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Whilst we do see ourselves as one big team – within that we have smaller sub teams who work very closely together and the support we have for each other is a huge part of who we are and helps us do what we do. We do try to foster a good team spirit here and this is reflected in people choosing to undertake activities together outside of work too.
We are embracing a systemic approach to working with families across the service, which is flexible and evidence-based. This enables us to think about relationships within families and how these impact on the child and also allows us to reflect on the relationships that we build with families and each other as professionals. Systemic approaches help us as practitioners to use consultation and supervision to keep in mind the part we play solving problems or reflecting on what we might need to do differently to effect change.
A core principle of systemic working is that the relationship between the social worker and the child and family are the key in co-creating change. Systemic social work practice builds on well-established social work theories and introduces ideas grown from systemic psychotherapy and family therapy with a focus on patterns of communication within family relationships. Our systemic social work approach generates and opens multiple views, hypotheses, options and pathways in working with families and children (and each other), whilst understanding that promoting lasting change in relationships sits simultaneously with managing risk and actively promoting a child's safety.
The Blackburn with Darwen systemic approach encourages our practitioners to work on the basis that problems are embedded in relationships and not just assigned to an individual child or parent. In our work with families to co-create sustained change, in a risk context, certain systemic tools and concepts can be helpful; safe uncertainty, signs of safety, understanding patterns, domains of action, first and second order change, relational responsibility and relationship to help.