Reflective practice has been a cornerstone of the Effective Child Protection project from the outset. The Practice Mentor has used individual mentoring and reflective practice groups to develop the capacity of workers to put some of the principles of Effective Child Protection into practice. This has worked very well for the project and the development of the role of the Practice Mentor.
Reflective practice is considered the best way for us to ensure that workers’ skills continue to develop. It builds on the effects of training by supporting staff to experiment in practice and continue to learn. It provides the potential for sustainability of professional development. Because of this we have been ambitious to ensure that we continue to refine our approach to reflective practice.
Having secured the additional funding to create the effective child protection learning package, it opened up a further opportunity for us to consider what may be most beneficial for workers in their practice on the frontline.
We have collaborated with Siobhan Maclean, an expert in this field to create some bespoke material which considers the importance of reflective practice, and also offers support for workers now and into the future.
We recognise how connected reflective practice is to the changes that we are trying to embed within the project. The importance of reviewing our own practice as social workers is paramount. Through reflection we become more aware of our communication skills; the way we approach situations; the decisions we make; and also the impact of all of this on our relationships with families.
Increasing our own self-awareness can also lead to supporting families to develop their own reflective skills, and to think deeper about the decisions they have made and the actions they have taken. This can then lead to more sustainable change and better decision making in the future.
We continue the thread of working collaboratively and involving social workers in the development of aspects of this work, including an exciting opportunity to work with Siobhan to develop our own reflective practice model for Gwynedd.