In October 2016, the First Minister made a commitment that Scotland would “come together and love its most vulnerable children to give them the childhood they deserve.” She announced an Independent Root and Branch Review of Care (“the Care Review”), driven by those with experience of care.

The Independent Care Review carefully listened, for over three years, to thousands (5,500) of infants, children, young people and families, many of whom did not feel loved, were not kept safe, were not respected, and were not supported to achieve their potential.

On 5th February 2020, Scotland listened to the Independent Care Review conclusions and all political parties in Scotland promised to implement them in full. Read The Promise here.

The Promise report is built on Five Foundations. These foundations must be at the heart of a reorganisation of how Scotland thinks, plans and prioritises for children and their families.

Children must be listened to and meaningfully and appropriately involved in decision-making about their care, with all those involved properly listening and responding to what children want and need. There must be a compassionate, caring, decision-making culture focussed on children and those they trust.

Where children are safe in their families and feel loved they must stay – and families must be given support together to nurture that love and overcome the difficulties which get in the way.

Where living with their family is not possible, children must stay with their brothers and sisters where safe to do so and belong to a loving home, staying there for as long as needed.

The children that Scotland cares for must be actively supported to develop relationships with people in the workforce and wider community, who in turn must be supported to listen and be compassionate in their decision-making and care.

Children, families and the workforce must be supported by a system that is there when it is needed. The scaffolding of help, support and accountability.

We are working with families on a journey to explore, discuss & understand what wellbeing means to them. We are using the 8 wellbeing indicators from the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) national practice framework, which are: Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible, Included (SHANARRI).

We are learning together with families what each of the wellbeing indicators mean to them from their own unique experiences. This will help us to understand our approaches to planning and support.

We will train our staff teams in using Person Centred planning approaches to complement our learning and ensure that families have a closer connection to the process from referral, through support, to strengthening. This work builds on the findings from our “Whole Family Approach” research where we found that there was a difference in understanding “Referring Problems” and “Family Challenges” and also builds on our “Full Circle” group work.

The Intended Outcomes of our SHANARRI Safari work are:

  •   Increased ability to actively engage young people in co-creating an understanding of wellbeing – what it means to them.
  •   Improving the quality of family plans by increasing the focus on meaningful discussion around pre-explored definitions of the wellbeing indicators.
  •   Improved engagement and meaningful participation from children and families in assessment of need.
  •   Improved alignment with rights-based practice. The project is rights-based by design and intrinsically increases awareness and understanding of the general principles of the UNCRC.
  •   Improved inter-agency relationships, communication and understanding of need via the reinforcement of a shared language regarding wellbeing.
  •   Improved outcomes for families and Circle’s ability to demonstrate this to all stakeholders.
  •   Improved reputation and profile of Circle as a creative and person-centred organisation which has participation at the heart of strengthening families.
  •   Provide a proactive programme which helps reinforce Scottish Government’s GIRFEC principles.
  •   Improve the mechanisms for families to participate in system change which increases Circle’s collaborative ability to be beneficiary led.
  •   Production of learning and development resources which will be shared with others in the sector, and the public, to improve practice, understanding, and awareness in relation to wellbeing.

Have a read of the: Theory of Change blog written by our Development Manager, Douglas Guest.