How is Hampshire County Council improving the lives of children in care?

Using a strengths-based model, Hampshire County Council are working to improve the lives of children with complex needs in care.

The approach is centred around understanding boundaries and respect – areas which can often need attention when it comes to working with vulnerable children.

Emma Hibberd, lead manager for Hampshire County Council residential care, said:

“I came into this job to have really close contact with children and make things change – it was a no-brainer.

“[The children] may come in with really complex needs, and a lack of respect for any adults because they’ve not had any boundaries or not received the right level of love and attention,” she adds. “A lot of the children in our homes are there because of neglect.”

Hampshire County Council is currently looking to recruit more staff with ‘creativity, values and resilience’ to help meet the needs of the children in care.

Hibberd emphasises how important creativity is to driving the strategy forward: “All the children in my care now, I know what they like, their hobbies and interests.

“Last week, I spent three hours writing a rap with a child. It was a great way to end my week.”

What is a strengths-based practice?

Davina Malkin, district manager for Havantis explains that the focus should be on having a clear end goal in mind – it’s not just about moving the children into residential care.

“The care plan needs to outline what the longer-term plan is, too. For example, considering whether the child can live in a foster home, move into supported accommodation after they turn 16, or return to live with their families,” she adds.

Each member of staff will be expected to help bring out each child’s strengths, rather than focus on their issues.

For this to work, Emma explains, the social workers they hire have strong values and a passion to make a difference.

“You can teach workers how to meet the day to day needs of the children, but they need to have the compassion and drive to better the outcomes of the children,” she explains.

Are you looking to make a difference in children’s social care? Get in touch with our dedicated team today on 0203 8929 340 to find out more about our current vacancies.

carlette Isaac

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