Welcome to our blog dyad – a two hander from Jill Thorburn about the ways young children can have a voice with Mind Of My Own.
At Mind Of My Own we are firm believers that young children are not hard to reach: we simply need to adapt our practice to be able to hear them clearly. Express is being well used to do just that which is why it is a game changer in child protection work.
Before Mind Of My Own
As a child protection manager I would send social workers to referred cases to carry out assessment. If there were older children involved I’d get some information about their views but what about the three year old? If I was lucky I would be presented with a picture the child had drawn and some observations about how they ‘appeared to be’ in relation to their dress, cleanliness and how they related to people around them and their environment.
Yet children are great at understanding the risk they live in. How would you like to know what that three year old thought of their home situation and other aspects of their lives?
Now you can
Designed and co-produced for and with young children the Express app gives us a clear understanding of the child’s lived experience. It allows you to see into all the corners of that child’s world by gathering information about their home life, their education, their health. While they think they are playing a game you are gathering detailed information about their views of all aspects of their life. You come away with a very clear picture of who that child is.
The child can tell you all about what they think; not third party information from grown ups around them but their own views. You will discover how they would like you to communicate with them, who their trusted adults are, where they feel safe and even what they eat for breakfast – all important components of your assessment.
One page profile
If you complete all parts of Express with a young child you will have a lovely one page profile for them which is so useful in court work, assessment, planning and making sure you provide personalised support and understand the child’s perspective. This can greatly benefit placement planning and matching for fostering and adoption. Even simple things like having the child’s favourite meal on the table at their first visit can make such a big difference and shows the child’s views have been taken into account and are important to you and their new carers.
I hope this fired you up to start using Express with much younger children – go straight to the second blog to find out more.