Building Better Futures – Developing social work practice

Back L-R: Donna Dugan (SEHSCT ) ; Dr Una Lernihan (HSCB) ; Prof Stan Houston (QUB/Trinity) ; Catherine Cooke (NHSCT) ; Julie McGrath (SHSCT) Front L-R: Dr Lorna Montgomery (QUB) ; Helen Dunn (HSCB) ; Sinead Keown (BHSCT) ; Dr Mandi MacDonald (QUB) ; Dairine Mooney (WHSCT)

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) is committed to developing social work practice and finding new ways of working with families and children to improve outcomes for them.

The Building Better Futures (BBF) project, supported through workstream 3 of the Early Intervention Transformation Programme (EITP) and changed managed by Helen Dunn (CYPSP),  is having a significant impact on practice and helping to transform the way in which social services in family and child care is delivered across Northern Ireland.

Parenting can bring many challenges. When placed in the context of austerity and welfare changes it leaves many families struggling to cope.

Developing relationships with parents, appreciating the context in which they live and understanding the needs of children is crucial in this work. That is why the HSCB is so keen to support and develop good social work practice.

Developing a range of tools for professionals is a key element of the Building Better Futures project.

A key part of this initiative has been the partnership between academic colleagues, practitioners at the frontline and the implementation provided by HSCB.

Helen Dunn opened the recent Building Better Futures Seminar and has led on the BBF framework and championed the model for over 4 years with it being recognised as a “brilliant piece of transformation work with massive potential”.

Also speaking at the seminar, Director of Social Care and Children, Marie Roulston, commended colleagues Prof Stan Houston, Dr Lorna Montgomery and Dr Mandi MacDonald, as well as Helen Dunn and the seminar practitioners from each of the Trusts, for all they have accomplished in this work.

That work has produced a manual, a training resource, a short film an side memoire and an evaluation and there are plans to progress this further.

Speaking at the seminar, Jackie McIlroy (Deputy Chief Social Worker) stressed the importance of early intervention stating; “Today’s event is about recognising the hard work and achievements of the Building Better Futures project, while also recognising that we all have a role in supporting children and young people at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The HSCB is committed to the ongoing delivery of Building Better Futures and to working closely with Trusts to continue to ensure its implementation over the coming years.