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Social Care Solutions is...Respect

I was recently at a BBQ with a range of friends and family where the discussion moved to current political agendas in our country. There were some around the table who were very comfortable in stating their views, appearing unperturbed by the reactions of others at the table, some spoke of not being sure of their view and there were others who shifted their line of sight elsewhere or distracted themselves checking on the kids to avoid feeling forced to discuss their view; perhaps feeling their view would not be respected. In my experience, these types of social gatherings and inevitable movement to individuals’ perspectives on life can often create a feeling of discomfort if there is not a sense of feeling safe to share one’s view.

Over years of working with foster and kinship carers and the young people they care for, I have come to understand that often safety and respect go hand in hand. If one does not feel safe to share their honest point of view, or in many cases share what has happened to them, it is likely because they do not feel respected, as a carer, as a young person, as a colleague…..as a human. It is an imperative and often innate skill to demonstrate respect and ensure those around us “feel” respected.

One recent example comes to mind in the work Social Care Solutions does in developing bespoke, tailored training for organisations, based on the needs of their teams; and this particular training related to how we can better respect those we work with and care for as individuals. Feedback and reflections from this training highlighted comments such as “The importance of the language we use”, “Just because we disagree does not mean we should be disrespectful”, “We all have differences. We just need to be present and listen to learn”; powerful considerations of respect in the work we do.

Social Care Solutions lives and breathes its values and RESPECT is demonstrated daily in how we conduct our carer assessments, how we present and develop our training, how we engage with families who are working with the department to keep their children safe and how we work alongside each other and our client companies. This is done by ensuring all young people’s voices are heard, listened to and acted upon; by supporting carers to understand the assessment process and acknowledging the privilege we have in learning about their story; by being transparent in our interactions with all, sharing our worries as they come about and suggesting ways to safely mitigate these; by truly listening to the worries and challenges of the parents we work alongside; and by engaging in robust discussions with our client companies in a way where all parties are safe to share their views and feel respected for this.

If you were to ask anyone who is part of the Social Care Solutions team whether they felt respected as a team member, I have an abundance of confidence they would each say “yes”. Respected for their professional views, respected for their ability to critically think about the challenging work we do, respected for the individual skills and experiences they bring to the team and most importantly, in my view, respected for who they are as a human and all roles they play in life. Feeling respected, feeling safe, is the backbone of positive outcomes in child protection and is why RESPECT is a core value of the work Social Care Solutions do.

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