GIRFEC National Practice Model provides a framework for teachers, police, social work, doctors, etc. on how to protect children and their families.
This model aims to provide ‘a consistent way for an agency or organisation to construct a plan and take appropriate action to support children, young people and their families.’ It can be used in a single or multi-agency context, and does three things:
- Provides a framework to help understand the needs of the child or young person
- Involves children, young people and their families in information-gathering and action-planning.
- From an understanding of a child’s or young person’s needs, identifies the key concerns that need to be addressed.
How does it protect children?
GIRFEC is the national approach in Scotland to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people.
GIRFEC puts the rights and wellbeing of children and young people at the heart of the services that support them – such as early years services, schools, and the NHS. This ensures that, by offering the right help, at the right time, from the right people, everyone – including parents – is working together to improve outcomes for a child or young person..
The Scottish Government does a great job of explaining GIRFEC.
If you are concerned about a child and the effect alcohol is having on their life, you can find out about your local GIRFEC service here.
Observing and recording
There are eight ‘wellbeing indicators’ represented by the ‘wellbeing wheel’ and the acronym SHANARRI. These are the key areas in which it is recognised that children and young people should progress to do well in their lives now and in the future.
SHANARRI means that a child or young person is…
Recording information – for example, observations and events – under these eight indicators can help practitioners to identify concerns and priorities, structure information and put together a child’s plan.
Gathering information about children and young people
The Five Questions
Any practitioner who is concerned about a child or young person should ask five questions:
- What is getting in the way of this child or young person’s wellbeing?
- Do I have all the information I need to help this child or young person?
- What can I do now to help this child or young person?
- What can my agency do to help this child or young person?
- What additional help, if any, may be needed from others?
The process of gathering, structuring and analysing information about children and young people can be assisted by using two tools:
The My World Triangle
The My World Triangle is simply a tool to help children/young people and practitioners – including lead professionals and ‘named persons’ – to think about the whole world of the child or young person.
The My World Triangle can help practitioners to consider:
- The growth and development of a child or young person
- The child or young person’s needs in relation to the people looking after them
- How family, friends and the wider community impact on a child or young person
This tool is helpful in two ways:
- Encouraging children and young people to reflect on their lives
- Assisting practitioners in gathering information on areas of strength and concern within the child’s or young person’s world, looking at things like health, learning, family life and behaviour.
The Resilience Matrix
Resilience refers to the ability to adapt in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threat or stress – to be able to ‘bounce back.’ This quality can be particularly useful for children and young people in dealing with personal and family difficulties.
There are three building blocks of resilience (Groteberg, 1997):
- A secure base
What do these mean?
- A secure base
- people around me I trust and who love me no matter what
- people who set limits for me so I know when to stop before there is danger or trouble
- people who show me how to do things right by the way they do things
- people who want me to learn to do things on my own
- people who help me when I am sick, in danger, or need to learn
- a person other people can like and love
- a person who is happy to do nice things for others and able to show my concern
- a person who is respectful of myself and of others
- a person who is willing to be responsible for what I do
- a person who is sure that in the end things will be alright
- talk to other people about the things that frighten or bother me
- find ways to solve the problems I might face
- control myself when I feel like doing something that’s not right, or that’s dangerous
- figure out when it is a good time to talk to someone, or to take action
- find someone to help me when I need it
Organising information about children and young people
Agencies which work with children and young people and record information about them should organise this information in line with the GIRFEC National Practice Model.
A child’s plan
A child’s plan can be evolved by multiple agencies working together, and aims to improve a child’s wellbeing.
A plan should include, and record, the following
- the views of the child/young person and their parents/carers
- the child or young person’s needs
- actions to be taken to improve a child or young person’s circumstances, including timescales
- resources to be provided
- contingency plans
- how the plan will be reviewed
- Lead Professional arrangements
- any compulsory measures
The review process should ask:
- What has improved in the child or young person’s circumstances?
- What has got worse, if anything?
- Have the outcomes been achieved?
- What, if anything, needs to be changed in the plan?
- Can the plan be continued within the existing environment?
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