Our Strengths-based Approach to Practice

Since October 2019 the Nottinghamshire Children and Families Department has been developing and embedding a strengths-based approach to working with each other, children, young people and families, and our partner agencies.  

Our approach aligns with the Nottinghamshire Plan and Nottinghamshire Way. The Nottinghamshire Plan sets out the council's ten year vision. The Nottinghamshire Way is the Council’s approach intended to create and sustain a positive and inclusive culture that reflects all of our values and behaviours. 

Our vision is for Nottinghamshire to be the best place for children and young people to grow up. Our ambition is for every child, young person and their family to feel healthy, happy, safe and stable, and access support from a community, and professional network close to home when needed. We want them to learn and achieve, love themselves and feel loved by others, and live fulfilled lives.  

We want to be creative, ambitious and hope-filled practitioners, who hold high aspirations for ourselves and Nottinghamshire children, young people and families. We are committed to providing the support needed to achieve high quality practice in our work. We strive to continually learn from each other and from the experiences of children, young people and families as we develop and review our services, and seek to recognise, share and celebrate practice excellence. 

  1. Focusing on people’s strengths, capabilities, motivations, and resources
  2. Believing all individuals have the capacity to grow, learn and change
  3. Recognising that people know their own lives and journeys better than anybody else
  4. Acknowledging that problems are problems, and that they do not define people
  5. Helping build safe and nurturing relationships and effective support systems
  6. Listening to the voices of children, young people, parents, carers, and enabling these to influence and shape our services
  7. Understanding that language and words are important and change the way we perceive ourselves and others
  8. Being fair and respectful, recognising and supporting equality, diversity, and inclusion
  9. Holding compassion, empathy, and care towards ourselves, each other, children, and families
  10. Seeking to understand how systems and the wider world effect people
  11. Working effectively with partners to provide holistic and multi-agency support
  12. Having a timely response to risk and harm; promoting safety and stability for children, young people, families, and staff.

Relationship-based practice
Relationship-based practice recognises that everyone has the potential for change, and together people can find solutions that are sustainable. It seeks to develop strong connections, where everyone can understand and trust each other, creating a support system that is understanding and compassionate. Humans are multifaceted, and this requires flexibility and reflectivity in navigating the complex dynamics of relationships with staff, children, young people and families.

Restorative practice
Restorative practice helps to build and maintain positive, healthy relationships, resolve difficulties and repair harm where there has been conflict. It aims to create an ethos of respect, inclusion, cooperation, accountability, and responsibility. Restorative practices enable those who work with children and families to focus on building relationships that create and inspire positive change. Creating change sometimes requires challenge as well as support.

Systemic approaches
Systemic approaches believe that difficulties or challenges, as well as strengths and opportunities, are located within relationships rather than within individuals. They believe that everyone can achieve change, through working together with a whole family or network to do things differently and interrupt patterns that have led to difficulties before.

Fair process
Fair process aims to empower, through authentic and inclusive engagement, inviting contributions from everyone who will be impacted. It addresses exclusion and oppression, promotes transparency around decision-making and expectations, with everyone involved having a shared understanding about why decisions are made.

Social pedagogy
Social pedagogy is a value-based ideology which promotes the importance of having meaningful connections through authentic relationships that enable us to recognise our own and others’ potential, their qualities, strengths, and interests, and to create learning situations in which people can experience their resourcefulness and develop their abilities. Each person deserves to be treated with human dignity and possesses unique inner resources and potential, which others can help to unfold. It aims to holistically support people’s well-being, learning and social inclusion.

Our tree describes Our Nottinghamshire Strengths-Based Approach and values:

our nottinghamshire strengths-based approach tree with the values for the children and families service

We will know we are embedding strengths-based approaches and that these are having a positive, impact, when our shared values are demonstrated, recognised and celebrated in all of the work that we do. 

Building strong relationships
We strive to become more trauma-informed in our approach, building and nurturing strong relationships with each other, the children, young people and families we support, and our partner organisations. We seek to develop connections where we can understand and trust each other, creating systems and services that are filled with love, care and compassion.

Listening and learning
Children, young people and their parents and carers understand their own journeys better than anybody else. They have a right to be involved in decisions that affect their lives.

We are committed to working restoratively with children and families so that their voices are listened to and valued, they can influence, and their views are at the heart of our decisions and actions. The views and ideas of all practitioners are also valued and respected creating more holistic, inclusive and diverse systems and services.

Being fair and respectful
Our strengths-based approach and practice is underpinned by our core values of fairness and respect and this is reflected in the language that we use and the way that we treat people with love and kindness.

Children, young people and families, as well as staff and our partners, should experience fair processes through everyone being fully engaged and involved in plans and decisions that affect them. They should also have a shared understanding of why decisions are made, and that everyone being supported is to understand what is expected of them in the future. Our decisions should be balanced, well reasoned, free of discrimination and shame.

We do all of this with children and families at the heart
We hold hope and high aspirations for the children, young people and families we support. We want Nottinghamshire to be the best place for them to live and grow up. We put children and families at the heart of all we do and strive to support them to grow and flourish.

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