayrshire I would like to thank Debbie Nolan and CYCJ for taking the time to involve us in the workshop on the secure care standards and in giving us the opportunity to explore current thinking and practice and identify gaps. The experience was very informative, thought provoking and generated positive discussion. I feel it has helped enhance our knowledge around the role we have in supporting children and young people through secure care and has created more passion and enthusiasm within our staff and colleagues for being creative and working together to promote early intervention, as well as improve the experiences of our children and young people.