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Strengths-based social care for children, young people and their families

SCIE Highlights No 5 – September 2018

A strengths-based approach (SBA) to social care focuses on identifying the strengths, or assets, as well as the needs and difficulties of children, young people and families. This briefing describes how SBAs work and assesses their effectiveness. The values and principles that inform this approach are not new, but there has been a rapidly growing interest over the last five years in such approaches. These approaches are also about co-production – people providing care working in equal partnership with those who need it to design and deliver services.

Adults’, children’s and young people’s family care needs are undergoing a rapid adoption of strengths-based (sometimes called asset-based) thinking and practice. In adult social care, strengths-based conversations are replacing traditional needsbased assessments and there is also the emergence, in some areas, of ambitious plans for asset-based approaches across all local public services. There is a growing interest in, and adoption of, SBAs in children and young people and family settings, given that a clear strengths-based practice framework is now regarded as one of the key features of successful innovations in the sector.

This briefing is based on research conducted during the spring of 2018 by SCIE, a seminar led by SCIE, Leeds City Council and Shared Lives Plus, and a seminar on strengths-based social care for children and adults in Leeds during January.