It’s a complex and serious topic and one that is quite close to our hearts. As foster carers with Edinburgh Council we were delighted to be asked to contribute to a suite of materials designed to help people do “contact” well.
When a child is taken into care, often contact with their family will be arranged as a way of helping children stay in touch with parents or other family members. It is often, as you can imagine, an emotionally challenging and artificial situation, with a meeting between parents and children taking place away from the home and often supervised by a social worker or social work assistant.
So, the new materials are designed to help.
We helped to script a DVD which social workers can use with parents to help them understand the purpose of Contact, how it will work and what they might expect.
We drafted notes to go with the DVD to help social workers use the DVD effectively.
We edited the document that contains comprehensive guidance for professionals working in this sector.
“We were very happy to get Hilary on board to edit the policy document and contribute to the other materials. She re-structured the document to make it more user friendly and it has since been shortlisted for an award. I would highly recommend Hilary for her expertise, professionalism and approachability.”
The set of materials was launched recently at an event at the City Chambers. A moving aspect of this gathering was watching the DVD, and seeing in the audience the parents who featured in the film – willing to share their own experience of their children being taken into care and the support they had received as they worked towards getting their children home again.
And then we were delighted to hear that the suite of materials had won an award. Keeping in Touch was recognised in the category “Forward Thinking” in the 2014 City of Edinburgh Council Staff Awards.
The next stage in this work was to develop training materials to use internally with a wide range of staff, helping them to prepare for their role in relation to contact. Cygnus Extra was able to contribute to the development of these training materials too, helping social workers to shape the content of the course.