As part of the pilot we attended two introductory sessions to find out more about this "modest proposal"; relatively little work had been done in Scotland on children, young people and self-directed support, so how about helping people to go through the process of self-directed support with the family benefiting as a whole?
Now I am the first to admit it; I often see wealth in terms of financial wealth and material belongings" These workshops, however, were an eye opener and an opportunity to look at the "wealth"- or if you like, the simple every day things that I'm grateful for and often overlook! - that surround me. As The First Steps Spring 2013 Newsletter states "when we make decisions about what we and our families do, how we live, who looks after us and our children, we draw on all the resources we've got": I think that we do this without even thinking about it, forgetting that we do have valuable resources at our fingertips, overlooking what is right in front of us and forgetting to be positive about what we ourselves can offer our own family.
So what resources do we have at our fingertips?
People: our loved ones, families and friends but also our colleagues, neighbours and community
Access: to our home and neighbourhood with all it's local resources (shops, GPs, dentists, schools, sports centres)
Assets: our monthly income, benefits and savings
Skills and knowledge: our strengths , knowledge and abilities
Resilience: our personal well-being and inner strength; the force that keeps us going when life is tough and, for some, our faith.
We were asked to look at our own family's resources and this is what our resource "scribble" looked like:
From here we were asked to look at our good days, best days and bad days, listing what makes each one different. From this I realised that our good times involved family and friends; new experiences; laughter, smiles, and fun; ice cream and cake; sunshine and water. Our bad days were brought on by tiredness, lack of sleep, illness (physical and mental), lack of support, the feeling of isolation, and were generally just "I can't cope!" days. We didn't concentrate much on our bad days really though, it was more a process of reflection with the aim being to realise what makes a good day great with the resources that we already have available to us day to day.
Finally, we were told of a useful tool (which we would later use in our planning); SHANARRI is a mnemonic (or a tool to aid information retention) for outcome indicators which are part of the Getting It Right For Every Child Framework. This framework tries to ensures that anyone providing the support a child or young person – and their family – as they encounter a life unexpected and all its challenges. This framework tries to ensure that these key people are at the heart of decision making, encouraging a level of trust to develop between local authorities and families and allowing a sense of control - which families living with children with additional needs often feel that they have lost - to grow. Ultimately, GIRFEC allows for proactive support throughout the course of the child's and family's journey rather than reactive in the time of a crisis.
So, SHANARRI, what does it stand for?
These titles are used to form a realistic plan of a families needs which in turn will guide the decision regarding a workable level of support being offered by the local authority to benefit the family as a whole but while keeping the child central to the planning.
Overall these introductory sessions were informative and useful and, I think, were about arming us with the knowledge and skills, enabling us to make the best decision possible to direct funds with the ultimate goal of empowering ourselves, our children and our families to take control and live a better life with the resources and funding available to us.
With all this said and done, it was time to move on to the next step - the planning...
See the links to the other In Control Pilot posts:
In Control - taking the first steps
In Control: the workshops - information overload and mnemonics
In Control: the fun - budget spent = fun, fun, FUN!
In Control: the experience overall - the good, the bad and the ugly