Child protection workers from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and across the globe came together to reflect, listen and learn at the recent Signs of Safety Gathering hosted by the Department of Communities (Communities).
The biennial conference ran from 19 – 21 February, focusing on child protection practices and case studies using the Signs of Safety framework. This year’s theme, ‘People. Place. Home – Towards a Common Purpose’, reflected the experience of staff coming together and working differently since Communities was established in 2017.
Image: (L-R) Michelle Andrews, Acting Director General, Communities; Andrew Geddes, Regional Executive Director South; Glenn Mace, Executive Director Statewide Services and South East Metro, Communities; Astrid Kalders, Executive Director, Policy and Service Design.
The framework was co-created by two Western Australian practitioners (Turnell and Edwards) more than 30 years ago, now supporting around 200 agencies in 16 countries. It informs child protection practices, inspires collaboration with families and ensures that children are at the heart of planning and decision making.
Simone McGurk, Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services opened the event, which also featured speeches from Acting Director General, Michelle Andrews, and presentations from child protection workers, trainers and consultants from the USA, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, Netherlands and Canada.
Presenters also spanned the breadth of Communities’ regional and metropolitan district offices. Some families collaborated, attended or presented at the Gathering, sharing their experiences and perspective on how staff and families can work together to build safety for children and stability for families.
Image: Signs of Safety Gathering 2019 presenters and attendees outside on the lawn at Technology Park, Perth.