Awareness, Case Studies, Expert Insights

‘I needed an early warning system’ – supporting foster families and young people through digital safety mechanisms

2 min read

One of the hardest things to deal with when I was a frontline social worker was the breakdown of the relationship between a young person and the foster family who were caring for them.  I would have loved to have something like Mind Of My Own’s safety link to help prevent this.

Sometimes breakdowns were announced by a  young person running away or loudly declaring “I’m not going back there”.  Other times the announcement came from a foster parent – “We can’t do it any more”, “You’ll have to find somewhere else”.  Either way, the announcement signposted broken hopes and dreams for all involved, and the likelihood the young person might have to start rebuilding life all over again in a new family.

There’s limited space in the bottle

Most of us bottle our feelings from time to time.  Young people wouldn’t speak up because they didn’t know how, or because they were hoping things would get better.  Or they would try to say things but feel like they weren’t heard.  The problem is, there is a limit to how many feelings our bottles can hold.  Eventually the bottle explodes.

I needed an early warning system

There were times when I could see the warning signs and work to turn things around.  Other times the announcement seemed to come out of the blue.  Often accompanied by a broken window, a hole in the wall, or just a lot of yelling and swearing.

Prior to these events, I was meeting regularly with the young people and checking in about how things were going.  Generally, the answer was “fine”.  I wished there was a better way to identify warning signs early.

Mind Of My Own & The Safety Link

“I’m more honest using the app, it is easier to say what I actually mean.  Sometimes It’s too hard to say the things out loud that I say on there.”  – Young person from Salford

Young people use Mind Of My Own to let their support people know when things aren’t ok, when they are mad about something and when things need to change.  It truly is an early warning system.

In addition, the safety link provides an additional flag to workers when young people are indicating that they are unhappy where they are living, scared or unsafe.  This means workers can respond quickly to ensure safety, and address issues that could otherwise lead to a breakdown in relationship.

It really is a game-changer.